PONTE VEDRA, Fla — At this week’s St. Johns County planning and zoning agency meeting, homeowners didn’t pull punches responding to plans laid out for the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club.
“This proposal has so many flaws. It’s plain not right,” one of the homeowners said during public comment.
Plans to expand the resort were first turned in back in January, according to officials at Gate Petroleum, who own the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club property. Misty Skipper, the company’s vice president of external affairs, says it’s the most comprehensive project the resort’s ever proposed.
“We have spent the last four years working on the master plan,” Skipper says.
The plan has gone through a number of public hearings over the past few months. It led to a more than 12-hour meeting for the St. Johns County planning and zoning agency this week. By the end, members still couldn’t agree, giving a recommendation of denial for the overall proposal.
“It’s very difficult to approve the PUD with all these upstanding questions,” says Anthony Peduto, one of the agency’s members.
Here’s what that PUD, or, planned unit development, pitches for the resort:
- A new sports club, with a parking garage
- A renovated surf club
- A new fitness center
- Newly renovated rooms
All of the conceptual drawings for the developments are available online. But there’s still a disconnect between Gate Petroleum and local homeowners concerned about the proposal. Some of those homeowners have even started a movement against the project.
Opponents claim the resort’s application would add these things to its property:
- One million square feet of buildings
- Developments on the golf course
- An “unlimited number” of potential parking garages
Skipper says it’s all misinformation.
“It’s very unfortunate that people are using a misinformation campaign to scare their neighbors,” Skipper says.
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Doug Burnett owns St. Johns Law Group, and he’s representing some of the homeowners taking issue with the PUD. He says the months of work has led to a lack of transparency, creating the disjointed groups of information between Gate Petroleum and local homeowners.
“It’s very challenging because they keep making changes,” Burnett says, “the public has very serious concerns.”
The planning and zoning agency is set to give another recommendation to the project next Thursday. A final vote on the project is expected during a board of county commissioners meeting this November.