Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Residents to Be Given a Heads-Up on Projects

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Residents to Be Given a Heads-Up on Projects

Article excerpt

Byline: Shakaya Andres

PONTE VEDRA BEACH In the future, residents will be warned about construction projects that could be controversial even if they don't directly affect neighborhoods, a St. Johns County commissioner told a community board this week.

The new component to the county's Neighborhood Bill of Rights, which was enacted recently to let people know ahead of time about major work in their community, is in response to the outcry about a $1.3 million County Road 210 sidewalk project approved by the commission March 1.

The county doesn't see sidewalk projects as worthy of notification under the Bill of Rights, Commissioner Jay Morris told Municipal Service District members Monday. But he said he's requested changing the policy when there's a potential for debate.

"I said to county administration if something could become controversial let's plug it into this," Morris said. "Anything that gives the idea that it could be trouble, we will get it out."

The Bill of Rights county ordinance calls for advance notification and a reasonable opportunity for the community to provide input in county projects, permitted public works or utility projects.

Neighborhood associations representing property within 300 feet of the project are notified of pre-applications and applications submitted for county approval for special and temporary uses. Other projects that require a notice within 10 days of submission to the county include variances, vesting, rezoning, planned unit development or other significant land use changes.

To pay for the sidewalk, commissioners voted unanimously to use part of the money from the transportation infrastructure fund that Nocatee developers paid into when they began work on the development. The fund has about $6 million.

It could take up to a year for the project to begin.

MSD Trustee Bob Reesh said Monday the board should send a letter expressing that they should have been notified about the sidewalk project prior to the commission's vote. …

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