Only one speaker favored 7-Eleven

Last night was not a good night at the St Augustine Historic Architectural Review Board for the construction team trying to build a “super-sized” 7-Eleven convenience store.

Former assistant city and county attorney, James Whitehouse, argued his appeal to overturn the denial of their plans by Architectural Official Mark Knight; however, of 19 speakers heard, only one supported 7-Eleven — Betty Jean (B. J.) Kalaidi.

Kalaidi, who is a staunch critic of government waste and advocate for taxpayers, made brief, pointed remarks during her three minutes.

Kalaidi encouraged the Board to grant Mr Whitehouse’s appeal, overturn Mr Knight’s denial, and decide in favor of the property owner’s right to build on the long-vacant lots at the corner of May Street and the San Marco Avenue entrance corridor to the city. There were no snide remarks, no raised voices, if anything, an appearance of astonishment on the faces of many of the 58 citizens who packed the Alcazar Room at City Hall for the hearing.

The speaker left the podium and returned to her seat without any noticeable reaction from anyone in the audience — no claps, no cheers, just silence. It was the quietest moment of the entire meeting that began at 2:00 p.m. and drug on through an agenda that lasted until just past 7:00 p.m. Thursday night.

Historic City News will file a complete report on the evening’s meeting this weekend.

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