Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Is Self-Storage an Acceptable Town Center? Julington Creek Plantation Residents Don't Think So

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Is Self-Storage an Acceptable Town Center? Julington Creek Plantation Residents Don't Think So

Article excerpt

Byline: ANNE MARIE APOLLO

At close to 6,000 houses, St. Johns County's Julington Creek Plantation is bigger than many First Coast cities.

It has an elected board to represent property owners and a number of informational Web sites to fill its residents in on everything from lost dogs to the average price of a homes sold in a certain month.

But no matter how much like a town they might seem, when mega-developments like Julington Creek have a problem -and lately it has - residents take it not to a town council but to the county, often en masse.

Prompted by plans released last month for a self-storage facility near Race Track Road and Flora Branch Boulevard, Julington Creek residents wrote hundreds of e-mails and nearly overwhelmed the County Commission phone lines with complaints.

Hoping for better communication with residential groups as the county continues unprecedented growth, St. Johns commissioners recently approved a Neighborhood Bill of Rights. Among other things, it is meant to give people advance notice about development changes near their homes and a chance to talk out issues before proposals come up for a formal hearing.

Sarah Taylor, the county administrative assistant in charge of the initiative, said thousands of organizations in the county may be eligible to receive notifications. Of them, about 50 have approached the county since registration began this spring, Taylor said.

The county has sent a couple dozen notices to neighborhood groups so far, including one about an upcoming meeting regarding widening County Road 210.

When the storage facility question came up in Julington Creek Plantation this month, the property association had not yet registered with the county.

It since has, Taylor said.

Word still got out, though, and it didn't take long before county commissioners were getting an earful from Julington Creek, although the project has yet to be scheduled for a hearing.

Many residents think the building isn't appropriate for their town center, said Phyllis Abbatiello, president of the Northwest St. Johns County Community Coalition. …

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