City Subcommittee Meets on Hazardous Materials Issue

Fernandina Beach's Planning Advisory Board Subcommittee to meet Tuesday regarding hazardous materials transportation within city.

City Subcommittee Meets on Hazardous Materials IssueAt the December 10th Planning Advisory Board (PAB) meeting, the PAB unanimously voted to form a subcommittee on the text amendment application heard at that meeting. The text amendment, submitted by two citizens, requests that certain types of industrial facilities and associated hazardous materials be prohibited in zoning districts within the City.

All PAB members indicated an interest in taking part in the subsequent meetings, as did Rayonier, RockTenn, Kinder Morgan, and the Chamber of Commerce.

The subcommittee meetings will evaluate different aspects of the request including public safety, quality of life, legal issues, and general information about the proposed changes.

The PAB announced a date in early January at the 12/10 meeting, but please note the following change: the first meeting of the PAB subcommittee will be on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 3:30pm at City Hall, 204 Ash Street. The public is invited and welcome to attend.

A draft of the December 10, 2014 meeting’s minutes, found on the city website:, can be found below:

Planning Advisory Board Minutes
Regular Meeting
December 10,2014

1. Call to Order-The meeting was called to order at 5:00 pm.
2. Roll Call/Determination of Quorum
Board Members Present
Len Kreger, Chair Judith Lane,Vice-Chair
David Beal Mark Bennett
Jon Lasserre Charles Rogers

Others Present
Kelly Gibson, Senior Planner
Tammi Bach, City Attorney
Bretta Walker,Recording Secretary

3. Approval of Meeting Minutes
3.1. Review Minutes from November 12, 2014 Regular Meeting and November 17, 2014 Special
Meeting — A motion was made by Member Bennett, seconded by Member Lane, to accept the November 17th meeting minutes as written. Vote upon passage of the motion was taken by ayes and nays and being all ayes,carried.
The November 12th Regular Meeting minutes were approved under Board Business.

4. Old Business
4.1. PAB 2014-17 LDC Text Amendments Chapters 4, 1, and 11 (Minor Revisions and Changes to Landscape and Tree Protection) – Please also review Ms. Gibson explained it was requested that staff bring back text amendments to the landscape and tree protection sections, which were reviewed in October. She stated that they were still working through the drawings and calculations to determine if there are any detrimental impacts to commercial properties. She recommended tabling this to the January 2015 meeting. A motion was made by Member Bennett, seconded by Member Lasserre,to table PAB 2014-17 to the January meeting.Vote upon passage of the motion was taken by ayes and nays and being all ayes,carried.

5. New Business
5.1. 2014-21 LDC Amendments to Section 1.07.00 (Definitions) and Section 2.03.02 (Table of Land Uses)Regulating Hazardous Materials and Cruise Terminal Limitation
Ms. Gibson reported that the staff report and all application materials were made available on the City’s website as well as the City Clerk’s Office and Community Development Department. She stated the request is to regulate potentially hazardous uses within all zoning districts and it is a Land Development Code (LDC) text amendment that would add definitions to Chapter 1 and restrict uses as provided for in the table of land uses. She reviewed the summary of the request and her analysis of the request as outlined in the staff report. She pointed out the City’s regulatory structure is not set up in a manner to handle this type of review, and explained she was also concerned with the creation of non-conforming situations that may result through the amendments requested. She stated the amendments requested raise a broader public policy question than should be addressed by staff. She placed the decision making in the board’s hands as the Planning Advisory Board and reminded the board that she pointed to the challenges and the consistency in the staff report.

Mr. Chip Ross, 210 North 3rd Street, explained the idea behind the amendments was to propose some simple zoning amendments that would prevent certain land uses that seem inappropriate in the City. He commented the use of industrial property in the City affects many different people in many different ways. He suggested having a mechanism where the entire community could have a forum to review these amendments and any other proposed amendments to develop a community vision for the industrial zoned districts in the City. He referred to section 4.32 of the Ocean Highway and Port Authority Master Plan and pointed out it proposed a pilot study to look at bringing in fruits and vegetables. He stated the report said the Port would need a fumigating facility for bananas, but fumigating facilities are probably not necessary in the United States because bananas are fumigated before they get here. He commented having a banana fumigation facility next to a residential neighborhood seemed inappropriate. He provided further comments from his presentation expressing concern about fertilizer being brought in, and pointed out many of the new industries proposed are highly automated and they require less employees.

He also provided comments against coal, having a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, and compressed natural gas (CNG), which were supported with information and pictures from his PowerPoint presentation. He explained the OHPA had a proposal for a cruise ship, and commented when a cruise ship has 5,000 people descending off the ship it fundamentally changes the character of the area. He stated it is a question of whether the community wants to have this kind of activity going on or not.

He also expressed his concern about refined fuels and briefly explained the definition of nonconforming use. He stated if you change the use of the land it becomes a nonconforming use and it is allowed to go on in perpetuity, but it is difficult to expand it and if you stop the nonconforming use for 180 days it will disappear. He read from the OHPA plan under Development Authority that they have the ability to acquire, construct, or equip an oil refinery.

He stated he didn’t think that would happen here, but there are two large tracts of land that are industrially zoned. He recapped what is allowed under the LDC based on the zoning and the permissible uses that are allowed for that zoning. He pointed out the industrial zoning areas (approximately 500 acres) shown on the City’s Future Land Use Map, and briefly talked about allowable uses and interpretations within the zoning code. He referred to the land use table and commented about the permissible land uses.

He suggested the land use table be changed by inserting the following new uses:
banana fumigation facilities
cruise ship line facilities
petroleum refining, and
petroleum distribution

He expressed his opinion these uses should not be in the City except for the non-conforming uses. He also briefly presented his proposed changes to the accessory use table as shown on page 75 of his presentation. He noted that most of the time there is low risk and the chances of something going bad are very small,but when something goes bad it goes bad in a big way. He presented a series of pictures to illustrate this (railroad cars that caught fire, a petroleum facility on fire, a container ship on fire, and containers that fell over on a ship). He requested the PAB consider the land use amendments and perhaps initiate a working group to develop a community vision for the industrial waterfront uses and the industrial uses in the City.

Chair Kreger commented the request to form a subcommittee makes sense, because this is a very complex situation that involves the entire City. He inquired if the board concurred that this would be appropriate. Mr. Ross requested that the industrial land owners be part of that committee, because they have a stake in this. Member Lane commented a number of people have asked the City Commission what the vision is for the City, and pointed out the City Commission would have to take on the idea of what the vision is for the City. Member Beal suggested hearing from the public before any motion is made.

The public hearing was opened at this time.

Mr. Mike Mullin with Rogers Towers on behalf of Rayonier, concurred if you are going to have a subcommittee to have representation from both mills. He pointed out the original proposal presented directly adversely affects both mills. He commented that he looked forward to participating in a subcommittee so that all interests and rights are protected. There was a brief discussion about what would happen if this were to go to subcommittee noting that it would have to come back before the PAB and then a recommendation made to the City Commission.

Mr. Mike Zaffaroni, on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, read into the record that they request the PAB carefully consider the full range of impact on RockTenn, Rayonier Advance Materials, and the economic stability of the community by including drastic and limiting language to the LDC relating to definitions of various types of heavy industrial uses. He stated the Chamber of Commerce recognizes that by significantly restricting handling and storage of certain materials the City of Fernandina Beach will inadvertently limit current and future expansion opportunities of present and prospective business. He continued to read the prepared statement into the record expressing their concern of the negative impact to the community and Nassau County. He pointed out the Chamber felt that further consideration would be appropriate.

Mr. Phil Scanlon, 1832 Village Court,presented a handout to the board and noted that there is a fear that the Port plan would be implemented as stated. He commented there doesn’t appear to be anybody at the State level that is interested in trying to look at, review, or analyze this. He stated the Port has been around a long time and has created jobs,but the Port revenues have dropped significantly. He pointed out that mega ports are about to happen in Jacksonville and Georgia. There was a brief discussion about focusing on the proposed code changes.

Mr. Russell Schweizer, Director of Corporate Communications for Rayonier Advance Materials, supported the idea of a subcommittee and requested representation on that subcommittee. He commented that if the board were going to take action on the proposed amendment to table it so that they could review the revised proposal.

Mr. Tom Keenan, Rock Tenn, expressed his support of the idea of having a subcommittee. He commented that even with the revised uses table that was presented they still have serious concerns.

Mr. Val Schwec, 1785 Hammock Drive, representing Kinder Morgan, stated they support the mills and commented we have to be careful with how these issues are dealt with. He expressed support of the committee approach so that all the facts and circumstances can get out. He commented there are many things in the Port Master Plan that Kinder Morgan would not necessarily do.

Ms. Laura Dubella, Executive Director for the Nassau County Economic Development Board (NCEDB), concurred with what Mr. Zaffaroni said with regard to the impact on business and the economic implications at large. She expressed support of a subcommittee and requested to participate in the subcommittee due to their vested interest in the economic implications involved.

Ms. Mary Anne Sharer, 808 Stanley Drive, commented she is very close to both the Port and Rock Tenn. She explained this is a wonderful community and we have a lot of things here. She agreed with Mr. Scanlon that it was the Port Master Plan that has scared everybody. She also agreed with Mr. Ross that there are things that need to be handled in a way that we all can agree with. She stated we don’t want to jeopardize the investment of people who have come here.

Ms. Faith Ross, 210 North 3rd Street, stated there are statistics out there that are worrisome including 3% of the landmass in Nassau County lies within the City and we produce 50-60% of the tax revenue for Nassau County. She explained she loves the idea that we are a diverse community with a working part of the City and those that manage not to work. She noted there has to be a balance to not only provide a place to live for people, but also financial security for a city in Nassau County through tax revenue.

Mr. Guy Petty, Stanley Drive, commented he was encouraged to hear this would be solved by committee. He expressed his hope that the committee includes the variety of people that we have here. He stated it is important to keep all the parties at the table.

Ms. Julie Ferreira, 501 Date Street, explained the beauty of Fernandina is that it balances a working community with the quality of life for all the residents. She expressed her opinion this is a turning point for Fernandina, and we need to look at the impact we are making on our local environment. She welcomed this as a discussion. She commented with LNG if there ever is a fire by using water on that fire only makes it flare more. She questioned if our local infrastructure could actually handle a disaster or mistake. She pointed out this is a chance for the City to have a really big discussion about lot of issues.

The public hearing was closed at this time.

Member Bennett inquired if the City has a list of all the hazardous materials in the City. Ms. Gibson replied no. Chair Kreger pointed out every organization including the City has to have a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) on file that lists what it has. Member Bennett questioned if the City has the equipment to handle an incident and does the Fire Marshal do inspections of hazardous materials. Ms. Gibson replied it is up to the individual business or entity to develop a disaster plan for that particular hazardous material. There was a brief discussion about disaster plans and the involvement of the Fire Department.

The board members discussed the idea of a subcommittee to include representatives from RockTenn, Rayonier Advance Materials, the Port, the NCEDB, the Chamber of Commerce, the Planning Advisory Board, City staff, and the Fire Department. It was noted that any recommendations would be brought before the City Commission. A motion was made by Member Lasserre, seconded by Member Bennett, to appoint a subcommittee to address the issues raised in the Land Development Code text amendment PAB 2014-21 that shall consists of stakeholders who’ve offered to join as well as the PAB, City staff, the Nassau County Economic Development Board, the Chamber of Commerce, and any other entities interested.

Ms. Gibson clarified the subcommittee was being formed to review the code amendments that have been presented not for a larger overall vision exercise and not to consider economic development of industrially zoned properties. Vote upon passage of the motion was taken by ayes and nays and being all ayes,carried.

There was some discussion about when to hold the first subcommittee meeting. The first meeting would be January 7th at 3:00 pm for an organizational meeting on how to proceed.

The board took a brief recess at this time.

It was noted there was a conflict with the proposed first meeting date, and after a brief discussion the consensus was to have the first meeting on January 13th at 3:30 pm for an organizational meeting on how to proceed.

Member Bennett commented he would like to know what materials are currently onsite and what quantity. Chair Kreger pointed out it was law for them to have the MSDS for the materials they have. Member Bennett explained when he was doing research he found that some government entities have chosen to prohibit certain hazardous materials or quantities over a certain amounts. He stated this allows businesses to operate while at the same time manage any kind of disaster should it occur. There was some discussion about this noting that the City has to protect the safety of the community.

6.1 Update to Comprehensive Plan Relationship Graphic — Ms. Gibson briefly explained she created the graphic in graduate school and it was a convenient way to illustrate the Comprehensive Plan. She pointed out it is important that people understand the relationship with the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code and how people play a role in the creation of those documents. She presented a revised/updated graphic for the board to review. Member Lane pointed out the first version didn’t have a feedback loop and with the revision they tried to add some back and forth to show that it doesn’t just sit there. After a brief discussion, Chair Kreger suggested having a joint meeting with the City Commission. The board had some discussion about the idea of having a joint meeting, and the consensus was to have a joint meeting with the City Commission and the Planning Advisory Board.

A motion was made by Member Lasserre, seconded by Member Rogers, to approve the November 12th Regular Meeting minutes. Vote upon passage of the motion was taken by ayes and nays and being all ayes, carried.

7. Staff Report—Ms. Gibson reported there would be a meeting in January for an applicant driven amendment and staff would be presenting changes for consideration dealing with wetland regulations. Member Lane inquired about trees and landscaping. Ms. Gibson stated her hope was to get that back to the board in January.

8. Comments by the public—There were no comments by the public at this time.

9. Adjournment-There being no further business to come before the Planning Advisory Board, the meeting was adjourned 6:46 pm.

Bretta Walker, Secretary Len Kreger, Chair

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Leave a Comment