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Thursday April 24th 2014

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Backyard Biomimicry Workshop a Benefit to the Region

Safety becomes focus
 Flagler, 7-Eleven projects head to commission

Safety – traffic congestion at the site of a proposed 7-Eleven convenience store and gas pumps at San Marco and May Street and students crossing Cordova Street to and from a proposed 400-student classroom complex at Cuna and Cordova streets – are major arguments as a National Historic District neighborhood in North City and a Historic Preservation District neighborhood downtown wage battles against proposed projects in each area.

The Nelmar Terrace neighborhood anticipates filing an appeal to the City Commission of Planning and Zoning Board (PZB) approval on the 7-Eleven plan, while Flagler College President Bill Abare has requested a September 24 appearance before the commission on a contentious classroom plan which was approved by the city’s Historic Architectural Review Board but denied by the planning board.

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Biomimicry:
nature’s lessons

   Nature’s been at it for 3.8 billion years. Evidence in our region is mangroves managing desalination, fewer trees toppled during storms than homes or buildings, and lessons from such as dolphins, philodendrons, and termites.

   The St. Augustine Biomimicry Workshop Sept. 27-29 at The Coastal Policy Center across from Marineland will explore how Nature’s lessons apply to our businesses and daily life.

   Look for how to blend into the landscape, from geckos; rebounding from fire, from sabal palms; filtering water, from wetlands.  Biometric researchers maintain there are valuable lessons in nature for such as marine manufacture, fishing, construction, even managing seasonal influx of snowbirds.

  Biomimicry. Mimicking nature. Not a bad teacher. Visit www.ethicalmarkets.com/BYB

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Neighborhoods force review of projects 

     7-Eleven

“There are lots of reasons to oppose this 7-Eleven,” Nelmar Terrace Neighborhood Association’s Skip Hutton says. “One is the public safety issue of a dangerously congested intersection becoming more congested and more dangerous, resulting in more accidents and more injuries.

“I wish our City was concerned about people’s safety and I wish 7-Eleven was too.”

With zoning already in place for the project, PZB was asked only to approve removal of protected trees. Opponents hope to use the tree appeal to argue greater concerns before the commission. The neighbors are consulting with attorneys; they have 30 days to appeal the July 3 decision. An opposition petition is also circulating.

 

Flagler College

Flagler’s Abare, in a letter to Planning and Building Director Mark Knight, asked for “additional time to address some of the concerns expressed by members of the Planning and Zoning Board at its meeting on July 3.”

PZB members John Valdes and Jerry Dixon led arguments for denial of the Flagler Planned Unit Development (PUD) in a 4-3 vote. Valdes, finding a reason to reverse an earlier approval vote, noted he hadn’t considered the safety of students crossing Cordova Street to and from the proposed 400-student facility. But his real concern was “allowing PUDs to weaken one of the city’s best ideas, Historic Preservation Districts.”

Dixon argued, “PUDs are not intended for new construction,” nor classrooms for historic preservation districts.

Flagler could gamble on the commission overriding its lower board, modify its plan to be more acceptable, or offer the alternative of building without the PUD, which would eliminate 1-story connections between three classroom buildings, two of them 2-story.

Porch session for street project

Valencia Street residents will be gathering on the front porch of Dental Concepts tomorrow at 5:30 pm to discuss with public works officials plans to install new utilities under their street between Malaga to Riberia Street.

It’s a continuation of work recently completed on the Riberia-Cordova section, but a bit trickier, lifting and replacing bricks on one of the city’s best-preserved brick streets.

City Public Works Engineer Marcus Pinson estimates a 3-month project to install a new 6-inch PVC water main and new sanitary services, with rehabilitation of the roadway and sidewalks. Marcus is at 825-1040.

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