The St. Johns County Board of Commissioners (BCC) should reject the land-use/zoning change to Residential D proposed by the developers of the Watermarke project (on the Vilano Beach site formerly known as the Beachcomber RV Park, now zoned Residential C). Residential C zoning permits reasonable-density, residential plus limited light commercial development. Residential D zoning would allow double the residential density plus allow wide-open major commercial development!
In fact, the BCC should take another critical action – they should reject any project that will add substantially to the existing traffic issues from Mickler Landing to the west end of May Street. Over the last few years, traffic has skyrocketed on A1A/Vilano Bridge/US 1 to the point of stagnation, and has killed the (now called “failed”) intersection at the west end of May Street by the carousel. As reported by the county at the Aug. 4, 2016 Planning & Zoning Commission meeting, the Vilano Bridge is at 98 percent capacity. While there is an effort to put in a unique road configuration to replace the “failed” intersection, its concept is unproven. There should be a moratorium on building anything, other than single family residences, until such time as the new intersection configuration proves itself. If it doesn’t, the moratorium should be extended until a viable traffic solution is found.
Additionally, when we moved here in 2006, the A1A strip from Mickler Landing to the May Street carousel was “just right” – not overbuilt nor too remote/primitive with respect to being a place for enjoyable living. Over the last 10 years, population increases have driven the area to the edge of sustainability. Major development like the Watermarke project will most certainly tip the area over the edge.
Finally, such a drastic change in land use designation would represent a breach of trust for taxpayers already living along this strip of land, who never would have bought into a community with such a monstrous commercial development. Over many years, the county developed the Comprehensive Plan to recognize the needs and capacities of the land and its residents along this strip of A1A. The community along this strip has risen to oppose this zoning change (please see www.SaveOurVilano.com) just to enforce the existing Comprehensive Plan, which was always intended to provide a balanced blueprint for the community.