Oak Bridge development to be contested in court

Lawsuit filed against golf club owner, St. Johns County

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With the unanimous approval of the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners, the controversy over Alta Mar Holdings LLC’s proposed plans for the sale and development of the Oak Bridge golf course appeared to have reached its conclusion in May. Following the filing of a lawsuit on June 14, however, it seems the public battle will indeed rage on, only now it will be in a courtroom.

It was in a 5-0 vote that the county commissioners decided May 15 to approve Alta Mar’s plans for the back 40 acres of the Oak Bridge course, which included selling them off for commercial and age-restricted residential development. Although the commissioners were united in their approval, however, the proposed development was not without its detractors, with many residents and business owners abutting the land citing the potential for increased traffic flow and a decrease in property values as reasons for concern.

Filed against St. Johns County and OBDP, LLC (which is managed by Alta Mar), the June 14 complaint challenges the commissioners’ decision, asserting that the approved development orders — which involved rezoning parcels of land — were inconsistent with the county’s 2025 Comprehensive Plan, and that the proper protocols were not followed in approving them.

Seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, the complaint maintains that “neither the county nor the developer provided any evidence or analysis of an overriding public need to convert the property from public recreation to the private development proposed by the (development orders),” and urges the court to prevent the implementation of the development plans.

Noting that the county has until mid-August to formally respond to the complaint, County Attorney Patrick McCormack said, “The county will defend the Board of County Commissioners’ decision through the litigation.”

Representatives for OBDP were unable to reached for comment, but since first proposing his plans for the Oak Bridge course in 2016, Alta Mar’s David Miller has contended that the course is in desperate need of repair and that at least $2 million is required to ensure its economic viability. He has also further maintained that the only way to obtain those funds is through selling the last six holes of the 18-hole course.

Plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit include: Ponte Vedra Mangement Group LTD; Frank Levene, a resident of Hidden Oaks, a neighborhood that abuts the planned development; Schweim Properties, LLC; Park Place at Sawgrass Condominium Association, Inc.; and Sawgrass Village Executive Center Association, Inc.

Representatives for the plaintiffs did not respond to requests for comment.

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