Commission wrap-up: City to reimagine King Street

One of the biggest mobility projects of the year for St. Augustine will be deciding what King Street will look like, Mobility Program Manager Reuben Franklin Jr. said Monday.

 

The city plans to consider designs for King Street both as a Florida Department of Transportation road, which it is now, and a city-owned road, he said. A street network analysis that includes King Street is underway.

Franklin is also working on overhauling the parking system and creating a bike-share program, and the city is searching for properties that could be purchased for the city’s park-and-ride shuttle system, he said.

Other city highlights from this week:

- John Cary replaced Denise May as the new assistant city attorney. Cary, who will earn about $70,000 a year, has a background that includes working for the city of Ocala, according to the city.

- Because of the expired Whispering Creek development agreement, commissioners are faced with deciding part of the property’s future.

Commissioners delayed until Feb. 12 the first readings of three ordinances that will assign a land use, zoning category and a new archaeological zone to the site. The property is north of St. Augustine High School on Lewis Speedway and includes Native American artifacts, Planning and Building Director David Birchim said.

“The thought is that at some time Native American folks were living adjacent to this creek [that runs along the property],” Birchim said.

The city never assigned a land use when the property was annexed, but the zoning and the archaeological zone protections for the artifacts are needed because the PUD expired — the property is now bank-owned because of a foreclosure.

Commissioners asked the CBC National Bank’s attorney, Ellen Avery-Smith, to ask the bank to consider choosing a different land use category with a lower the building height limit — the maximum height is 50 feet in the proposed land use of Residential Medium Density Mixed Use. The zoning proposed is Residential General Office.

Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline supported finding a way to have a park at the site, which had been promised in the PUD.

- Commissioners approved 3-1 on first reading an updated residential parking program, which will change the program to a zone system. Now, anyone with a residential parking permit can parking in any residential-only on-street parking. With permits, residents will only be able to park in their zones. The ordinance needs another positive vote to pass. Commissioner Leanna Freeman left early in the meeting and wasn’t there to vote.

Vice Mayor Todd Neville opposed the changes, saying it will take parking spaces off the street during peak times. He took issue with residents being able to control a portion of a public street and the program not taking into account the cost of the public space being reserved.

- Commissioners approved an ordinance that removes a requirement in City Charter for city employees, aside from elected officials, to be city residents. The city had about 315 full-time and 25 part-time employees as of 2017, according to the Florida League of Cities. City officials estimated only about 35 to 40 employees live in the city, and about 45 employees live in other counties — the cost in St. Johns County plays a role.

- Commissioners adopted a resolution opposing Senate Bill 1400, which would repeal City Code that restricts vacation and short-term rentals.

 

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