BCC puts temporary brakes on plans for Fleming Island apartment complex

Chairman Gayward Hendry also announces he won’t seek re-election next year

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GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Plans for a new apartment complex were delayed by 30 days for further discussion after a 5-0 vote by county commissioners.

Fleming Island Business Park III, LLC, owner Jerry Agrestie requested a change in zoning from Planned Unit Development to a different PUD categorization in order to build a new apartment complex on Radar Road. The development, if approved, will be built on the corner of Radar Road and U.S. Highway 17 on Fleming Island, and it will bring 180 multi-family units to the area.

“The applicant is requesting a change in zoning from PUD to PUD in order to provide a site plan and standards for the development of 180 multi-family units on approximately 11.36 acres located within the Planned Community future land use,” the application reads.

The complex will include a clubhouse, a pool area and a dog park, and it will consist of single-story living units as well as multi-story units reaching as high as four stories. Residents packed Tuesday night’s meeting to express their concerns about traffic flow.

Residents generally were in favor of the apartment complex, but they weren’t happy with the handling of the apartment’s impact on traffic. The apartment be across the street from Grace Anglican Church. Residents said pulling out onto U.S. 7 is already difficult enough with the church’s congregation.

“What are you doing to do with another 180 families trying to pull out onto 17?” one resident asked.

Another resident said it’s not a matter of annoyance any longer and that instead, it’s a matter of safety.

“This has grown to be beyond obnoxious and intrusive to the neighborhoods. It’s a matter of safety now.”

The owner of the property, Agrestie, said this project has been a long time coming. Agrestie bought the property in 2008 with plans to create a business park. He built a business park in a different area that brought 300 jobs to Clay County, according to Agrestie.

Agrestie said he’s been searching for alternative uses for the property and he decided the area has a critical need for additional housing. Baptist Health is building a new hospital on Fleming Island, and that’s expected to bring 700 jobs.

The BCC voted to delay the project by 30 days to allow for additional discussion.

“A delay isn’t impossible, but it does put a crimp in the wheels to just stop it over traffic that we’ve paid a great deal to mitigate already,” Agrestie said, referring to the traffic studies already completed for the project.

In other business, the BCC voted unanimously against a plan for a new development in the Lake Asbury area with a high density. The development is still possible, but it won’t feature the changes proposed at Tuesday’s meeting. The density proposed would have included several apartments on a single acre.

Residents from the Lake Asbury area voiced their disdain for the proposed project citing too high of a density, and the removal of too much natural land. The BCC reached a compromise by giving the developer time to rework his plan.

And the bond project to improve county roads was finally approved Tuesday night. The bond transaction will be finalized on March 26 which would allow for immediate construction.

BCC Chairman Gayward Hendry then closed the meeting out by announcing that he does not intent to run for re-election this year.

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