Chuck Hennessey: Plain talker promises a tighter belt

“Everybody else has had to tighten their belt because of this economy, but the City of St. Augustine hasn’t,” candidate Charles J. Hennessey told local Historic City News reporters this week as he made his bid for City Commission Seat 5; currently held by Nancy Sikes-Kline.

The 51 year-old Anastasia Lakes resident says that he is not a politician — this is Hennessey’s first run for a political office. For the past three years, he has worked in the West Augustine office of Jacksonville based Harry Pepper and Associates; where he is employed as a construction estimator.

Although Hennessey has never held a government position, he cites his twenty years of experience in growth management, multi-discipline engineering and alternative transportation planning as solid credentials to be a city commissioner in a community where, he says, those subjects should be the main topic of discussion.

Hennessey says he is a forward thinker, “The city should create goals from a vision that is long term — not just how to get around the block.”

When asked about his education, Hennessey said that he received a Bachelor of Environmental Planning and Growth Management from Rollins College in Winter Park; where he lived before relocating to St. Augustine. Hennessey also lists a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree earned at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

During his professional career, Hennessey has consulted on park and community redevelopment planning, visioning and comprehensive plan development projects including the City of Apopka, City of Gulf Breeze, City of Port Saint Joe, as well as the City of Lakeland where he grew up.

Hennessey worked with Putnam County, preparing the housing and recreation section of their comprehensive plan as the City of Maitland where he prepared the guidelines to establish minimum criteria for shared parking, parking facilities, streets and vehicle-pedestrian-bicycle circulation.

“My work for the City of Lakeland will benefit St. Augustine residents,” Hennessey said. “I provided the research and analysis of shared parking and fee-in-lieu of parking standards for the City’s downtown district.”

Hennessey also worked as a consultant for Chevron, Inc. where he prepared design guidelines for Star Business Park; establishing minimum criteria for architecture, landscaping, sidewalks and crosswalks, street furniture, utilities, parking, roadways and signage.

We asked for Hennessey’s point of view on public-private partnerships. Hennessey says that he is a “private property rights” proponent and that he sees the role of the City “to provide the canvas — but not to be the artist or to provide the paint.”

Photo credit: © 2010 Historic City News staff photographer

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