Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fernandina's Comprehensive Plan Called 'A Mess'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fernandina's Comprehensive Plan Called 'A Mess'

Article excerpt

Byline: Alison Trinidad, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

Fernandina Beach's long-term master plan for land development is seriously flawed and needs to be redone, a land use attorney told city commissioners Tuesday.

Commissioners unanimously agreed to start the process, which could take up to six months and impose a moratorium on new building in the city.

The process opens the possibility of adding provisions for affordable housing and other land-planning issues.

David Theriaque, hired by the city to update the city's comprehensive plan after the acquisition of a new water utility, said he found a "series of problems" within the plan.

"You've got a mess in your hands," Theriaque said. "This mess hurts everybody -- property owners, developers."

Theriaque said inconsistencies, gaps and redundancies in the comprehensive plan and land-development code have caused confusion, unnecessarily delayed some projects and made effective planning nearly impossible.

The attorney said land-use categories are inconsistent and identified 31 properties in the city with problems. Dates referenced in the documents have expired and haven't been updated, and references in the city's land development code run in circles, he said.

A city's comprehensive plan is a long-term guide for land use. It's an attempt to manage growth and development through the mapping of anticipated future development. It is not a law, but the basis for the revision of existing laws and the creation of new laws. Essentially, it defines the city's priorities and vision for the future.

City planners, elected officials and citizens use the comprehensive plan when reviewing development proposals, rezonings and annexations.

By law, the city's land development code must be consistent with its comprehensive plan.

Theriaque said a good comprehensive plan will provide city staff and elected officials the framework for consistent decisions. …

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