St. Johns County is proposing some significant changes to its Land Development Code (the “Code”) related to transportation concurrency, site planning and architectural detail requirements for rezoning applications, and siting of ports and marinas.
In the fall of 2009, St. Johns County enacted what it called the “Phase 1” amendments to its transportation concurrency requirements, which 1) increased the threshold number of trips that would be considered small or minor projects, thus allowing proposed developments with minimum traffic impacts to forego more intensive traffic assessments; and 2) reduced the traffic study distance requirements for major non-residential projects from four miles to two miles. County staff has introduced draft language for the “Phase 2” amendments to the transportation concurrency requirements, which will release a proposed 50 percent of the reserved trips from the concurrency management system, thereby making available additional traffic capacity on many of the County’s roadways.
The proposed Code changes include a requirement that all rezonings, not just rezonings to the Planned Unit Development district, include site plans “when determined appropriate by the County”. Such site plans must include the general locations of lots or structures; heights of structures; general locations of proposed access points to external rights-of-way; architectural style of proposed structures or architectural theme of the project; general location and extent of buffering to be provided within the project; and additional details “to address potential negative impacts associated with the rezoning request and to ensure compatibility with surrounding Uses.”
In a similar vein, staff has proposed requiring all Planned Unit Development rezoning applications to include an architectural concept plan, which must incorporate details related to architectural finish; roof lines; building orientation, building mass, scale and height; solid to void ratios; and fenestration. This requirement would not be applicable to commercial or multi-family developments in an overlay district, as designated in the Code.
The County is also considering major changes to its Code that would limit the locations of port facilities and marinas within the Intracoastal Waterway and St. Johns River. The proposed amendment would allow ports and marinas to be constructed only within the area of the Intracoastal Waterway from ICW Marker 55 (ICW-N(3)), which lies north of the Vilano Beach bridge, south to ICW Marker 29 (ICW-S(1)), which lies at the southern end of the City of St. Augustine Beach limits. No new port facilities or marinas would be permitted in the St. Johns River. All ports and marinas that lawfully exist on the date the Code amendment is adopted will be allowed to continue to be used as they presently exist. A port or marina that has received final approval in the form of a special use, variance or building permit but has not yet been constructed will be considered an existing structure as long as such approval is valid and unexpired.
The County Commission will conduct a first reading of the ordinance to adopt the proposed Code changes at 9 a.m. April 6, 2010 at the County Administration Building, 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine, Florida 32095. The Planning and Zoning Agency is scheduled to review the proposed amendments at 1:30 p.m. on April 15, and the County Commission will conduct a second reading of the ordinance at 9 a.m. on May 5.
For more information about the proposed Code changes, please contact Ellen Avery-Smith.