Hearing over development on former conservation land in Amelia Island begins

Neighbors against proposed development in Amelia Island

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — There are countless reasons Rhette Angus enjoys life on Amelia Island.

Monday, she told Action News Jax, “The activities you can do: biking, walking, running, beach, hiking, tennis, golf.”

Angus said developers are encroaching on some of the island’s beauty.

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“We’re just losing so much of the natural environment,” the homeowner said.

Angus said a project across the street from her home is a perfect example.

Infrastructure and signs for Amelia Bluff are already in place.

Construction of the 30-unit, 6.4 acre housing development is at a standstill.

“The developer has started it and unfortunately, part of the land is conservation land. So, it never should have been built on,” Angus said.

Action News Jax’s Beth Rousseau talked to the project’s manager in March.

He said the land, which backs up on Egans Creek greenway, has flipped flopped between residential and conservation designations for years.

He described it as a mapping error.

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In April city commissioners passed an amendment to allow building on the site.

Monday, a judge started hearing arguments over the land to decide how to move forward.

According to Angus neighbors are pushing to protect the island’s unique environment.

“You can’t get it back. You can’t grow a new maritime forest. It takes hundreds and hundreds of years,” she said.

Two hours of public comment was scheduled begining at 7 p.m. Monday night.

The hearing is expected to take three days.