Residents speak out about setback reduction at Beach

Susan Johnson reported to Historic City News that a record crowd attended a recent City of St. Augustine Beach Planning and Zoning Board workshop; held to give residents an opportunity to air their concerns about Ordinance 13-14 as it pertains to building setback changes.

Beach resident LeeAnn Kendall presented a drawing by architect Craig Thomson that showed the “footprint” of the larger houses that are permissible under new Ordinance 13-14.

“When compared with homes built under the older ordinance, the square footage of newly constructed homes increased by a differential of 71%,” Kendall said.

With reduced setbacks for new homes constructed under Ordinance 13-14, property owners gain an average increase of 1,505 square feet.  Kendall and others who spoke at the meeting cautioned that this trend toward increased home bulk brings with it a host of “unintended consequences”, including:

  • loss of privacy
  • destruction of trees, flowers, and wildlife
  • loss of green space, light, and ocean breezes
  • increase in drainage problems
  • increase in concrete surfaces
  • increases in rental properties and party houses
  • increased parking problems
  • increased crime

According to the majority of residents in attendance, the unintended consequence they fear most is the loss of the characteristics that make their individual beach neighborhoods unique and special.

Every member of the Planning and Zoning Board expressed appreciation for the interest shown by residents of St. Augustine Beach, and workshop participants were pleased with the response from the Board members.

Further discussion is planned for the regular meeting of the Planning and Zoning Board scheduled to be held at St. Augustine Beach City Hall located at 2200 A1A South, on Tuesday, June 16th at 7:00 p.m.

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