St. Johns County Planning and Zoning Agency supports new development on C.R. 16A
St. Augustine Record
A proposed residential development in the western part of St. Johns County got support this week from the St. Johns County Planning and Zoning Agency.
The planning board voted 5-2 to recommend approval of zoning and land use changes to allow Minorcan Mill, a Planned Unit Development with up to 125 single-family houses on County Road 16A. The matter is expected to go before the County Commission on Nov. 19.
While some on the board raised concerns about lack of school capacity and traffic impacts from the development, other board members said the applicant team had addressed the issues. In February, the County Commission sent the proposal back to the PZA to deal with transportation concerns.
There are two requests to allow the development, which would be at 6700 County Road 16A.
One request is to change the Comprehensive Plan Amendment Future Land Use designation of about 58 acres from Agricultural Intensive to Residential-B, while limiting the maximum number of single-family homes to 125. The other request is to rezone the land from Open Rural to Planned Unit Development.
The development team is seeking several exceptions to the Land Development Code to allow for different types and sizes of housing — that includes exceptions for signs and setbacks.
The development is expected to bring about 1,277 weekday trips on average, with about 126 of those trips happening in the busiest afternoon time, according to the county.
While there would be adequate capacity on C.R. 16A, the county believes there would be “significant and adverse impacts” on S.R. 16 from International Golf Parkway to a western entrance to the malls on S.R. 16.
Improvements are scheduled for part of the road.
“World Commerce Center is committed to four-laning S.R. 16 from (International Golf Parkway) to South (Francis),” according to the county. “Grand Oaks is committed to four-laning three miles of S.R. 16 from South Francis to the east. The remaining two miles to the West Mall Entrance has no commitments at this time.”
To help with traffic impacts, the project would contribute at least $600,000 toward improving the intersection of SilverLeaf Parkway and State Road 16, according to the county. That would allow for more improvements than what SilverLeaf plans to contribute.
The project would also dedicate 54 feet of right-of-way along C.R. 16A. The project will also include 3.55 extra acres of stormwater capacity, which the county could take over.
There is no capacity for schools right now at any level in the area. The project hasn’t been reviewed for school concurrency to see how much the developer would have to pay to make up for the impact of new students.
Board member Archie Wainright, who voted against the project, said he appreciated the developer’s efforts to make the project acceptable.
“Still the capacity is an issue. The roadway, or load, is an issue,” Wainright said.
Attorney Doug Burnett, who represented the applicants, said the road links on either side of the property are not failing, and he pointed out that the failing stretch is expected to be partially four-laned.
On schools, Burnett said he believes there will be capacity for K-8 students, but his team can’t apply yet for a determination on school capacity and payments needed to make up for the impact — that application is allowed later in the process.
Further, he said the development would provide a bigger financial benefit than if lots on site were allowed to develop individually.
Board member Jeff Martin said he didn’t see the traffic impacts on the failing road lengths to be “a major point of contention,” and he said he believes the school issue will be resolved with new schools coming online.
“School capacity is going to be an issue for the foreseeable future in St. Johns County,” Martin said. “This is a relatively small project.”