Commercial project on Old Moultrie gain support of county planning board

Old Moultrie Road’s transformation into a commercial thoroughfare is about to take another step in that direction.


A new commercial building at the corner of Old Moultrie Road and Kings Estate Road received a positive review from the St. Johns County Planning and Zoning Agency at Thursday’s meeting.

A unanimous vote in favor of the Planned Unit Development of 23,940 square feet of office/professional space will send the project on to the County Commission on Nov. 21 for a final up or down vote.

The strong support from the PZA will make it difficult for the commissioners to turn down unless some sort of vocal opposition suddenly materializes.

“It’s clearly an area that is in transition from what was residential toward commercial, and especially north of Kings Estate Road there’s a real mix of office and retail and things in there,” PZA member Brad Nelson said. “I think this is a logical place for retail at the corner.”

Representing the ownership; Lou Gilpin, Blind Ventures LLC; land planner Karen Taylor said the project is trying to attract businesses that can benefit from the location without being overly disruptive to neighbors. There are currently several single-family homes in the area as well as some homes that have been converted into businesses like day cares.

“The proposed uses as mentioned are basically office and neighborhood commercial-type uses, service businesses, those types of activities,” Taylor said.

Among the businesses that won’t be allowed there, according to Taylor, are boat/RV storage, mini warehouse storage or anything with a drive-thru.

“So beauty salons, lawyers, those types of things,” Taylor said of target businesses. “These are small businesses that are really not large enough businesses to afford the spaces along U.S. 1. They’re more oriented to a neighborhood-type use.

“They need the visibility and access from the major roads, but they’re really designed to serve the community.”

PZA members said the project, which does not require any waivers, seemed to be the right kind of development for the location.

“At first, I wasn’t sure if this was really a good fit, but with the conditions they put in there to limit some of the more intensive kind of uses, I’m comfortable with that,” PZA member Jeff Martin said. “I think being placed at an intersection with a traffic light is a big plus.”

Added PZA member David Rice: “I think this is a good fit for the types of businesses that will go in there.”

• The PZA also spent more than an hour Thursday listening to a proposal for a major modification to the County Road 210 Town Center PUD to add approximately 154.4 acres of land to the PUD, to increase the square footage of intensive commercial development to 1,450,000 square feet within the Intensive Commercial Future Land Use designation and add 187,000 square feet of non-residential uses.

The owner of the property, Helow Properties, LTD, was also seeking nine waivers for the large commercial project.

Waivers for the larger-than-allowed signage turned out to be a sticking point with the PZA. The members agreed the location was right for commercial development but could not agree to the signage waivers. So the item was continued to November while a compromise will be attempted.