Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Neptune Faces Changes for Growth

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Neptune Faces Changes for Growth

Article excerpt

NEPTUNE BEACH -- The city is getting down to the nitty-gritty of a proposed land development code that will spell out how many pets residents may keep, how high they can build their homes and where they should park their recreational vehicles.

Neptune Beach is overhauling the land-use code, which Mayor George Vaughn described in a workshop Monday as the "single most important factor in determining the quality of life" in Neptune Beach. "I'm tickled pink that we're taking the time to do this," Vaughn said. "It's a good investment."

But not everyone on the council was so enthusiastic. In fact, the presentation by the city's consultant, Amy Skinner of Ivey, Harris & Walls Inc., got off track several times as Councilmen Tom Tankersley and Bob Shimp questioned what the city was trying to achieve.

They thought the city was only cleaning up the language in the code to make it easier to enforce -- a point that nearly everyone at the workshop agreed was necessary.

"We haven't been able to enforce our codes for a long time around here," said John Weldon, chairman of the city's Planning and Development Review Board.

But Vaughn said the task was greater than that: he said the new code was supposed to protect the quality of life in Neptune Beach and the unique character of the residential community as it is confronted by growth.

The long process is nowhere close to being finished. The next public workshop is set for Feb. 28. Residents can get a free copy of the proposed changes to the land development code at City Hall at 116 First St.

The public was not allowed to comment in Monday's workshop. In fact, Vaughn cut short several comments by councilmen and people in the audience, noting there would be time for that in later meetings.

Some of the proposed changes to the code noted Monday involve:

Prohibiting large recreational vehicles from being stored in a front yard or within 3 feet of any property line

Increasing building height to 28 feet in residential districts and 35 feet in commercial districts

Creating a 10-foot setback between the home and garage and restricting a garage to 12 feet in height

Prohibiting more than four pets per household

Raising the density in medium- and high-density residential districts. …

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