The Citizens Against Runaway Development (“CARD”) has Filed Suit Against Nassau County
The Citizens Against Runaway Development (“CARD”) has filed suit against Nassau County. It seeks to prevent a settlement agreement between Nassau County and Riverstone Properties, LLC, from becoming effective.
That agreement was approved (4 to 1) by the Nassau Commissioners on April 24, 2023. Only Commissioner McCullough dissented.
CARD was formed in response to widespread citizen outrage over runaway development on Amelia Island and the County’s unwillingness to defend itself from developers who threaten litigation.
The Riverstone property is 50 acres of virgin, maritime forest on the south end of Amelia Island, adjacent to the state park.
The approved settlement agreement allowed Riverstone to build eleven towers at least 85 feet high, despite an ordinance limiting structures to 45 feet. The County also surrendered many rights to Riverstone, including:
Measuring building heights from finished grade, which can be higher than existing natural grade.
Freedom, in perpetuity, from many future zoning ordinances
The right to erect at least 4 lighted billboards (13 feet high) along scenic portions of A1A.
Freedom, in perpetuity, from many future county tree protection ordinances
Setbacks for 85-foot towers as narrow as 25 feet from adjacent property lines.
Tax credits of more than $11,000,000 for donating eight acres of the property which include lowland, wetland, and unbuildable land.
The right to build within 20 feet of the state’s Coastal Control Line.
As alleged in the lawsuit, the agreement constitutes “illegal contract zoning.” Contract zoning is an agreement by a government body with a private landowner to rezone property for consideration. In this case eight acres including lowland and wetland at the south end of the Riverstone property have been offered in exchange for special zoning and development privileges. As alleged in the complaint, secret negotiations between the County Attorney and Riverstone have replaced the normal zoning processes involving the County’s planning staff, impact studies, public notices, public hearings and so forth.
PLEASE show your support by making a tax deductible donation to CARD, a not-for-profit, 501c3 organization. Through the generosity of an anonymous donor, all donations of $250 or more will be matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000. These funds will be used for attorneys’ fees and other expenses related to the lawsuit. Go to https://www.cardamelia.org/ to donate.
The Sanctuary Property Owners’ Association has also joined as a plaintiff in this action. Anyone interested in learning more about CARD or supporting its efforts can visit the website: CARDAmelia.org.