Historic City News spoke directly with Assistant City Attorney, Isabelle Lopez, and Director of Planning and Building, David Birchim, today to verify the unconfirmed report on Labor Day that the City of St Augustine had issued a permit allowing the construction of a controversial 7-Eleven convenience store and gas station at 179 San Marco Avenue.
As reported yesterday, we received unconfirmed information about the permit from a reader Sunday morning. We held the information awaiting word from city officials when they returned to work today. In the interim, former mayor George Gardner said in his newsletter, The St Augustine Report, that Vice-Mayor Nancy Sikes-Kline heard about the permit approval on Friday from Assistant City Attorney, Isabelle Lopez. We reported that.
Lopez told Historic City News editor Michael Gold this morning that she did not tell the vice-mayor that the permit was approved — although, the distinction between what she told us today and what was originally reported this weekend is more technical than substantive in evaluating where the city stands in this process.
Birchim explained that the developer resubmitted the application, with modifications.
The planning and building department reviewed the modified application documents; which includes, among many other things, a set of architectural drawings of the proposed engineering and construction.
According to Birchim, the modified application complied with all of the requirements of the pertinent sections of St Augustine’s Codes and Regulations — in other words, with substantially two items which the DEVELOPER controls, not the city, the building permit would be issued.
Required by the city is a check for the fees necessary to accomplish issuance of the permits. In addition, the architectural drawings, in the form of blueprints, must be physically signed and sealed by a licensed engineer or architect, as appropriate — easily accomplished now that the developer knows that the design depicted in the drawings is acceptable.
The expectation is that the developer will return with the check and sealed plans later this week or early next week; at which time, if nothing changes, the permits will be issued.
Before the curb cut occurs, the Florida Department of Transportation must issue a right-of-way permit, a step that attorney James Whitehouse told Historic City News will be approved since the 24′ driveways required by the city are more restrictive than the 25′ driveways required by the state.