A townhouse project on Comares Avenue is truly inching toward a final proposal despite another continuance before the St. Augustine Planning and Zoning Board, an attorney for the project said.
Jeremiah Mulligan, representing the development called Cortez on the Water, said multiple changes have been made after meeting with neighbors.
He said a July 25 meeting resulted in several alterations, and subsequent meetings with city building staff also prompted some changes. Therefore, Mulligan said there wasn’t time to get a final copy of the proposal to the PZB.
Members of the board agreed to a third continuance of the item at Tuesday’s meeting.
When the board does look at the detailed final plans of the development, Mulligan said he thinks it will be more appealing than previous ideas.
“One of the things the city was looking for was to make sure we were protecting the tree canopy on the south side of the property, and so we generally shifted the pond and a lot of the units to the north to kind of protect that tree canopy,” Mulligan told The Record on Wednesday. “And we also broke up the units to kind of allow the vista to be better enjoyed and that it wasn’t a big block building.”
Among the issues brought out at some point in the ongoing pre-approval process are the impact to the trees that Mulligan mentioned, block-type developments obscuring views and an access road that would have affected Inlet Place to the south.
The new design, which was barely discussed at the Tuesday PZB meeting, should ease those concerns, Mulligan said. He added that the road issue appears to be mitigated by having a turnaround at the end of a private road in order to make it accessible to emergency vehicles and not impact neighbors at Inlet Place.
“The neighbor directly to the north is pleased,” Mulligan said. “It seems like the neighbors in Inlet Place are still wondering what the final product will be, but their strenuous objections have seemed to wane a little bit.
“The other concerns from folks in the community we’ll continue to take seriously and try to address that’s good for everybody.”
The developers of the property that fronts Salt Run have not been afraid to change the plans, sometimes quite drastically. The property has actually been approved for a 39-unit condominium development, but that was abandoned. It was also designed as a hotel at one point.
Bryan Greiner, chief investment officer for the Augustine Development Group that is doing the project, said in July that the move from the hotel idea was in direct response to concerns by neighbors, who preferred a quality residential development instead.
Just a few months ago, the plan was to build a 34-townhouse project. But the plan Mulligan and other representatives will bring forward at the next PZB meeting is expected to be just 30 townhomes and 30 boat slips.
“I think when they understand that there’s already a permitted 39-unit condominium complex that what we’re proposing now is better a design and something that will have a better streetscape and look better in the community,” Mulligan said. “We’re right on the edge of having that finished product, and hopefully we’ll get in here in the very near future and people can have a look and (we will) continue to receive constructive criticism and positive feedback.”