Amelia Bluff Development Dilemma

Development Controvery Fernandina Beach Issues Amelia Bluff Stop Work Order
Controversy: Fernandina Beach Issues Amelia Bluff “Stop Work Order”

An island development controversy arose recently when concern was raised about whether a new community under construction was being built on property that is “conservation” land. The Amelia Bluff situation has been in the Amelia Island spotlight, the neighborhood already underway within the city limits on Citrona Drive near Fernandina’s Egans Greenway.

Intensely Debated

Was it a “mapping error,” or not? Opinions differ, and it’s been debated whether or not some of the controversial acreage was meant to be “conservation” land (as it appears on the FLUM). Was this area supposed to be a permanent buffer to the adjacent preserve, Egans Greenway?

The city of Fernandina Beach sent the developer a letter requesting work to stop until this issue could be sorted out. Construction at the site did cease. At a city commission meeting held March 19, 2019, overwhelmingly, the citizenry strongly voiced desire to stop the development. The pubic comments ran about four and a half hours (with citizens clearly expressing opposition to allowing the developer to move forward). After all public commentary was completed, the city commission postponed a decision for a month.

Fernandina Beach City Hall Downtown
Fernandina Beach City Hall Downtown

FLUM Change?

Thus, the Fernandina city commission still needs to vote for or against making a Future Land Use Map (FLUM) change from “conservation” to “low density residential.” Voting for a change would allow the developer to proceed with this development platted for 30 new homes. Voting against it appears to mean possible law suits and potential big price tag for taxpayers (including a scenario of maybe purchasing the parcel from the developer).

April 16, 2019 Meeting

The additional time (postponing the decision), was intended to be used for the city manager and the developer to discuss the situation further and potentially negotiate a remedy. The next meeting on Amelia Bluff is scheduled for 6 pm on April 16, 2019. Whether a resolution or compromise that is satisfactory to all — the commissioners, the developer and the citizenry — can be reached, remains to be seen.

The public can attend the meeting at Fernandina’s downtown city hall. Assume it may be standing room only, with overflow outside on the sidewalk. Or watch it online. The city of Fernandina Beach commission meetings are streamed live at the government’s website (and past meetings can be viewed, as well).