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Fernandina Beach commission votes to demolish Tringali Family homes

Fernandina Beach's Tringali Homes will be demolished and replaced with townhomes in a decision approved by the Fernandina Beach City Commission Tuesday.

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — Fernandina Beach's Tringali Homes will be demolished and replaced with townhomes. This decision was approved by the Fernandina Beach City Commission following a nearly five-hour discussion Tuesday night.  

From wall to wall, Fernandina Beach residents packed city hall to hear about the future of the four homes on Fourth Street, but many left unhappy with the commission's ruling. 

"They just didn't do what the people of our city want," neighbor Merry Coalson said. 

Four homes, owned by the Tringali Family, will be replaced by a twelve-unit townhome development. 

"The motion carries 4-1," Mayor Bradley Bean announced. 

Commissioner Ronald Ross voted against the development, claiming it does not comply with land development code 1.03.05. 

1.03.05 Construction or Demolition of Structures on Combined Lots 

A. In order to maintain open space, visual corridors, neighborhood character, property values and visual attractiveness of residential areas, wherever there may exist a single-family residence, a two-family building or any auxiliary building or structure, including but not limited to, swimming pools, or any other improvement which was heretofore constructed on property containing one or more platted lots or portions thereof (excluding walls or fences), such lots shall thereafter constitute one building site and shall be considered the “lot of record”, and no permit shall be issued for the construction of more than one residence or two-family building on the site. All construction on the building site must comply with all existing zoning and density requirements. 

B. The demolition or removal of any residence or structure, whether voluntary or involuntary, shall not have the effect of changing the establishment of the building site. 

C. Any change from the foregoing provisions for the purpose of establishing building sites, or separation of building sites, shall require approval by Board of Adjustment, at which all interested persons shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard. 

However, majority of the commission voted in favor. 

"The applicant could go build twelve units today, that's what they could go do right now. What they are asking for is a replat and what that will do is equal out the size of the lots and make something that I think fits the character more than having a jumbled mess of multiple things that on top of that don't add any value to the public spaces," Mayor Bradley Bean said. 

The Tringali Family helped develop the shrimping industry in Fernandina Beach. The homes were built in the 1900s but are not a part of the historic district. Neighbors argue with the commission's approval of the development saying the homes should be preserved. 

"By this approval, we'll see townhomes through the town and that is going to destroy the character of our town," Neighbor Julie Ferrera said.

Spokesperson for the Tringali Family and Compass Group Owner Ron Flick argued.

"We are a single-family home the only different is we're attached which makes us a two-hometown home," Ron Flick said. 

Neighbors say they will continue to fight the demolishment of the homes. 

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