Two weeks ago, the St. Johns County Planning and Zoning Agency (PZA) approved a variance of easement for a proposed home on North Roscoe Boulevard that will be built high on pilings, will be over the marshland and will absorb 1000 square feet of county easement.
The PZA flipped its previous decision. PZA denied the exact same variance request in October of 2016, asking the applicant to consider a smaller home. Since October, nothing changed in the variance request. It raises suspicion when a county agency changes its mind on the exact same information.
The PZA made the decision with incorrect information. PZA put heavy emphasis on a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) permit as the basis of its decision. However, the DEP permit for this property had nothing to do with the variance request. The day after the hearing last week, we learned that the DEP permit was not properly processed last year, making the permit questionable. The DEP has now reversed itself and opened the permit again for public comment!
The County failed us. This location is at a dead-end road. The county did not provision for road space to turn around in the road in front of this home, and now, the PZA just made the conditions worse. Service vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, mosquito control trucks, utility and waste management vehicles all have extreme difficulty with the road space that the PZA just gave away. This property and the neighbor's driveways will be overrun with turnaround traffic.
The county sent a clear message. If you own land, then the county will allow you to build and capitalize on every bit of property you own, regardless of safety or public impact. The county is clearly desperate for tax revenue money, and the PZA will sacrifice its integrity and rational thinking to generate that revenue.
It shocks the conscience that the same variance request was presented and passed, six months after being denied. Action by the PZA was suspect and has all the elements of negligence. The county has sold us short.