Development Threats

Here's WHY Matanzas Riverkeeper opposed the rezoning/variance from commercial to residential for property at 9471 A1A South in 2016.

In June 2016, the PZA recommended approval of a rezoning and variance for 9471 A1A South from commercial to residential. The parcel is located on the west side, and adjacent to, SR A1A in St. Johns County at the Flagler County line. The parcel abuts a section of the Matanzas River which contains active shellfish lease(s).

On Tuesday, July 19th, 2016 the St. Johns County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) held a hearing on a proposed Zoning and Variance approval.  A majority (
3-2) voted to deny the zoning change.  Thank you Commissioners Bennett, Morris, and McClure for your thoughtful decision to protect the health of the Matanzas and the open shellfish leases.

Matanzas Riverkeeper opposed both the rezoning and variance requests

The property is currently zoned CHT, and it had this zoning when it was purchased. The owner wanted to change the zoning to residential to build a home on the site. In our opinion, the property owner should not have had reasonable expectations that this area would be approved for new residential development given the area’s past history, and the property’s other limitations. These include:

  • There is no infrastructure in the area--no wastewater treatment and/or water.
  • The owner proposes to install a septic system next to active shellfish leases. It is inconceivable the SJC would allow a septic system to be installed in a high hazard area next to one of the last remaining shellfish harvesting areas in NE Florida.  
  • There are other parcels also zoned CHT in the vicinity. Approval for this parcel would set a dangerous precedence for further zoning change requests.
  • The site is located in a Coastal Barrier Resources Unit-P05A which makes it ineligible for federal flood insurance. 
  • This area is subject to wash-over, which in the past has necessitated closure of A1A South and required SJC and FDOT to perform work to reopen the road.
  • The proponents argue that this is a beneficial down-zoning. This is a disingenuous argument. The owner currently has development options without the zoning change and variance.
  • If the lots were developed under their current zoning classification, there would be more stringent regulations to protect the Matanzas River, including a required stormwater plan.

Matanzas Riverkeeper believes the current situation, which will be exacerbated by climate change and sea level rise, should prevent the county from approving additional residential building in this highly susceptible area. It does not protect the general welfare of the public and threatens the ecological health of one of the last healthy rivers in the State, the Matanzas River.

ZONING CHANGE item REZ 2015-23 and VARIANCE item ZVAR 2015-22.

Jimmy Johns bcc1jjohns@sjcfl.us (904) 209-0301 Jay Morris bccd4@sjcfl.us (904) 209-0304
Jeb Smith bccd2@sjcfl.us (904) 209-0302 Rachael Bennett bccd5@sjcfl.us (904) 209-0305
Bill McClure bccd3@sjcfl.us (904) 209-0303      

Matanzas Riverkeeper

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