Nassau County board votes to make settlement offer to property owner without regulation changes

Decision comes after Riverstone Properties proposed deal following suit that would bring 85-foot towers to Amelia Island

Residents of Nassau County flooded a commission meeting Monday night, sharing their objection to a proposed settlement that would bring residential buildings to the south end of Amelia Island.

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. – Residents of Nassau County flooded a commission meeting Monday night, sharing their objection to a proposed settlement that would bring residential buildings to the south end of Amelia Island.

During the meeting, commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of its county attorney presenting Riverstone Properties a settlement offer with no changes to its building regulations and a statement of allowable uses.

Riverstone Properties owns around 50 acres of land on the east side of the First Coast Highway in the unincorporated part of the island. The county was presented a notice of claim by Riverstone under the Bert Harris Act — claiming $27 million in damages.

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“Because Riverstone is located in the RG-2 zoning district and because ninety (90) percent of Riverstone’s Property falls within 1,000 feet of the CCCL (Coastal Construction Control Line), the maximum permitted height for the majority of Riverstone’s Property under the proposed Ordinance was thirty five feet,” Riverstone’s original complaint writes. “As a result, the proposed Ordinance severely limited the number of oceanfront residential units that Riverstone would be able to develop on the Property.”

The previously proposed settlement agreement asked for tower heights up to 85 feet and 11 condos.

“We’re kind of appalled by it,” said Creighton Hoffman, who spoke during public comment. “It would he a 85 foot wall of condos a third of a mile long.”

Residents who spoke during the meeting also shared concerns over the potential environmental impact.

“I ask that you please support the birds, the turtles, the pristine beaches,” said Candace Whitney.

“This is why people come here and spend money,” said Margaret Kirkland. “It’s important for our economy. When areas lose their character, it results in a loss of economic stability.”

Some residents say they would rather the developer build single family homes.

“Riverstone could claim as much profit by building luxury single-family homes as they can building 11, 85-foot towers, and we know that because we got an appraisal,” said Lyn Pannone.


About the Author:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.