Nassau’s Juggling Act of Rapid Growth

Residents are worried their little slice of paradise is getting sliced up by unchecked development. Some growth is good; too much growth, uncontrolled, is bad. We are teetering on the latter.

New development home construction Fernandina Beach, Florida
New Development Home Construction, Fernandina Beach

Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace column.

–Steve’s Marketplace —

Nassau County is caught in a juggling act right now, with too many balls in the air to be effective. All the while, a sand fight rages on Amelia Island.

Some of it is our own doing. Lethargic local officials have failed to anticipate the rapid growth we are enduring. It’s now like trying to contain a spreading forest fire. Priorities are also disjointed – and have been for many years.

We are still a small county, yet sophisticated and diverse. As different as Bryceville is from Fernandina Beach. This only feeds the confusion and lack of harmony.

Judging by the protests and letters and pleadings, residents are rightfully concerned. Some growth is good; too much growth, uncontrolled, is bad. We are teetering on the latter.

Residents are worried their little slice of paradise is getting sliced up by unchecked development. While elected officials simply salivate over the potential tax revenues the developments bring (despite soaring tax revenues already).

Lime Street (& 14th), Fernandina Beach 224 new apartments under construction
Fernandina Beach, 224 Apartments Under Construction

You often wonder who our elected officials are representing. And then there are misguided attempts to regulate usage of our 13 miles of beautiful beaches. Among all of our woes, the beaches are not one of them. Yet, they’ve attracted massive attention.

The government-sponsored group holding forums over beach usage obviously has some sort of regulation in its cross hairs. Already, the beach access at Sadler Road is being closed at night to vehicles – this is has never been the case.

Fernandina Beach Seaside Park Beach Driving Vehicles 5-24-2019
Fernandina Beach: Sadler Road Beach Access, Seaside Park

Two reported hit-and-runs at the beach have drawn the ire of many who really don’t like driving/parking on the beaches in the first place. This gives them fodder to restrict these beach activities. While there are more people on the beaches these days, these two baffling incidents are the first in recent memory.

Several years ago, an attempt was made by county officials to shut down the county parks at sunset and re-open them at sunrise. These efforts failed after hundreds of residents protested. We can expect the same thing when the fact-finding committee delivers its results. The fact that a committee was even formed to perform this function raises questions of the objectivity of the group.

Elsewhere, the county commission is deadlocked with Wildlight officials over who pays for what in several situations. A deadlock with the largest property owner in Nassau County is not a good thing. The deadlock will apparently be settled in the courts.

Outlandish projects are being bantered about, featuring racing themes and grand hotels on environmentally sensitive Amelia Island. At some point, we have to say that enough is enough.

Meanwhile, we allow developers to bulldoze trees and sand dunes, but residents cannot park in prescribed areas on the beach. Something is wrong here. We are nearing a point where we could be juggling our future.


Steve Nicklas Financial Advisor
Steve Nicklas, Financial Advisor

Steve Nicklas, CRPC®, is a financial advisor with a U.S. brokerage firm who lives and works on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns regularly appear in weekly newspapers in North Florida and in South Georgia, and on his website at He has published a book, “All About Money,” of his favorite columns from the past 20 years. The book is available at local stores and on Amazon. He can be reached at 904-753-0236 or at [email protected]. _____________

Adult Ed Investing Classes

The “Investing in Today’s Financial Markets” adult-education class will be offered in June 2019 at the Nassau County Council on Aging in Fernandina Beach.

The four-week class has been offered at Florida State College in Yulee since 2001, and at area businesses and non-profit agencies. Local financial advisor Steve Nicklas teaches the class.

The class covers all aspects of the financial markets, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, annuities, insurance, etc., along with financial/retirement planning. Sessions will be held on Monday evenings from 5-6:30 p.m. (June 3, 10, 17 and 24). For additional information or to register, visit the Council on Aging website at or call 904-261-0701.