Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Planners Turn Thumbs-Down on Bar's Rezoning

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Planners Turn Thumbs-Down on Bar's Rezoning

Article excerpt

Following a one-hour -- and one-sided -- public hearing Tuesday

night, the Clay County Planning Commission gave a collective

thumbs down to a rezoning request from the owner of a

35-year-old bar on County Road 220.

The zoning issue had stirred the emotions of numerous Fleming

Island residents who banded together to fight the proposed

change, which they said would jeopardize the county's

comprehensive plan.

"This application is without merit," Marsha Dumler, chairman of

the Fleming Island Citizens Advisory Committee, said. "There is

no justifiable, legal argument for it to be granted."

The owner of Bobby Joe's Lounge & Package immediately east of

the Swimming Pen Creek bridge wants a change in the land use and

zoning on a 1.4acre site, which has been designated for

single-family residential use for many years.

The owner, Bobby Joe Qualls, is seeking a commercial land use

and intermediate business zoning for the site, which is across

the street from Whitey's Fish Camp.

The County Commission will review the application and planning

commission's recommendation on Nov. 25.

Bobby Joe's, which lies between County Road 220 and Turkey Hill

Road in the Osprey Bluff subdivision, has been allowed to remain

as a nonconforming use.

Critics said Qualls had the same opportunity as the owner of

Whitey's to get his property reclassified in the late 1980s when

the current comprehensive plan was being developed.

In addition to Dumler, several nearby homeowners spoke in

opposition to the rezoning request, including Phill Eddins of

Osprey Bluff.

If the rezoning were approved and Qualls later sold his

property, Eddins said, "We would be at the mercy of whatever

would be allowed to go in there."

The type of zoning Qualls is seeking permits numerous

businesses, including gas stations, taverns, auto repair and

body shops, welding and sheetmetal shops, plumbing and

electrical shops and car lots.

Qualls has said in the past that he has no plans to make any

changes on his property. He has said that he was unaware years

ago that he had to request the zoning change or be stuck with

the residential classification. …

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