Maurice Morissette told members of the St Augustine City Commission tonight that he has been trying to sell the odd-shaped pink building at the corner of Bridge Street and Riberia Street for years; saying that tenant situations have not worked and previous buyers have backed out due to an odor caused by the city’s installation of a sewer lift station across the street.
Morissette received approval to demolish the vacant commercial building located at 149 Riberia Street, at the May 19, meeting of the city’s Historic Architectural Review Board, and his plan was to turn the lot into private parking
Historic City News reporters listened as Morissette and attorney Sidney F. Ansbacher, representing hoteliers Sandy and Mike Wieber, presented an appeal of a June 7, Planning and Zoning Board denial to use the 149 Riberia Street location as permanent parking required by a 2001 Planned Unit Development for the Bayfront Marin House located at 142 Avenida Menendez.
The bed and breakfast is zoned Planned Unit Development, and the PUD requires the business to provide one (1) off-site parking space for each of the fifteen guest room.
A preliminary site plan of the off-site parking lot at 149 Riberia Street indicates it can be designed for 14 parking spaces, however, a final parking lot design has not been provided.
The PZB also denied a variance to allow this off-site parking to be located more than 400 feet from the business location. The approximate distance between the business at 142 Avenida Menendez and the proposed parking lot at 149 Riberia Street is approximately 2,720 feet in a straight line distance and 4,750 feet in driving distance.
After nearly an hour of testimony from the public and arguments from the attorney, the commission found that the Planning and Zoning Board had properly followed the law, provided proper notice, heard competent and substantial evidence, and therefore found no reason to reverse their decision.
Only commissioner Todd Neville voted no, wanting to allow the nearly mile-long intrusion into Lincolnville as guests were shuttled back-and-forth to the proposed new parking lot. The Mayor, Nancy Shaver, and three commissioners voted to support the PZB ruling.
For now, the demolition permit stands, but, the bed and breakfast will have to make other arrangements to park it’s guests cars.