Letter to the editor


I spoke at the BCC meeting Sept. 20 regarding the Vilano request for a comp. plan change from residential to a resort hotel. What I didn’t say and regret is the following:

Developers are always with us. But this is a clear example of what I call

development speculators. These are people who hunt around for smaller pieces of land – anything from 10 acres to 50 – that may be zoned RS 1 (one per acre) or R2 (at two per acre) and then try to increase this by the use of variances that will add more homes to the site. We have seen a lot of this in Palm Valley and Ponte Vedra.

One group got bonus points for additional lots by donating to affordable housing in St. Augustine. Another wanted to add more homes by claiming bonuses for using energy-efficient building techniques. Still another in Ponte Vedra wants to add truck loads of dirt to an almost unbuildable site to get many more lots.

The Vilano group wanted to change from residential to Rs 3 so they could have a resort hotel and the trimmings. Right next door to residential. They lost, but not before the community banded together and hired their own attorney, Jane West, an environmental attorney. They also flooded the media with letters. This is good and so is Ms. West.

What is not good is the need for citizens to have to pay for an attorney to get the county to enforce their own rules.

What is good that came out of this is the commission’s ability to vote for the citizens.

We need a lot more of this and a lot more citizen involvement.

Mary Kohnke

Ponte Vedra Beach