County agency rejects plan for gated
Project expected to go next before commissioners
By PETER GUINTA
Publication Date: 01/06/06
St. Augustine Shores residents clapped and cheered Thursday night moments
after St. Johns County Planning and Zoning Agency -- after three hours of
testimony -- rejected a proposed housing project that would have put a gated
community of 901 homes onto the last undeveloped unit in the Shores.
On a motion by Tom Manuel, the board voted 4-3 to deny recommending a
plan by Toll Brothers to build Villages of Tuscany, visualized as a gated
community of single- and multi-family homes between Shores Boulevard and
the Matanzas River.
"Planned communities are planned communities and people make decisions
to purchase there according to that plan," Manuel said. "This is not orderly
growth and development and not consistent with the public interest. I don't
believe Toll Brothers has sold this to the community."
He was supported by Chairman Henry F. Green and board members Dennis
Shepherd and Brad Nelson. Opposing were Cheryl Robitzsch, Jason Barrett
and Deanne Grayson.
St. Augustine attorney George McClure, representing Toll Brothers, said the
next step is to present this project to the County Commission, which can
overturn the Planning Agency's recommendation.
"We're going to step back and listen to what the residents are saying and see
if we can accommodate them," McClure said. "I don't know if we can."
He'd argued that the property in question is already private. "We would not
be taking anyone's pre-existing access to this site," he said.
Also, residents of the gated area would pay Shores maintenance fees of $26
per month, while also paying another fee for maintenance, roads and
amenities in their own community. That would mean income to St. Augustine
Shores Service Corp. without responsibility in that community.
"There are 948 multi-family units already in the Shores," he said. "Changes
happen. This is one that is consistent with (the c