The St. Johns County Planning and Zoning Agency (PZA) voted unanimously last Thursday, May 3, to recommend approval of a a major modification request to the Fairfield at Ponte Vedra Planned Unit Development (PUD) that would pave the way for a new Panera Bread restaurant in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Casey Keough of the St. Johns County Growth Management Department presented the request, followed by land planner Karen Taylor and Hamilton Williams of GreenbergFarrow. The proposed location of the restaurant is in the Ponte Vedra Point Shopping Center, where Pet Supermarket, Tire Kingdom and Beach Diner currently stand. The proposal and site maps indicate that the Panera will be freestanding and situated along A1A where parking is now available.
The applicant’s request allows for additional square footage for the construction of a 3,100-square-foot Panera Bread location, a parking regulations update to meet the current Land Development Code requirements of one space per three seats for restaurants and four waivers to the Land Development Code, to allow for flat roof lines and additional wall signage, among others.
During the meeting, Taylor noted that the Ponte Vedra Architectural Review Committee heard this application previously and recommended approval of the request. Following the presentation, Planning and Zoning Agency board member Brad Nelson said he was impressed with the renderings of the Panera Bread location.
"I did want you to pass along my compliments on these renderings,” said Nelson following Taylor’s portion of the presentation. “They're the best I've ever seen. Looking at these, I understand exactly what's going to go there, and I think somebody who has never looked at a plan would understand exactly what it's going to look like.”