Best Use, Great Corner and Thoughts…..

Sometimes it makes sense to consider what a community wants. This corner appears to lend itself to use as a convenience store and gas station, but what else might fit? What does the community need and want on this corner?

I tend to see locations like this as a challenge. The 2.64 acre site is big enough for more than one use, so uses like, hypothetically, a Chick-fil-a might work with another use like a convenience store or a second restaurant. Drive through with access from the Lime Street side would be ideal. What about an Aldi or another smaller grocery chain? This site would be closer to a number of apartments and walkable for a significant population. I didn’t mention it yet, but the acreage is equivalent to a larger site with the right to use retention “off site” included as a part of the PUD.

Best Vacant Commercial Corner on Amelia Island?

I won’t list all potential uses, but I wonder what the community might like?

A few thoughts about a Living Shoreline

Flying over the marina in Fernandina, I noticed something interesting. The discussion about a living shoreline is really, in my opinion, only about allowing the natural tendency of a part of the shore to return to a more environmentally friendly and less costly state. This drone shot shows an are with a more natural appearance and the portion of the marina being rebuilt. The difference is dramatic.

Aloha Bagel and Deli…Hidden Gem

If you haven’t tried Aloha for breakfast or lunch, you’re missing a hidden gem on 8th Street.  Somehow, I missed this for the last year and stopped in earlier this week. Sandwiches are fantastic and the salads are the best I remember.  Fresh ingredients, baby spinach and fresh bread every day. hERafaNAROCbPzmaann5Fg

Stop in….I don’t think you’ll regret giving them a try.

432 S 8th St, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034


Perspective and Access

I’ve been reading a lot about beach access in the last few months.  As perspectives go, I tend to see things as a native.  We’re tolerant of change and most of us speak up when an issue is personally important.   Growth and population changes everything.  Whether we’re talking about the number of cars crossing the bridge or how many spaces are left at Main Beach on a typical day.


When more people desire access to a limited resource, the access to that resource will be different.  Thinking forward, consider an increased county population and fully improved A1A.  Amelia Island is the location of choice, if access is available….whether we’re talking about parking or about an improved road.

Conservation Errors and Number of Owners Impacted? How would you feel if your home were suddenly designated as conservation on the FLUM….?

Notice anything … all?

How would you feel if your home or land became conservation on the Future Land Use Map?  Think about it!  4 properties show up on the property appraiser’s GIS system with conservation and a sliver of our homestead is also crossed by the line.  I feel the designation is an error and I intend to ask for a correction.  I want to know who made the error and why the homesteaded properties were designated.  The FLUM lines have no connection to ownership, topo lines or wetland lines.  I was told the CoFB has no intention of addressing other errors and only intends to consider the current property with so much recent opposition, Amelia Bluff, on Citrona.  Why would we not see a correction of all 4, 5 or “SEVENTY” properties with errors?

In looking at the GIS maps from the Nassau County Property Appraiser’s website, I see a number of properties with a potentially erroneous conservation designation on the  Future Land Use map.  It is, perhaps, worth asking a question.  Why are “ALL ERRORS” not being voluntarily corrected?  One property on this map may actually have a home crossed by a FLUM conservation designation line.  Does this owner need to worry?  I would like clarification and I want to know how this happened.  

As enlarged as this map may be, I wouldn’t see the line potentially crossing a few feet of our back property line, without aid of the GIS system….hopefully accurate and “to scale”.

Below, you’ll see a piece of conservation FLUM, with Conservation designation, crossing the back of our property, “ONLY VISIBLE WITH AID OF MAGNIFICATION, GIS”.  Reasonable?  Not in my opinion!

Screen Shot 2019-03-20 at 8.52.13 PM

On a whim, I enlarged a view of our land…..a lot!   Same spot with arrow on the other image……

The last embedded video you see includes discussion at the March 13th PAB meeting related to as many as 140 properties with inconsistencies.  My particular concern is in one PAB member’s comments related to an erroneous map ruling over the zoning and also, I have an issue with comments suggesting handling this privately….or out of the sunshine?  See comments by Member Frank Santry at about the 6 minute mark.

Fernandina’s Future Land Use Map and Clarity

What is a FLUM? What is the purpose?  The future land use map is a community’s visual guide to future planning. The future land use map should bring together most if not all of the elements of the comprehensive plan such as natural resources, economic development, housing and transportation. Source: University of Wisconsin 3/2019

Current Zoning….

Recent confusion over the differences in zoning and future land use, seem to have stirred the community pot. Living near the greenway, I’m aware of previous errors in zoning to conservation. The intent of acquiring greenway was to create land with conservation zoning or future land use. Some adjacent properties were not acquired as a part of the greenway, but somehow were changed in error and that error appears to have carried over to the future land use map as well. Anyway, the drama over this change continued as those unaware of the original reason for the zoning or how land changes to conservation, questioned the development of land zoned for residential use, but still showing conservation on the “FUTURE” land use map. It helps to know the history and look at the dark green areas on the map above. See the link and full version, if you’re curious. The light green and dark green areas are quite large, but seeing properties from ground level can make it difficult to understand just how much natural space we have on the island, preserved with recreational or conservation zoning.

Future Land Use Map Snippet….
Looking toward Fort Clinch from Atlantic Avenue over part of the Egan’s Creek Greenway


Approval of a small-scale Future Land Use Map amendment is requested for 6.40 acres of land from Conservation (CON) to Low Density Residential (LDR) to correct a scrivener’s error and for consistency with the zoning map reflecting R-1(Low Density Residential) zoning. The applicant requests consideration of the FLUM amendment to make consistent the maps and proceed with final plat approval for the 30-dwelling unit subdivision located on a total of on 11.71 acres of land. The subject property is located on Citrona Drive between Hickory Street and Fir Street and identified as “Amelia Bluff.” The developed density of the site is proposed to be 2.56 dwelling units per acre. Existing uses surrounding the property are described in the preceding section. Two points of ingress and egress will be located on Citrona Drive, pending approval of Nassau County for roadway access.

In 2017, the City vacated a portion of unopened right-of-way (Ordinance 2017-25) known as, “Gum Street”, which ran through the mid- section of the site. The City and property owner entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (Resolution 2017-123) which stipulated certain criteria be met as part of any land development approvals. The wetlands portion of the property totaling 3.63 acres of land was transferred to the City of Fernandina through a quit claim deed on March 20, 2018 (Resolution 2018-39). Access to the abutting properties under ownership of the Florida Department of Transportation and located on the eastern edge of the property was established through the creation of a public right-of-way under Resolution 2018-40 on March 20, 2018. The City Commission approved the Amelia Bluff preliminary plat through Resolution 2018-64 on May 1, 2018. Site work commenced in May and infrastructure improvements have been installed. The City will inspect the roadways and infrastructure improvements and the required maintenance bonds will be received at the time a final plat receives signatures from City officials.

Fernandina Beach City Website 3/19/19

Marina Update and Current View

After damages, actually, from 2 hurricanes beginning with Hurricane Matthew in 2016, our marina has been operating at a very reduced capacity. you can see in the above picture, taken on February 4th, 2019, the mud flats are forming in most of the areas occupied by dock space. The following year, Hurricane Irma impacted the area and, although less dramatic, brought “different” damage. Wind direction, tides and storm direction makes each storm unique. Hurricanes aren’t necessarily that common in Fernandina and we’re actually rated in the top 10 safe cities on Home Insurance’s blog. See the link….

Due to damages caused by Hurricane Matthew and the pending repairs, Fernandina Harbor Marina will close Friday, November 23, 2018.  This will include dinghy, short term, transient docks, the mooring field and the boat ramp.  The marina is scheduled to reopen Summer 2019.  Staff is on site from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

PART 1.  The marina is still without the use of the wave attenuator.  This includes the fuel dock, pump out and large vessel dockage.  Bids were published for the repair/replacement of the wave attenuator and a contract is in place with Fender Marine.  Mobilization is schedule for later in November and work is expected to last until June of 2019.   
PART 2.  The Southern Basin Reconfiguration and Dredging is also on schedule.  The City Commission awarded the bid to Brance Diversified.  This work will include the removal of docks form the southern basin, the dredging of the southern basin and the installation of new docks that will follow a north to south alignment.  This reconfiguration is expected to minimize siltation and prolong the period between dredging project.  Brance is scheduled to mobilize later this month and work is expected to last until April 2019.  

PART 3.  The marina will be closed to transient, short term, dinghy and mooring dockage starting November 23rd.     

City of Fernandina Beach Website, Feb 5, 2019
Earlier in the repair process….

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.