Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hearing Set for Island Petition; Arlington, Beaches Residents Oppose Development Plan

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hearing Set for Island Petition; Arlington, Beaches Residents Oppose Development Plan

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRISTOPHER F. AGUILAR, Times-Union staff writer

A hearing has been tentatively set for February on a petition filed in December by several Atlantic Beach residents over an island in the Intracoastal Waterway.

Two Arlington-area residents have also gotten in on the challenge to the Atlantic Beach City Commission's November decision to change Johnston Island's land-use designation from conservation to commercial and residential.

But the hearing could be rescheduled to March if attorneys representing the city and the residents cannot coordinate their schedules for Feb. 1, the hearing date set by Administrative Judge Lawrence Johnston. The hearing will be conducted in Atlantic Beach.

On Dec. 8, Atlantic Beach residents Stephen Kuti, Sharon Scholl and Sally Clemens filed a petition with the state's Division of Administrative Hearings challenging a small-scale amendment change to the city's comprehensive plan that the commission approved Nov. 8.

With a 3-2 vote, the commission changed the island's land-use designation, despite the Atlantic Beach Community Development Board's recommendation against the change and vehement opposition from residents.

Residents on Jacksonville's side of the Intracoastal Waterway also opposed the land-use change for the island, which is beneath the Atlantic Boulevard bridge. Two Jacksonville residents, Valerie Britt and Mary Billotti, and their neighborhood association, the Pablo Point Civic Association, asked the judge if they could join the Atlantic Beach residents' challenge.

On Dec. 14, the judge allowed them to join the petition. The judge allowed them to intervene in the petition because they have sufficient interest in the case.

Attorney Warren K. Anderson Jr., who represents the Atlantic Beach residents, said the city has already filed a motion with the judge to dismiss the two Pablo Point residents and their neighborhood association from being part of the petition. …

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