Neptune Beach residents voice concern about development in old Kmart shopping center

Neighbors fighting planned beach development

People are voicing concerns about a project that could be headed to Atlantic Boulevard.

The Neptune Beach police chief said the development would impact the area.

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He said the plan to add close to 200 apartments would stretch the department thin and he would need seek approval for the hiring of more officers.

He said there has been an increase in crashes in the city and this plan would only add more traffic issues.

It was standing room only inside the auditorium at Fletcher High School as the community development board heard concerns about plans to develop the old Kmart shopping plaza.

“We are hoping they listen and go, 'These are the guys who pay the taxes, so let’s do what they want,'” neighbor, Lisa Wilder said.

The developer, Tribridge Residential, submitted its fifth revision to their project.

It’s a mixed-use development that includes a hotel, apartment complex, parking garage and shops.

“I’m sure it would be good for the businesses and they would love it, but they don’t live here and have to deal with it like we do,” neighbor, Mike Wylie said.

The board asked people who support the project to stand and about a dozen people stood up.

Judy Hulett was one of them.

“This is no Walmart, this is a wonderful community mixed-use facility,” Hulett said.

People against the project were also asked to stand.

“It’s too dense and too intense for that location and the character of Neptune Beach,” neighbor, Mary Frosio said.

A big concern is the added people and traffic this development would bring.

The developer said it would only add a 3 percent increase in population density and traffic wouldn’t be an issue.

“What are you going to put in there that isn’t going to cause traffic? At least they have a parking garage,” Hulett said.

The Community Development Board denied the developer's application for special exception 6-0.

But the applicant can also pull the project and resubmit changes.