Paid Parking and Now, Later or Never?

I’m going to try to avoid the question and briefly talk about my view of paid parking schemes and beach access.  While I dislike paid parking, when I’m paying, I also understand why this may eventually become necessary.  When there are not enough spaces to supply the community need, someone will be denied access.  Are we at that point?  Should we ever consider parking as a revenue generator?  In my opinion, we aren’t at that point, but the day is approaching.

Our current commission is, once again, approaching parking from the revenue generation point of view.  Seeing a gate to accessing a resource like the beach as a revenue tool, in my opinion, eventually leads to future potential for waste.  It is fairly easy to add a tax, creating a cost to access, but difficult to remove a tax.  I would prefer to see parking control (time limits) as a way to recirculate vehicles or insure access to parks, restaurants and activities at Main Beach, assuming we’re talking about paid parking at Main Beach.  The picture below is from earlier today at about 3:45PM.  It was overcast and cool out, but you can see available space.  Restaurant use would peak in the evening and beach use should peak in early afternoon.  The variety of uses will increase use of the park, but before Salt Life or an improved Sandbar/Salty Pelican, businesses like the PuttPutt were not quite as busy.

Sooner or later, we will see increased control of parking as the population increases west of the bridge.  I see this as a mixed blessing, with tourism dollars and revenue from daily visitors making improvements on the island possible.   I would say to anticipate the eventuality of parking controls, but please try to avoid seeing any kind of parking control in terms of revenue generation.  Companies specializing in providing equipment will justify charging for parking.  The justification….if it happens in the rest of Florida, it must be a great idea.   As a former commissioner, I would say politicians are not usually great stewards of tax dollars.  The stakeholders in parking are the public using the park, but also the businesses dependent on reasonable access.  Both the public and surrounding business will ask or beg for help when the time comes.


Parking is a key piece of the transportation puzzle. As a limited resource that’s often in high demand, SDOT manages on-street parking to:

  • balance competing needs (transit, customers, residents, shared vehicles),
  • move people and goods efficiently,
  • support business district vitality, and
  • create livable neighborhoods.



Crane Delivery Today

Original funding press release…..

Sep 25, 2018
Worldwide Terminals Fernandina (“WTF”), working in partnership with the Ocean Highway and Port Authority of Nassau County (“OHPA”), are pleased to announce that they have closed on a $2 million Bridge Financing Facility with BRANCH BANKING AND TRUST COMPANY (“BB&T”) for the acquisition of a Liebherr Mobile Harbor Crane (the “Crane”).  This purchase will include all necessary attachments including a state-of-the-art container spreader, as well as, onsite training.
The actual funding for the Crane was the result of a $2 million grant authorized by the Florida State Legislature, approved by Governor Rick Scott, and funded through the Florida Department of Transportation (“FDOT”) to the OHPA, and was the result of diligent efforts by State Senator Aaron Bean and State Representative Cord Byrd.  The bridge financing provided by BB&T facilitates the purchase and delivery of the Crane by alleviating timing issues with the FDOT funding.
Christopher T. Ragucci, Chief Executive of Worldwide Terminals Fernandina remarked, “We continue to believe that Nassau Terminals is an undiscovered gem in the growing Southeast region.  The acquisition of this Crane will support the continued growth of our Port operations.  We are grateful to Governor Scott and appreciate the dedication of Senator Bean and Representative Byrd to the growth of world trade and the economy in Nassau County.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our financial and equity partners in WTF, Four Wood Capital Partners, who arranged this innovative financing on behalf of OHPA”.
John M. Morale, Managing Partner at Four Wood Capital Partners who also serves as WTF’s Vice Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary commented, “We are pleased to work with a premier financial provider such as BB&T to secure the necessary funding for this project on behalf of our colleagues at OHPA.  This transaction is a part of the first phase of our capital improvement plan for the Port which will bring more jobs and greater economic growth to Nassau County.  Further, we also note that we are in the process of finalizing a new long-term Operating Agreement with OHPA which we hope to have executed by October 4, 2018”.
“Strategically positioned ports are essential to retaining, as well as, attracting industry to an area and we are blessed to have one here in Nassau County (Northeast Florida) to help us achieve both goals”, remarked Laura DiBella, Executive Director of the Nassau County Economic Development Board, and Port Director for the Port of Fernandina.  “I am thankful for Worldwide Terminals’ commitment to our unique general cargo port and even more excited to work with them.”
The Port of Fernandina’s Operator, Nassau Terminals, LLC, was acquired by Worldwide Terminals Fernandina, LLC, a subsidiary of the Worldwide Group, LLC, and Four Wood Capital Partners, LLC, a New York based asset management and merchant banking firm in February 2018.
The terminal currently handles paper and forest products exported to the Caribbean, Central and South America by companies such as Barnett Paper, WestRock and Caribbean Forest Carriers.  It also serves as homeport for Somers Isle Shipping’s containerized service to Bermuda, now in its 33rd year.  The terminal handles imported forest products from Asia and Scandinavia, as well as, certain bulk commodities.   Plans call for an additional capital investment of $15 million in the coming years to modernize the Port’s facilities including additional cranes and cargo handling equipment, as well as, a berth extension and an on-dock paper warehouse to better accommodate our customers.  The Port has 300,000 square feet of warehouse facilities and daily on-dock rail service.  It has a fully-certified Container Freight Station, and the Port will be adding Foreign Trade Zone designation as well.
Worldwide Terminals Fernandina has an experienced workforce that offers turn-key services including freight-forwarding, trucking, warehousing and distribution management and is capable of handling bulk, break-bulk, project cargo, containerized and refrigerated cargoes, as well as, steel and lumber.  Worldwide Terminals Fernandina is an ideal multi-purpose port, located less than two miles from the open ocean, offering the most cost-efficient service in the Southeast region.  The Port currently has active trade with South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda, with plans to expand into Europe and Asia over the next year.
BB&T Corporation is a bank holding company based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  Its bank, BB&T, operates 2,049 branches in 15 states and Washington, D.C., and offers consumer and commercial banking, securities brokerage, asset management, mortgage, and insurance products and services.  It is the 16th largest bank in the U.S. with assets of $221.6 billion.  Its subsidiary, BB&T Insurance Services, is one of the largest insurance brokers in the world.
Please contact either Chris Ragucci (904.990.1400); or John M. Morale (646.515.7561); with any questions or for more information.

200 Feet Over Downtown Fernandina Beach

Small cruise ships, a rebuilt marina, luxury townhomes, remodeling of the Baptist Sunday School building, a downtown putt-putt, brewery, a new location for the distillery, apartments on Atlantic at a formerly blighted corner and a mystery project at the old “Boat House” are projects underway. All are slated for 2019/2020 completion and should be very positive additions.

Creative Redevelopment, Great Locations, Persistent Broker Key to Development


Creative vision by the buyer and persistence by the broker resulted in the sale of a Historic District fixture, “The Boat House”.  While I have seen many of the redevelopment details, plans can change.  I will say the plans look exceptional and will bring an exciting addition to Downtown Fernandina. Across from City Hall, this is one of the last large sites with a view, plentiful nearby parking and almost directly across from the Hampton Inn and Suites on 2nd Street.


If you’re looking for a broker with experience and persistence, give me a call during or after hours.  With experience selling a variety of area commercial properties, I’m more than happy to assist or offer a second opinion.  Some past closed sales or listings include sites like the new Dollar General on SR 107, Reflections of Nature’s new site on Arbor Lane, 316 Centre Street (being redeveloped), 30 South 2nd Street and the former Pecan Roll at 122 South 8th Street.  I hope I’m competitive with service and rates, but let me know what you need.

In 2018, I added a commercial drone license to improve client service, offer more frequent updates and, more than you might imagine, inspections of more inaccessible locations. It is also becoming an enjoyable way to promote the diversity here on Amelia Island.

Preservation and Affordable Housing Related?

defaultPeriodically, I have a conversation with someone about development and offering incentives instead of taking away value from the landowner/investor.  In talking with a friend earlier today, we both agreed it would make so much sense to move density from one property to another.  I brought up one developed property and the loss of affordable potential after years of delay eliminated more and more of the profit.  If only “incentives”, not obstruction, had been a part of the conversation!

TDR stands for “Transfer of Development Rights”.  Consider a purchase of one property by one developer or by the city.  That property might have a certain number of units in density.  If you create a mechanism to bank that total density and offer it as either an incentive to that developer or another property owner, you could either sell those units of density, bargain with them to incentivize affordable housing or accomplish another goal.  The key is avoiding a cost to the taxpayer, while incentivizing a change.

What is ‘Transfer of Development Rights?’ A zoning tool enabling the transfer development potential from areas the community seeks to conserve to areas to areas it seeks to be developed

A mechanism that permanently protects undeveloped land without the expenditure of public funds

Source:  New Hampshire Transfer of Development Summary 12/10/18. New Hampshire Southern Planning Commission


Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 4.28.22 PM
The dark and light green areas represent either park or conservation areas.

Consider the cost of land and limited tax dollars.  Doesn’t it make sense to consider alternatives to do the same thing?

Endorsing Bradley Bean, Need Your Vote for Bean on Tuesday…

If you don’t know me, I’m a former Commissioner and Mayor here in Fernandina.  I’ve known Bradley’s family for most of my life and they have a long history here in local business and in political life, but that has nothing to do with my endorsement.  My reasoning is below, but I see Bradley frequently.  Usually he’s in the local YMCA at the same time.  I met him long before he decided to run for office and immediately liked his demeanor.  He impresses me as fair and honest.  He impressed me as genuine, sincere, respectful and exactly the kind of personality I would want to see in local government.

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 9.27.34 AMAge is a factor.  The commission average age is over 60 and Mayor Miller is the only current member under 60.  I feel we are under-represented in some age brackets and it would be healthy to offer a voice to those voters in the interest of diversity. Current Commissioners

History is a factor for me.  Bradley is a native and at least third generation island resident.  He cares about his family, ranging across all age brackets, but he also has ties with graduation as “Valedictorian” of Fernandina Beach High School and many local friendships.

Yes, his father is a politician.  You’d need to be blind not to see the name and associate it with Aaron Bean, our State Senator.  I see this as an advantage for Nassau, given the obvious tie and invaluable insights offered to a son.

Eduction is a factor.  His industrial engineering degree from the University of Florida will offer insight into issues like the marina, road maintenance needs, beach re-nourishment, drainage and more.  Many issues are land use issues, but many issues in front of a commission have more to do with being reasonable and being able to plan for keeping the city running smoothly.  Maintaining this or anticipating the cost is important.  Any background with land use, construction, engineering or business, lends itself to the position.

Employment is a factor.  Bradley works full-time for a local mill.  Whether people recognize this or not, we are still a working community in significant proportion.  Rayonier, WestRock, Lignotech and the Port of Fernandina employees are significant.  If you count retirees and current employees, there is a need to find a voice for jobs and economic diversity.  Our biggest issue on the island is in keeping this diversity alive.  Our healthy economy is more resistant because we are not singularly dependent upon tourism, unlike many small coastal Florida cities.

CFB 2x5 12.05Involvement is a factor for me.  I won’t name his opponent, but promising to be “full-time” is definitely not a good thing.  Understanding the position is meant to be representative, not supervisory, is important.  Often commissioners become hyper involved in meetings with staff or in a role stepping on or over the boundary defined in the charter.  Bean understands this.   I believe the position of staff attorney came after a commissioner in years past spent “MANY” hours camped at a local attorney’s office billing the “research all my questions” time to the taxpayer.  No, running as a commissioner is not the same as City Manager.  The commission as a whole can give direction to a manager.  Individual commissioners or even a Mayor cannot.

The elected position as a city commissioner is meant to offer representation.  Voters should see people in office reflecting the local demographics and ages.  We’ve had poorly prepared commissioners and commissioners promising to be “full-time”.  We have commissioners professing to have experience or be more entitled to a position.  As a former commissioner, I believe we need people willing to learn and able to reflect the voter’s views.  Some run with negativity, insulting their opponents and some simply ask for your vote.   We never want someone attempting to be a “full time commissioner”.  This usually means they’re interfering in the day-to-day management of the city.  We have a government with 5 commissioners and a Mayor with mostly ceremonial power.  He or she is not entitled to any more voice than other commissioners.

So, that said, I hope you consider diversity, education, understanding the limits of the position and long history here on the island when you vote.  My vote is going to Bean and I hope you’ll join me.


Best regards,


Ed Boner

It looks different from the air…View of Fernandina Beach Waterfront

My newest effort to update the photographic game was the purchase of a drone.  I’m early in the learning process and, so far, I am pleased to see very different views of my hometown.  I think seeing the impact of tourism (Hampton and Train Depot, the marina, Port of Fernandina, working waterfront and WestRock, all in one shot, brings home the level of diversity in Fernandina.


Bucket List and Wishlist…..

I don’t think I need to fit in a prom dress or own another golden retriever, but this is an entertaining read on my way to or from my favorite local coffee shop.  Outside Cafe Karibo, travel, love, pets and great achievements….


How many of you dreamed of living in a beach town with great dining, great beaches, great neighbors and raise children in a place like Fernandina?  I have a lot on my bucket list, but a surprising number of those things are here in Fernandina.


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