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Proposed apartments concern neighbors, including St. Johns River State College

The project plans for 238 town homes and apartments on 19 acres of what is now woods. Would it bring too much traffic to already busy roads?

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla — A proposed apartment complex in St. Augustine has some neighbors raising their eyebrows.

And that includes the leaders of a state college.

Timothy Johnson and his wife have lived in the Mission Trace neighborhood in St. Augustine for 14 years. Now a proposed apartment complex has them concerned because it would be "just across the street. It’s right there," he said.

A developer wants to build apartments on the property on Kenton Morrison Drive, near the intersection with State Road 16 by a Publix shopping center.

The project plans for 238 town homes and apartments on 19 acres of what is now woods.

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Johnson said, "The road here is already congested. It’s a safety issue, really."

The land is zoned commercial right now. And the request would require rezoning the property to residential.

The developer’s attorney told county leaders Thursday "This is not urban sprawl It’s infill. It complements the residential and commercial elements in the existing area. It provides diversified housing options for workers and families."

The developer’s attorney predicts the apartments would create less added traffic than if the land were to be a commercial development.

Others aren’t so sure.

The St. Johns River State College St. Augustine campus shares a boundary line with the wooded area. Its leaders are also concerned about the number of people and cars that apartments could bring.

Joe Pickens, President of St. Johns River State College, told First Coast News there were several conversations between the school and the property owner about the college buying the land. However, they never settled on a price.  

Meanwhile, Johnson and many of his neighbors say know the land will be developed, but they say they want it developed safely. 

"I think the county would want to look at some kind of low-density or commercial development whereby there aren’t the numbers of people there and there aren’t the number of (car) trips," Johnson said. 

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