An applicant behind a potential community marina is seeking a zoning variance with the St. Johns County Land Development Code to allow for construction at 405 S. Roscoe extension, south of the Palm Valley Bridge.
According to the request for approval, the applicant is seeking a “relaxation” of the terms of code at the location, where a marina is prohibited from being constructed at the property. This is due to a 2002 marine study conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which determined where marinas would be the most environmentally sustainable and adequate for specific locations. In 2014, the county implemented the study into the Land Development Code. Currently, marinas are allowed from the eastern shore from ICW Marker 51 south. The proposed location is north of ICW Marker 51, which requires a request for zoning variance.
Casey Dendor, St. Johns County Growth Management planner, said there is a distinction between “community” marinas and “regular” marinas.
A true marina, Dendor said, allows for charter fishing, sight-seeing, boat repair, fueling and is generally more “intense” than a community marina. The proposed community marina will only allow for berthing or storage of boats, although there is an attached retail building, which could be a “restaurant or tackle shop,” Dendor said.
The applicant, represented by Bartlett & Faulkner, P.A, argues that the variance would not be contrary to public interest because there is a lack of facilities to store boats in an area that has grown exponentially since the study was conducted. The applicant also mentions that the study makes no distinction between marinas and community marinas.
The project intends to include 75 slips of unenclosed dry berthing storage, which the applicant suggests will create less of an environmental impact. Twelve wet slips will line the Intracoastal Waterway, although they are only for boaters to tie up and visit the retail shop on the property and not for overnight use. Overall, the applicant claims the planned facility will “further the goals and objectives of the St. Johns County Comprehensive Plan to provide goods and services at a size and scale appropriate to serve the surrounding community.”
Currently, there are no public boat storage facilities along the Intracoastal Waterway between St. Augustine and the Duval County line. Dendor, however, told the Recorder that there is indeed another application for an actual marina, (as opposed to a community) proposed north of the Palm Valley Bridge. The second marina is currently undergoing a major modification to the application, after its initial 2004 PUD expired.
The proposal for the marina will go before the St. Johns County Planning & Zoning Agency on May 16 at 1:30 p.m. at the St. Johns County Auditorium located at 500 San Sebastian View in St. Augustine. The prepared staff report and supporting documentation will also be uploaded to www.sjcfl.us/Calendars+/gm.aspx for public view by the end of day Friday, May 10.