Land development code public hearing

Lindsay Haga, Development Review Director, reported to Historic City News that Tuesday night will conclude the second Board of County Commissioners hearing and the final of three public hearings to consider modifications to Article II Zoning Districts and Special Uses of the St. Johns County Land Development Code.

The purpose of the changes is to provide for additional uses within several commercial and industrial Districts, provide some additional Uses by right, and clarify when some Uses may be permitted as Accessory or Temporary Uses.

A full copy of the affected Article is available for viewing at Minutes and Records and Growth Management.

The Planning and Zoning Agency heard the amendment package on July 21, 2011 and recommends approval on a vote of 6/0 including two changes to clarify the fencing height provision and to clarify implementation of the alcoholic beverage distance requirement for existing license holders.


Proposed Modifications to the Land Development Code
Board of County Commissioners Meeting of August 2, 2011

A. Part 2.02.00 Uses Allowed within Zoning Districts is modified to improve upon the Code by cross referencing sections, adding in permissive Uses, and providing some Uses by right rather than by Special Use. Audit of the section shows some Use categories lack descriptive uses appropriate for the corresponding district, such as vehicle repair within the Light Industrial Use category.

B. Section 2.02.04 Accessory Uses is modified to address Uses within the Residential, Industrial, and Open Rural Districts. Under Residential Accessory Uses, the fencing provision for Swimming Pools now includes a cross reference to the Residential Swimming Barrier Provision of the Florida Building Code. The fencing section is modified to reference fence post/column height as provided under other County regulations. The Planning and Zoning Agency recommended changes to more clearly outline the post/column height may not exceed 2 feet (see attached Exhibit 1, Page 20). Under Industrial Accessory Uses, the percentage of floor area devoted to sales and display in the Industrial Districts is expanded from 15 to 25%. These changes reflect requests from businesses seeking to locate and/or expand. Lastly, allowable Accessory Uses in Open Rural Districts is clarified to reference Seasonal Sales and farm production tours/events as typical Accessory Uses.

C. Section 2.02.05 Temporary Uses is amended to guide outdoor display and sales vendors within commercial based zone districts as an opportunity for promotional sales related to the existing establishment without the requirement for Development Permits. This change specifically references vehicle sales as a prohibited temporary use unless the permanent site is undergoing maintenance that impedes standard sales.

D. Section 2.02.05 Temporary uses is also amended to restructure the minimum standards applicants must provide as well as introduce emergency housing as a permissible temporary Use, limited to a maximum of 180 days unless otherwise approved by the Planning and Zoning Agency.

E. Part 2.03.00 Special Uses is updated to permit Vehicle Recycling Facilities and Restaurants with/without drive through in the mixed Commercial Districts by right, recognizing existing development patterns and proposed concepts.

F. Section 2.03.02 Alcoholic Beverages is updated to permit the transfer of valid Special Use Permits during a change in ownership providing the request is limited to a Type 1COP or 2COP issued to bona fide Restaurants (beer consumed on premise or beer/wine consumed on premises), location within intensive Zoning District Designations (i.e. not residential) and existing permit is limited to indoor consumption only. Review of previous change in ownership Special Use permits shows most are approved in situations similar to the criteria above. This change eliminates an unnecessary step by providing an opportunity for Administrative transfer. This section has also been amended to modify the method of measurement for the separation requirements between certain uses (churches/schools) and to eliminate the distance requirement between vendors. The Planning and Zoning Agency recommended changes to address existing vendors/license holders, finding that if the business is otherwise compliant and has not been discontinued, the change in measurement would not revoke valid permits or prevent transfer of permits in change of ownership scenarios (see attached Exhibit 1, Page 34).

G. Section 2.04.06 Sales, Display and Preparation of Products in Commercial Districts is expanded to provide an opportunity for restaurant outdoor seating located in a Residential Future Land Use category with a commercial zoning. These neighborhood commercial businesses enjoy pedestrian activities from proximity to residential areas and may offer outdoor seating. The proposals would be evaluated through a Special Use Permit to provide an elevated review in appropriate cases.

If you plan to attend, the St. Johns County Board of County Commissions will convene Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. in the County Auditorium located inside the lobby of the County Administration Building at 500 San Sebastian View in St. Augustine. It will be broadcast live on Comcast Government TV (Cable Channel 3) and is streamed over the Internet.

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