City updating Design Standards for Entry Corridors

Historic City News has learned, through public records obtained from the City of St Augustine, that Anastasia Boulevard is the first of three gateways to be reviewed as the city updates its Design Standards for Entry Corridors.

Being the only consultant to bid, thus being awarded a $46,500 consulting contract from the City, principals Jeremy Marquis and Fred Halback of MARQUIS LATIMER & HALBACK, INC., have already led a team of design specialists on a walk the length of Anastasia Boulevard from the Bridge of Lions to Hamilton Upchurch Park as part of a review of that area’s design standards.

Three employees of Marquis Latimer & Halback, Inc. went door-to-door handing out flyers to businesses along the boulevard earlier this week. David Birchim, Amy Skinner and Jenny Wolfe, members of the City Planning and Building Department staff, accompanied the team; as did Patrica Tejeski and her assistant from Littlejohn Engineering Associates who are sub-contracted to Marquis Latimer & Halback, Inc. for this project.

Back in 2003, the city recognized that it might be losing control of the ambiance of the city’s entrance ways, specifically along King Street, San Marco Avenue and Anastasia Boulevard, so design standards were instituted for those important thoroughfares, not with the same rules as the historic districts, but with rules that were reflective of the history and desired ambiance of those streets.

It is now time to update the design standards for what some call the city’s three gateways.

“The simple goal of the update is to make the guidelines clearer, more specific in some ways, and to clarify the approval process,” said David Birchim, Director of Planning and Building. “There are no wholesale changes planned that will radically alter the guidelines. In many ways, the update will make the guidelines easier to read, understand and implement.”

The update of the guidelines will not change their scope, which governs only the appearance of private property. Nothing in the update, or in the original guidelines, relate to any elements in the right-of-way, including sidewalks or the roadway. Even with the current community-wide discussions regarding mobility topics, this update will not address any of those issues. On Anastasia Boulevard, the right-of-way is under the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Transportation, and thus is unaffected by the city’s rules governing appearance of businesses that line the road.

The updated guidelines will relate to only to the appearances of new structures or ones being remodeled or rehabilitated on Anastasia Boulevard. And the goal of the update is not to promote increased business activity or manage traffic patterns in the area, but rather only to govern the look of properties along the roadway.

The project, identified in the strategic goals adopted by the city and supported by the city’s vision plan, is part of the city’s ongoing efforts to update the land development codes and guidelines.

The updating process will start in October with public input gathered through community meetings that will include both businesses positioned along Anastasia Boulevard and residents living in the adjoining neighborhoods.

Additionally, the city’s Planning and Zoning Board and the Historic Architectural Review Board will weigh in with suggestions and ideas. Then, in early 2017, final proposed updates will be presented to the Boards before the City Commission considers adopting the revised document in the late spring.

It is only because of such guidelines and regulations that the St. Augustine community can control its appearance, an element of the city that truly sets it apart from so many other cities. Keeping the rules relevant, easy to understand and to implement are the critical goals of the update so that the St. Augustine community may continue to control St. Augustine’s appearance.

Award Letter and Scope of Work

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