ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The St John’s County Board of County Commissioners have voted against a proposed industrial park development along County Road 214 near I-95.
During a public hearing held Tuesday morning, commissioners heard from over a dozen residents who were against the proposal and also the attorneys representing the land owner.
A local doctor – Roy Hinman – owns the land and is behind the project. It would be named after him: the Colonel Hinman Intermodal Exchange Facility, or CHIEF for short. He and his team are asking St. Johns County to rezone 200+ acres along County Road 214 from residential to light industrial.
Residents against the proposed development argued the industrial park would create a traffic nightmare and bring more semi-trucks onto the two-lane roads in their community. Neighbors also noted the current area is filled with residential homes and the industrial park would not match the landscape.
James Whitehouse, an attorney representing Hinman and the project, argued that the industrial park would bring jobs and economic growth to the area.
Whitehouse said bringing more industrial parks to the county would diverse the economy and help St John’s County grow. Addressing the concerns about traffic, he argued that the impact on traffic would be similar to building residential homes on the land, which would in turn also bring more traffic into the area.
After hearing arguments, commissioners agreed that the county would benefit from more industrial parks, and were on board with the idea of building such a project, but a majority of commissioners expressed their concern with the location and the impact on the homes already in the area.
Ultimately in a unanimous vote the commissioners decided against the request to re-zone the land from residential to light industrial use.