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NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – A proposal to tear down four homes and make way for townhouses just steps away from historic downtown Fernandina Beach drew dozens of people to a Planning visory Board meeting Wednesday night.
Residents pushed back against the proposal, sharing concerns about how they believe the development would change the character of the neighborhood and community. Others cited concerns over flooding and traffic.
“This is going to ruin my neighborhood, my historic home,” said Fernandina Beach resident Grace Cascone.
Taina Christner lives around the corner from the land in question, which is located between South 3rd and 4th streets.
“Our hope as neighbors is that instead somebody would sell them individually, and we have a lot of people who buy older homes and renovate them and bring them back to their historic glory,” Christner said.
The property is owned by the Tringali family, whose members have been known as pioneers of the modern fishing industry in Fernandina Beach. Among the houses proposed to be demolished is the Tringali family home from the early 1900s.
Ron Flick, a spokesperson for the family, said the proposal has been carefully thought out.
″We’re trying to create a residential feel that still has dormer gables, front porch” Flick said.
Kelly Gibson, Fernandina Beach’s planning and conservation director, said the proposed townhouses are in line with the city’s code and comprehensive plan.
“Smaller lot widths are not uncommon within the immediate vicinity of this area,” Gibson said.
The land is bordered by townhomes on one side and single family homes on the other.
In the end, the Board unanimously voted against recommending the project to the city commission, which will make the ultimate decision.
The Board cited concerns in their denial about the proposal not being in compliance with the city’s code and comprehensive plan.