Homeowners fight rezoning request that would allow couple to build gym

Homeowners say it would hurt property values; developers want to enhance area

Homeowners say it would hurt property values; developers want to enhance area.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Homeowners off Roberts Road in St. Johns County are fighting against a property rezoning request, that would allow a gym to be built on their street.

According to the homeowners, building the gym will open up their residential street to shopping centers and hurt property values. But the gym developers said they only want to build something to enhance the community. 

A couple, who asked not to be identified, bought a piece of property off Roberts Road with plans to build their retirement -- a gym and possibly later a small shopping center. To do so, the property needs to be rezoned from residential to commercial. The couple submitted plans to the St. Johns County Board of Commissioners, requesting just that.

Pam Jones lives across the street from the property and is part of a group organizing against it. 

“This isn’t the right area for it. We have nothing against a fitness center or any other commercial -- whether it be a restaurant or whatever. We just figure this is a residential area. It’s zoned residential. It’s full of homes and children walking to school, and it’s just not the place to put a commercial building,” Jones said.

Jones has distributed hundreds of red signs saying, “No commercial on Roberts Road,” to homeowners who agree with her. 

Roberts Road has long been an exclusively residential road. It connects a newly growing area of St. Johns County -- State Road 13 and Longleaf Pine Parkway. 

The developers' rezoning request includes plans for the gym, as well as a phase two shopping center. The couple requested zoning for a restaurant, outdoor music and a parking lot. 

They also asked for an alcoholic beverage waiver since the property is less than 1,000 feet from Cunningham Creek Elementary School and a church. 

VIEW: Map of Roberts Road property | Fruit Cove Village gym plans

Jones said she believes if the commission allows this rezoning request, it could lead to others. 

“Other developers could come in and create commercial space going forward, and we are not looking to have a shopping center on our road, and that’s what this would turn into. Pandora’s box would open up,” Jones said.

The commission will take a final vote on the rezoning at its meeting Nov.  5. The issue is scheduled to come up after 3 p.m. that day.

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While growing up in Jacksonville, Kristen dreaming of being a reporter at Channel 4. For the last several years, that's been my reality.