City wants to tamper with zoning – this time for Flagler College

LEE GEANULEAS

LEE GEANULEAS

Historic City News reader and Old Town neighborhood resident, Lee Geanuleas, would like to remind city residents of the importance of the Tuesday January 5th meeting of the St Augustine Planing and Zoning Board.

Neighborhood Council Delegates received an e-mail message last week from Kathy Schirmacher explaining one particular issue that will be dealt with at the meeting and she has asked other interested residents to inform the PZB members how they feel.

“Flagler College has worked with the city to get dormitories approved as a use by exception in residential zones while we have been working to keep them in commercial zones,” Schirmacher wrote. “Even though the Planning and Zoning Board has been leaning toward keeping dormitories in commercial zones, City Staff is recommending that they be allowed in residential zones. Planning and Building Director David Birchim said he feels that dormitories are a residential use.”

Because of some agenda jockeying, Geanuleas and Schirmacher are concerned that neighbors may not be aware of a change that occurred after the agenda was first published; indicating that the matter would be heard at the end of the meeting. At the request of Chairman Sue Agresta, the issue was been moved up to the first item so that the college and neighbors can be there for a more meaningful discussion and possibly a resolution.

Schirmacher told the delegates that the work to clarify zoning definitions has been ongoing for the past three-year period, or longer. She says that the clarification of definitions that appear in our existing code are finally ready in ordinance form — but, before they are voted on and enacted, she wants to see them vetted.

“We need people to attend the January meeting (Tuesday January 5th) and support dormitories as a use by exception — but only in commercial areas, and not residential areas,” Schirmacher says.

The proposed changes being supported by city staff essentially allow dormitories as uses by exceptions in zones RG-1 and RG-2. It allows hostels as uses by exception in HP-2 and HP-3.

“Think about it; a 40 bed dorm sited in either RG-1 or RG-2 will require at least 40 parking spaces. That dramatically increases the footprint of any dorm built in a residential neighborhood and would certainly not be consistent in scale with currently allowed residential uses,” Geanuleas told Historic City News. “This change seems poorly thought through. It might be good for Flagler College but it’s not all that good for residential neighborhoods.”

The proposed ordinance will be heard at the Planning and Zoning Board meeting in the Alcazar Room at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday. The meeting is open to the public and may be seen on live streaming video at www.cosatv.com

Residents are being asked to contact members of the PZB immediately with their opinions.

Sue Agresta : sagresta@comcast.net
Sarah Ryan: sshipp@gmail.com
Matthew Shaffer : matthew.shaffer@att.net
Jerry Dixon : jdixon@dixon-arch.com
Cathy Brown: :coacathy@gmail.com
Deltra Long ; longdella24@yahoo.com
Carl Blow : jcblow@bellsouth.net

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