Lisa Johnson has been involved with the Ponte Vedra Beaches Coalition since 2015 and is the organization’s current president. She enjoys the passion the group has toward preserving the natural resources and way of life that she and her sons have come to love.
Can you briefly tell us about your background?
I was born in New York City and raised in Phoenix. I received an art degree from Scripps College in Los Angeles and then went on to work in the art industry in Santa Monica, Houston and Greenwich Village. I then moved to Ponte Vedra to run an art publishing company and I have called it home since then! I have always enjoyed getting involved with local politics and continue to work on art projects that support the local arts.
What inspired you to get involved with the Beaches Coalition?
I got involved with the Ponte Vedra Beaches Coalition in 2015, after working on a county issue with past county commissioner, Dr. Mary Kohnke. Mary opened my eyes to all the interesting and complicated issues and people that comprise the successful campaigns that have shaped St. Johns County. I respect how the Coalition brings together all walks of our community.
What differences have you seen been made in the community during that time?
I have witnessed our group, along with the other community and civic organizations, have a serious impact on our county commissioners’ decisions. We have protected our sign ordinance and stopped digital LED billboards from being approved in our backyards. We have pushed for increased bed tax and the right to allow the community to put tax increases to a vote. We have worked on zoning issues with emphasis on smart growth. We follow the annual budget hearings and focus on maintaining the lifestyle that residents and tourists have become accustomed to.
What is the most rewarding and difficult parts of being Coalition president?
It is challenging being a board member/president of the PVB Coalition, as it is for our entire board, because we are a highly involved group of volunteers. There are always so many pieces of the puzzle to monitor with all zoning issues, tax implications and all aspects involved that define the present and future. We are lucky enough to live in a geographically dynamic area but that brings with it its own set of challenges and obstacles.
My focus is to be voice and advocate for the community. I have had the privilege of learning about the history of our county and the stages that made it possible to be here today. My goal is to continue to build our community based on our established rules and lifestyle dreams.
What do you enjoy most about living in the North Florida area?
What I enjoy most about living in North Florida, are our natural resources. We are surrounded by amazing bodies of water and a year-round outdoor lifestyle. Raising my boys here has been an idyllic situation that I don’t feel can be found elsewhere. Our beach community is comprised of locals and people from all over the U.S. and I believe this makes for a great blend. I love the beauty of the landscape and having both the ocean and Intracoastal in our backyard.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy what free time that I have, and my first priority is time with my kids! We love to travel and create life experiences. I am still involved with art and enjoy promoting local artists and creating jewelry and pottery.