The St Johns County Clerk of Court reviewed for the County Commission last week the statutes regarding mental health services under the Baker Act and the Marchman Act. Historic City News reviewed a summary of items also presented during the regular commission meeting, as reported by the St Johns County Civic Roundtable. Clerk Brandon Patty emphasized that his office keeps confidential all personal information concerning recipients of mental health services..
The County has worked for over a year to keep KeHE Distributors, formerly Tree of Life, in the county. The employee-owned company has applied for an economic development incentive of $2,341,410 over a two-year period to build a new 530,000 square foot facility on Deerpark Boulevard, near its existing facility. No new zoning is required with this new location. KeHE currently employs 345 people and will be able to add 100 new employees—93 of these jobs will go to St Johns County residents and the remaining 7 are new executives. The company was lured by other counties to relocate. The Roundtable has sent a letter in support of this location. A motion to approve passed 5-0.
Cottages of St Johns
This development requested a rezoning to accommodate 232 residential units on 20.8 acres on SR 16 west of International Golf Parkway. The Board denied this request by a vote of 5-0.
Workforce Housing Initiative
After much discussion about the potential changes to the Workforce Housing Initiative, the proposal was unanimously put off until the next Commission meeting. The issues that are still in need of resolution relate to the whether there should be income limits for purchasers, the length of time the property must be owned before it could be sold — to ensure that the housing is truly for the intended workers and not housing speculators.
Trail Mark Recreational Pond
The board voted 5-0 to add 33 acres to provide additional recreational opportunities including a potential kayak launch passed 5-0. This project is located off Indian Branch Pond Road which abuts the Six Mile Creek PUD.
Request for a Small-Scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment to change the Future Land Use Map designation of approximately 20 acres of land from Rural/Silviculture (R/S) to Residential-A (RESA) with a text amendment limiting the property to a maximum of six (6) single-family dwelling units. This request was to allow McCrary family members to be able to build another house on this family-owned land. The property is located at 1660 and 1740 County Road 13A North. Approved 4-1 (Joseph)
Since the community development district was approved, but never constituted, the Board approved the dissolution of the district as required under state law.
Residential Flood Mitigation Program
The Board unanimously approved a motion for staff to finalize and execute a contract with Quality Engineering & Surveying to assist the County in pursuing Federal mitigation grants for homeowners to complete elevations, mitigation reconstructions or eligible flood-prone structures.
Emergency Beach Berm Update
Staff provided an update on the Butler Beach project which is a truck haul operation utilizing Ocean Trace and Dondanville Road for work during six days a week, excluding holidays. Driving and beach access will be closed during construction and work will commence in June.
The Crescent Beach berm project will soon be starting. The County is working with the U.S. Park Service to use the Fort Matanzas ramp but was initially denied, however further discussions with the Park Service continues. In the meantime, Board consensus was sought and granted to allow use of County property at 7740 AIA South for access to the beach to commence work. Staff updates will continually be provided to the Board and public. The County staff will provide more information at the June 16 meeting on the Tortuga Beach Walkover.
World Golf Village Properties
At the end of September 2023, several properties at World Golf Village which are owned by the County will be vacant including the World Golf Hall of Fame. The Board will need to decide what to do with these properties. The board gave unanimous approval for staff to engage the Community and stakeholders on what are the best uses of these properties in the future and will present final recommendations to the Board.
Contractors Review Board
The Board approved Darcy Stanford to fill the one vacancy on the Contractors Review Board.
Commissioner Joseph introduced her local Citizens Hero – Isabella Madaffari- who is a track field star at Ponte Vedra High School.
Commissioner Alaimo thanked the many residents of Rock Springs Farm who attended today’s meeting to ask for Board assistance because the HOA has been told that they are responsible for maintaining the County park in their neighborhood. He indicated that a major modification is needed to alleviate this financial burden on the HOA and Commissioner Dean agreed that a change is needed.
Commissioner Arnold likes seeing the new County logo being used by agencies and the fact that it was created by a local firm consisting of former Flagler College students. She asked for continued prayers for Sheriff Deputy Michael Kunovich family who was killed recently from an arrest struggle. She also asked for and received Board consensus on the pausing of new library plans so that consideration of World Golf Village as a site could be undertaken.
Commissioner Whitehurst called attention to his support for the State Park System and highlighted the 1100 acres the County saved for conservation last year.
County Administrator Conrad asked permission for the County to assume responsibility for three Vilano Beach holdouts so beach renourishment activities can proceed.