A split vote Monday night when the St Augustine City Commission decided to allow Philip McDaniel and his investors, who are converting a portion of the former ice plant on Riberia Street into a micro-distillery, to convert the side of the historic building into a billboard.
The Planned Unit Development (PUD), which relaxes city codes and was recently used by Flagler College to demolish, then super-size, classrooms on Cordova and Cuna Streets, was amended for McDaniel — who disagrees with public speakers that came to the commission to express their objections to the proposed building-sized mural.
Mayor Joseph L. Boles Jr, Vice Mayor Nancy Sikes-Kline, and Roxanne Horvath voted yes while Commissioner Leanna Freeman voted no. Interim commission appointee, Don Crichlow, was absent.
The approval is for the south wall of what will become the St Augustine Distillery Company on Riberia Street. Another modification approved for McDaniel allowed a handicapped access ramp on the east side of the distillery and a 10-foot fence surrounding equipment located on the west side of the building.
In voting against the request, Commissioner Freeman said the project was attractive and a plus for the city — but she couldn’t support the murals. When the former bicycle shop in the same block facing King Street painted a mural on its west wall, the feathers flew; including threats of fines and prosecution for the code violation.