Letter: PZB to hear requests to Up-Zone the Mission Grounds

Letter: PZB to hear requests to Up-Zone the Mission Grounds

William Ferrigno
St Augustine, FL

Dear Historic City News readers:

Our Historic Uptown District on San Marco Avenue is under siege again! The Bishop and the Catholic Diocese are planning to create a Catholic Retreat on the Mission grounds and their property along Ocean Avenue.

To do so, the Catholic church is asking to “up-zone” the Mission property from “open land” to “commercial low”.  In addition, the church is also asking to rezone their property on Ocean Avenue from RS-2 (residential single family) to CL-2 (commercial low).

This is the landing site where St Augustine’s Spanish explorers held the first Catholic mass in America in 1565.  The Church plans to build a 3-story parking garage and an amphitheater on these consecrated grounds.

This transformation will create a “carnival” atmosphere with loud music, and huge Charter buses further congesting our narrow historic streets.  Visitors will be looking for free parking in the surrounding neighborhoods, as this gated property will require admission. This disruption will be devastating to residents, businesses and property values.

As you may remember, we all stood together to save our on-street parking by successfully petitioning the Florida Department of Transportation. Now we must rally together on Tuesday, March 5th to state our opposition to the Church’s plan to commercialize this historic site and our surrounding neighborhoods.

Mark your calendar, tell your friends and neighbors to attend and speak against this project: Planning and Zoning Board Meeting, Tuesday, March 5th at 2:00 p.m., Alcazar Room, City Hall, 75 King Street. Write to the PZB Members at pzb@citystaug.com.