An application to build up to 336 multi-family units off Lewis Speedway received the recommendation of the St. Augustine Planning and Zoning Board Tuesday.
One reason PZB members voted in favor of the rezoning of Flagler Crossing from Planned Unit Development to Residential Low-One was to provide an incentive for developers to sell the units at so-called “workforce housing” rates.
With the rezoning moving forward, a new owner -- Andy Allen of Jacksonville-based Corner Lot Development — is expected to close on the property within 60 days.
In an interview with The Record following the meeting, Allen said he anticipated none of the multi-family units would be more than $250,000.
“We’re excited to move forward,” Allen said. “We should be breaking ground soon and have a product by the end of this year.”
PZB chair Karen Zander said she supported the project because it will allow for moderately priced homes in an area where it was appropriate.
“And you just will not get that without allowing some kind of density, and you will not get it in the historic district,” Zander said.
The rezoning was approved 4-2 with PZB member Mike Davis absent. Board members Jon DePreter and Sarah Ryan voted against it. It will next go to a review by the City Commission.
The application for the development was filed by Paul Harden on behalf of property owner West San Sebastian LLC, which is based in Dallas.
The property is located in a marsh-heavy area near the St. Johns County governmental complex on San Sebastian View and near the State Road 16 bridge.
The site encompasses approximately 134 acres, 81 set aside for wetlands preservation under conservation easements, 12.6 of existing ponds, which leaves about 42 acres of developable land.
At its January meeting, the PZB expressed concern if the conservation easements promised by the applicant were indicated on a survey map showing their location and approval by the St. Johns River Water Management District.
The property’s existing zoning had been for PUD, which permitted only single-family units.
The applicant sought a change to Residential Low Density, which allows a maximum of eight residential units per acre, with a maximum of 336 units. The requested rezoning is consistent with other uses in the area.
The history of the project dates back more than a decade. In 2008, it was approved as a project with 248 townhomes on 73 acres of the parcel. A Coral Gables developer changed it to 107 single-family homes in 2013.
In 2014, West San Sebastian LLC was purchased from FDG Flager Crossing LLC for $2.6 million, according to county records.