Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bid to Build Large House Declined

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bid to Build Large House Declined

Article excerpt

Byline: Christina Abel

A Jacksonville resident who wanted to build a 3,400-square-foot single-family home on a 30,000-square-foot lot on Roscoe Boulevard was denied Tuesday by St. Johns County commissioners, who said the house is too big for the space.

Karen Taylor, a land planner representing the applicant, said the composition of the lot makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the landowner to build a home on it without asking for a variance, or exception to the rules. Much of the land on the narrow lot is salt marsh wetlands, or swamp lands, and uplands, the land bordering the swamp.

"The building does meet all the other code requirements," Taylor said. "Obviously, on this size of lot . . . we cannot meet the 25 feet [property line buffer requirement] to build a house."

The commissioners denied the non-zoning variance for a narrower buffer between the home and the uplands. The 10-foot buffer would allow the ground floor of the home to be 10 feet from the uplands, a minimum requirement, and the second and third floors to hang over these uplands, and a deck on the second floor that would hang over the swamp land.

Taylor said the marsh lands would be protected and natural once the home is built, but the commissioners denied the variance because the landowner would have to tear out uplands vegetation to build the home, then replace the vegetation later.

"This is going to require clear cutting a buffer that, traditionally, we don't allow to happen," said Commissioner Bruce Maguire, who represents the Ponte Vedra Beach area.

Maguire recommended the applicant sit down and work with the neighbors, address their concerns, and come back to the board with a revised proposal.

"We, the board, really encourage discussion among neighbors," Maguire said. "I can tell you right now, 3,000 square feet is too big. …

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