Residents discuss potential zoning amendments at MSD meeting


Requiring storage cabinets, sheds and satellite dishes to be screened from view and restricting the height of fences and walls on A1A to six feet were among the potential amendments to the Ponte Vedra Zoning District Regulations that residents discussed at a workshop held at Monday's Ponte Vedra Beach Municipal Service District meeting.

St. Johns County Chief Planner Danielle Handy led the dialogue, alongside County Assistant Attorney Paolo Soria and Planner Beverly Frazier. Ponte Vedra Zoning and Adjustment Board Members Tim Powell, Rob Becker and Brad Scott also attended.

Handy explained that the county, which is currently rewriting the Ponte Vedra Zoning District Regulations, has met with the PVZAB on several occasions to discuss these issues. But this was the first time they were gathering feedback from a large crowd. Handy added that the PVZAB will now be holding its meeting the first Monday of each month to allow community members to attend that meeting in addition the monthly MSD meetings.

Lively debate erupted at the MSD meeting around the height of fences and walls on A1A. Handy said the PVZAB recently denied a variance request from a group of property owners to install eight-foot fences on their properties abutting the state road. The current maximum height is six feet, Handy explained. She opened the subject up for discussion, which led to varying opinions from residents.

Scott of the PVZAB asked what would be so offensive about an eight-foot fence, and resident Mary Kohnke responded that it would be violating the code.

“Why can’t we just stick with six feet?” she asked. “If you let somebody go to eight, you’re in trouble."

The PVZAB’s Powell noted that fences along Ponte Vedra vary in height, style and color and suggested that the community organize a committee to make the fencing consistent.

The meeting also included discussion regarding maximum allowed building height, which is currently set at two stories or 35 feet, with the exception of a few areas along Ponte Vedra Boulevard. The potential amendment clarifies that a crawl space averaging six feet or greater in height counts as a story.

In addition, residents discussed potential amendments regarding fence height allowances on lagoons, screening commercial vehicles, utility trailers and recreational vehicles and the definition of an adjacent property.

MSD Trustee Brad Wester said they hope to hold similar meetings in the future.

“I like things like this, where we have more public and citizen participation,” he said. “I think it’s better for the MSD. I think it was very fruitful.”