The regular meeting of the St Johns County Board of Commissioners was held yesterday in the County Auditorium in the St Johns County Administration Palace located at 500 San Sebastian View in St Augustine.
The following items of business came before the Board for action:
The Board proclaimed May 2013 as National Drug Court Month
The Board proclaimed May 2013 as Older Americans Month
The Board proclaimed May 2013 as Foster Parent Appreciation Month
The Board proclaimed May 11, 2013 as Letter Carriers Food Drive Day
The Board proclaimed May 9, 2013 as St. Johns County School District Day
The Board proclaimed May 9, 2013 as Northeast Florida Regional Airport Day
Regular Agenda Item One – Demolition and Replacement of Fiddlers Green Building
In April 2006, the Board entered into a grant award agreement with the Department of Community Affairs Florida Communities Trust for the joint purchase of 1.7 acres of beachfront property at 2750 Anahma Drive, the site of Fiddlers Green Restaurant. By entering into this contract, St. Johns County became obligated to make improvements to the site and manage it in accordance with the approved management plan. One of these improvements was to renovate the existing building into public occupancy for office, rental, educational, and community gathering space.
Due to the economic downturn and lack of revenue, the County has been unable to secure funding to make the obligated renovations and the building has deteriorated beyond repair. St. Johns County formally requested to Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), during its annual reporting process, to demolish the building. On February 15, 2013, FDEP/Florida Communities Trust approved demolition of the building providing the County commits to building another structure in the existing footprint and to provide an estimated timeline (within 10 years) for the construction of the new building. The Board authorized the County Administrator to submit a letter of commitment on behalf of St. Johns County to the FDEP/Florida Forever Program for the demolition and future building replacement of the Fiddlers Green Building.
Regular Agenda Item Two – Northeast Florida Regional Council Strategic Regional Policy Plan
On February 11, 2013 the Northeast Florida Regional Council (NEFRC) held a public participation workshop in St. Johns County to discuss the updated Strategic Regional Policy Plan (SRPP). In the spirit of regional cooperation and through the completion of the NEFRC Strategic Regional Policy Plan, the Northeast Florida Regional Council is asking local governments to adopt a resolution of support for the SRPP. The Board adopted a resolution supporting the NEFRC Strategic Regional Policy Plan and pledging support for regional cooperation and common policy framework through the updated Strategic Regional Policy Plan.
Regular Agenda Item Two A – Funding for the Northeast Florida Regional Council
Florida’s Regional Planning Councils have had their legislative appropriation vetoed by the Governor in each of the past two years. This year, Northeast Florida Regional Council (NEFRC) is asking our counties to consider and pass a resolution supporting the appropriation and asking the Governor not to veto it. The appropriation is for $2.5 million and when divided up among the state would mean approximately $230,000 to the NEFRC. The Board adopted a resolution in support of restoring and maintaining future state funding for the NEFRC.
Regular Agenda Item Three – Request for Rezoning 2012-11, Cruisers Collision Center
The Board was presented with a request to rezone 1.15 acres of land from open rural, planned special development, and industrial warehouse to commercial intensive with conditions. The property is located at 620 Holmes Boulevard. The Planning and Zoning Agency issued a unanimous recommendation of approval to the Board at the April 18, 2013 meeting. The Board enacted an ordinance approving the rezoning request.
Regular Agenda Item Four – Planned Unit Development 2012-06, Ocean Cay
The Board was presented with a request to rezone 37.71 acres from open rural to planned unit development for the construction of 122 homes. The property is located between Pope Road, Mizell Road, and West 16th Street on Anastasia Island. The Planning and Zoning Agency issued a unanimous recommendation of approval to the Board at the February 21, 2013 meeting. The Board enacted an ordinance approving the rezoning request.
Regular Agenda Item Five – Utility Line Improvements Assessment Ordinance
Bill Young, St. Johns County Utility Director, presented the Board with a proposed ordinance that would provide a potential funding mechanism for residents that request utility services to be added to existing neighborhoods, with multiple owners and established residences on the majority of lots, when it would be possible to do so using existing reserves, without negatively affecting utility rates, debt capacity, or bond financing. Mr. Young explained the ordinance would authorize the creation of utility line improvement municipal service benefit units (MSBUs) to finance improvements relating to water and sewer lines that provide a special benefit, and establish procedural requirements for processing citizen requests to create utility line improvement MSBUs, and define the fees, costs, and budgeting offsets that would be included in the resulting assessments. The Board enacted an ordinance authorizing the creation of utility line improvement MSBUs.
Regular Agenda Item Six – Consideration of Build or Lease Options for Proposed HHS Facility
As anticipated, the contract to sell the County Health and Human Services Center property to Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc. closed on March 29, 2013. The contract provides for the current service providers to remain in the building for two years while alternative facilities are prepared. The County will continue to maintain the current facilities during the two year lease-back which was negotiated for $1.00 per year. The Board was presented with two options for meeting the space needs. Option one involved building a new consolidated facility on the existing County campus property and maintaining a central service center model. Option two involved the build- out and lease of space yet to be procured with the understanding that maintaining a central service center model may not be viable. The Board approved a transfer of funds and authorized the County Administrator to pursue additional necessary financing needed to construct a new Health and Human Services facility.
Regular Agenda Item Seven – Creation of a Conservation Easement at Terra Pines
In an effort to mitigate for wetland impacts associated with Health and Human Services site improvements, the Board was presented with a proposed resolution which would create a conservation easement over 46.5 acres at Terra Pines. The purpose of the easement is to prevent impacts to natural resources, fish, wildlife, and wetland function and assure that the property is preserved in its natural condition in perpetuity. The Board adopted a resolution creating the conservation easement.
Regular Agenda Item Eight – Consider Appointment to Health and Human Services Advisory Council
The Board appointed Brian Wing to the Health and Human Services Advisory Council.
Regular Agenda Item Nine – Communication Tower Lease Agreement with AT&T
St. Johns County has completed construction and testing of the Interoperable Radio System, which now fully operates to provide uninterrupted emergency communications for local, state, and federal agencies. AT&T contacted the County seeking to lease space on the communications tower located at 9685 Light Avenue, Hastings, in the Flagler Estates area. The company wishes to provide enhanced wireless communications to the region. The Board adopted a resolution approving the terms and conditions of the lease agreement and authorizing the County Administrator to execute the lease agreement.