Five proposed new ordinances to be reviewed Monday night

During the first meeting of the new year, Historic City News reporters will be watching Monday evening when St Augustine city commissioners consider five new ordinances on first reading.  If approved, the ordinances will advance to public hearing and final action at a later time, typically at the following meeting.

City park hours, use regulations

Commissioners will consider an ordinance “which adds appropriate regulations to city parks and other public and semi-public venues. The ordinance provides for park hours and lists certain activities that are prohibited. It also limits large-scale group feedings which is an event likely to attract more than twenty-five people. Assistant City Attorney John Cary says the rules would include “facilities that the city has an interest in, such as the Lightner Museum and surrounding areas, the VIC and surrounding areas, the Llambias House, the Peck Pena House, and other proprietary city facilities which are not generally open to the public.”

Tattoo parlor ban in historic district

Tattoo studios would be banned in Historic Preservation Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 because, “The historic preservation districts that do not require onsite parking cannot provide the level of biomedical waste contractor control necessary for essential health and safety purposes,” Assistant City Attorney John Cary says.  He notes that, “Biomedical waste cannot be comingled with the City’s regular trash collection and must remain under continuous control from use through disposal by licensed biomedical waste haulers.”

Limits on lighthouse dockage times

An ordinance regulating dockage at Lighthouse Park will be considered. “The ordinance provides that vessels may not be tied to the dock for more than one hour during a 24-hour period,” Assistant City Attorney John Cary says. “The dock does not have the capacity to store vessels for more than a limited amount of time, and police have reported that some vessels remain tied to the dock for many hours, which limits the availability of the dock to other users.” The ordinance also prohibits vessels from being affixed to the pier. It allows dinghies to be temporarily stored on the shoreline but for no more than twenty-four hours. “This allows the occupants of vessels to come ashore to enjoy the city for a reasonable amount of time without the dinghies being grounded on city property for long periods of time,” Cary says.

Ordinance to codify Tree Mitigation Fund

Commissioners will look at an ordinance to codify the city’s Tree Mitigation Fund, which allows payment into the fund when significant trees are removed and the nature of the property makes it impossible or infeasible to plant a replacement tree on site, as required by the code. The fund is used to plant trees on city right-of-way or other public property. “The policy for tree mitigation is to promote street tree rehabilitation, maintain a diverse tree inventory, and support the tree canopy throughout the city,” Assistant City Attorney John Cary says. The ordinance directs city staff to not issue a tree removal permit until the money owed for the mitigation is paid in full.

Ordinance excludes Uber, Lyft from taxi regulation

Taxicab regulation would exclude “transportation network company vehicles” like Uber and Lyft in an ordinance to be considered. “The state legislature has the constitutional authority to preempt local regulations,” Assistant City Attorney John Cary says, and one statute “expressly preempts local governments from regulating transportation network company vehicles.”  The statute specifically preempts ordinances that predate the enactment of the statute, so our regulations are not “grandfathered”.

If you plan to attend, the commission meets in the Alcazar Room of City Hall, located at 75 King Street,will be held on Monday, January 13, 2020, beginning at 5:00 p.m. Speaker cards are available at the back of the meeting room.  Complete one and return it to the Clerk if you would like up to be heard before the commissioners for 3-minutes.