FEBRUARY 9, 2012

Doug Burnett and St. Johns Law Group are proud to have successfully respresented Alterra in obtaining the approval of the Worthington PUD, a 289 unit residential subvision in St. Johns County. Thanks to Araan for the sophisticated PowerPoint Presentation and the rest of the staff for a truly team effort.

Despite oft-repeated statements by St. Johns County commissioners that the county needs far more commercial development and far less residential development, the board voted this week to greatly expand Worthington, a Greenbriar Road project, from 38 to 251 homes. Commissioner Cyndi Stevenson moved to modify the project and allow a larger number of homes. It passed 3-2.

“This is one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make,” Stevenson said.

The major modification expands an already approved 56-acre, 38-home development by 227 acres sitting just west of Longleaf Pine Parkway. County documents said, “A 2010 application for a concurrency determination for 251 single-family units was denied, finding inadequate transportation and school capacity.”

A staff report said this project “appears to be incompatible with the surrounding area.” However, the county’s Planning and Zoning Agency passed the new application in a 6-1 vote. Stevenson cited an improving housing market and the need to “infill” already developed areas as reasons for her vote. However, dissenting Commissioner Ken Bryan and Vice Chairman Jay Morris cited traffic concerns on narrow Greenbriar Road and an unwillingness to add several hundred units to the county’s estimated 60,000 approved but unbuilt homes.

The board heard testimony from Phyllis Abbattiello, president of the Northwest St. Johns County Community Coalition, who said the area was already too congested. “We want to keep traffic off Greenbriar and County Road 210 and off the (State Road 13) scenic highway,” she said. “That’s a protected highway. That’s why they allowed only 35 homes the last time.” Abbattiello’s husband, Albert, chairman of the William Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway Council, asked, “Why in the world would we need to build additional homes?”

St. Augustine attorney Doug Burnett, representing Worthington Developers LLC, said traffic may move better because the developer plans two center turn lanes for its two entrances. Cars traveling on Greenbriar Road will not need to stack up behind vehicles waiting to turn, he said…read more >