Buc-ee’s Info from Neighbors

Email From 9/8/19  Buc-ee’s Update

Submitted by:Lance Williams   273 Pinehurst Pointe Drive, St. Augustine, Florida
786-409-8792  Lance@uselink.org

Dear Neighbors,

First of all, I hope everyone made it through Dorian ok and that you and your families are safe and sound.  I had planned on sending out this email earlier but I knew that we all needed to concentrate on making our storm preparations.

I recently received a number of emails from World Golf Village residents who are concerned about the proposed Buc-ee’s at the intersection of I 95 and International Golf Parkway and who asked to be included on my distribution list.  To those who are new to the list, I appreciate your concern and support.  To those with whom I have corresponded in the past, I should explain why I haven’t sent out any Buc-ee’s updates in a while.  The reasons are several fold.

Background

First of all, the Commissioners, the County Attorney, and the Zoning Board have all stated that there is nothing they can do or will do and that Buc-ee’s has every right to build a gas station on this site so long as what they build is compliant with the PUD and DRI (the documents that govern construction projects for the World Commerce Center).  The County Planning Department stated “The application will not require a review process by the Planning and Zoning Agency or the Board of County Commissioners unless the applicant requests variances not approved by current zoning.”  To date, Buc-ee’s has not asked for such accommodations but the project is far from over. They have a history of asking for these at their other sites.

The County has further stated that if they (the County) opposed the Buc-ee’s construction that the County would be sued and would lose the case.

Despite the assertions of the county officials that Buc-ee’s complies with the PUD, consider the following excerpt from the PUD “Vision Statement” which supposedly describes how this area is to be developed:

•       A strong sense of environmental stewardship

•       Safeguards neighborhoods from incompatible development

•       Where parks, open space, pedestrian walkways and bikeways link the entire community

•       Where industrial, residential and commercial uses are carefully buffered from each other

•       Improving the overall quality of life

I hardly think that any rational person could see Buc-ee’s as being compliant with this “Vision Statement.”

I and many others have addressed the Commissioners and Zoning Board at every one of their meetings for the better part of a year with carefully prepared and detailed presentations pointing out the negative impact on our community, and the traffic and safety hazards to ourselves, our families, and our children.

But rather than showing concern, we were met with the “What do you want us to do about It ?” reaction.  Meaning, since no variances have been requested, they have nothing on which to vote.  Doing nothing is not acceptable.  I was even met with comments like “It’s better to have one big gas station rather than 5 or 6 smaller ones.” and “While we respect the right of residents to express their opinion, we think that the media has covered this matter well.”  Meaning: yeah, yeah, we’ve heard all this before and don’t need to hear it again; we can get what we need from television and don’t need the opinions of residents.

Modifications To I 95 and International Golf Parkway

Faced with these reactions and the fact that until now little further action had been undertaken by Buc-ee’s, I felt it was not productive to further address our county officials.  However, this has changed now that the public has been informed of the massive changes that will need to be made to International Golf Parkway and the entrance and exit ramps to I 95 all to accommodate Buc-ee’s – a facility residents neither need nor want.  See the attached supplied by realtor Ron Savarese.

Like you and many others, it seems like the tail is wagging the dog when an enormous accommodation is being made for such an unwanted eye sore that will create significant traffic and safety hazards only to serve the passers by on I 95 and not the residents of our community.

So, I’ve come to the conclusion that only a massive protest from residents will cause our government to take notice.

What can you do ?

  1. Feel free to pass this email along to other concerned residents.  Talk to your neighbors and ask them to email me requesting to be on our email distribution.
  2. Hundreds of eyes are better than just two – I monitor the County Government Website and have Google alerts set to pick up news on Buc-ee’s which I get daily.  That said, having us all stay vigilant is important.  Please let me know if you hear anything that we all should know and act upon. 
  3. Write Arch Aplin, Don Wasek, (Buc-ee’s Co-Owners), and Jeff Nadalo (Buc-ee’s General Counsel) – Address: Buc-ee’s – 327 FM 2004 Lake Jackson, Texas 77566
  4. Write your local government officials:

Write your state and Federal officials:

Suggested Talking points:

·         Congestion – Public Safety – The I 95 / International Golf Parkway intersection, entrances, and exits are already at 97% capacity.  It’s one of the four most dangerous in St. Johns County with crashes resulting if serious injuries, death, and some sadly involving school buses and our children.  Adding thousands of additional cars per day entering and exiting the interstate will only cause additional hazards.

·         Eyesore not in keeping with the WGV environment – The mere presence of a 104 pump gas station along with bill boards lining I 95 with disgusting slogans will have a negative impact on the community.

·         Property Values – As a result of more congestion and safety concerns, a facility such as Buc-ee’s could significantly harm property values.

·         Harm to local businesses – Buc-ee’s is likely to draw business from local restaurants, retailers, and small businesses in general.

·         Does not benefit our community – Other Buc-ee’s facilities get 95% of their business from the interstate and not from the surrounding community.  This facility is meant to service passers-by and not the residents.  There are already 24 gas stations within a 6.9 mile radius of World Golf Village.

·         Tax Revenues are insignificant – The tax revenues that Buc-ee’s could generate as a ratio to the County budget amounts to a tiny fraction so it is by no means an economic boom.

·         Jobs We Don’t Need – Buc-ee’s could generate up to 200 new jobs for the County. But, consider this.  These are only “McDonald level jobs.”  They pay well below the median family income for the county. Moreover, St. Johns County has an unemployment rate of under 3.0 % which is the lowest in the state. Adding Buc-ee’s type jobs is of no benefit to tax paying residents.

  1. Sign the petition  

The following petition is posted on Change.org.  Here’s the link http://chng.it/4z8HJ9bH .  Here’s the text of the petition.

Buc-ee’s (a Texas based company) is invading World Golf Village by proposing to build a 104 pump gas station with a 53,254 square foot convenience store (bigger than Publix) – or as Buc-ee’s calls it “a travel center.”  The proposed site at the intersection of International Golf Parkway and I 95 is surrounded by residential communities of young families with children as well as retirees.  Such a facility is intended to serve those traveling on I 95 through sales of gas, beer, cigarettes, and trinkets – not to serve the needs of the community.  The impact of thousands of additional cars, trucks, and RV’s per day would cause major traffic and safety problems on International Golf Parkway which is already at 97% capacity and at an intersection already recognized as one of the four most dangerous in the county.  To date, our County Commissioners, County Attorney, and Zoning Board have refused to take any action to oppose Buc-ee’s.  This is why we need your support to convince our county officials that this is not the place to put such a facility and to take action now.  Say NO to Buc-ee’s by signing this petition.

  1. Commissioners and Zoning Meetings

While it is important that residents be heard at Commissioners and Zoning Board Meetings, we need to choose our time and message.  As I pointed out above, when I and others presented our thoughts at these meetings, it seemed to fall on deaf ears. I monitor the agendas to see if any Buc-ee’s related agenda items are scheduled for discussion or vote and encourage each of you to do the same.  Here is the link to the St. Johns County Board of Commissioners Agendas: https://stjohnsclerk.com/records/board-records/agendas/ .  If Buc-ee’s appears on any agenda, then it will be time to show up in numbers.  In the meantime, I feel a writing campaign is our best option.

 

Commissioners and Zoning meetings are open to the public and each starts with a “public comment” session.  Any resident may sign in and speak for three minutes.

The Commissioners meet every first and third Tuesday of the month at 9:00am at the St. Johns County Auditorium located at 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine, FL. This meeting is open to the public and there is a public comment session wherein concerns can be brought before the Commissioners.

The Zoning Board meets every first and third Thursday of the month at 1:30pm at the St. Johns County Auditorium located at 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine, FL.  Similar to the Commissioners Meeting, this meeting is open to the public and there is a public comment session wherein concerns can be brought before the Zoning Board.

  1. Donate Your Expertise

Although I have done a lot of research into Buc-ee’s and government regulations, I am not an expert in these matters.  That’s why I’m reaching out to you for help.  We need people with the following expertise and are willing to donate their time.

·         Legal and engineering especially in building construction, highway / road construction, land usage

·         Environmental / Conservationist

·         Those with political connections

·         Website – If we get a lot of support at some point we’ll need a website as an important tool to get our message out and rally support

·         Anyone with public relations or media experience

Email me if you wish to volunteer.

I hope this information is helpful.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions and thank you for your support.

Update from Lance 6/16/18

Dear Concerned Residents,

Other than a minor modification to the Master Development Plan (MDP) in April this year, Buc-ee’s has not taken any other steps in their plans to build their facility at the intersection of I 95 and International Golf Parkway. A number of us have attended virtually every Commissioners and Zoning Board Meeting this year strongly making our case that Buc-ee’s does not belong here and it presents a significant danger to our community, families, and children. Thank you to all who have attended and have spoken. Despite these efforts, we have been repeatedly reminded by the Commissioners and Zoning Board that there is nothing before their respective bodies on which they can vote. Further, I have observed that the media only provides coverage when there is a change in the status of the Buc-ee’s project.

Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that continuing to speak at these meetings will not yield incremental value until Buc-ee’s takes the next step. We also run the risk of wearing out our welcome. I think we have already made all the points to be made so far.

That being said, I am speaking for myself. This does not mean that you can’t continue to attend these meetings and express your opinions if you so choose. As a reminder, Commissioners Meetings are held every 1st and 3d Tuesday of the month at 9:00am and Zoning Board Meetings every 1st and 3d Thursday of the month at 1:30pm. Both are held in the St. Johns County Auditorium located at 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine, Florida. It appears that the June 21, 2018 Zoning Board Meeting has been cancelled. Check the St. Johns County Website http://www.co.st-johns.fl.us before you go to be sure that the meeting has not been re-scheduled and to view the agenda.

There is no way of knowing when Buc-ee’s next step will be but is likely to be one of the following:

  • Buc-ee’s filing a construction plan (which is the detailed plan)
  • Asking for variance(s) to the P.U.D.
  • Or asking for economic concessions

Any of these will give us an opportunity to refresh our efforts and confront their requests with renewed vigor.

In the meantime, I will monitor the situation through the following means:

Shannon Acevedo (the county planner in charge of reviewing the Buc-ee’s project) has done a really good job of keeping me and a number of other residents informed. She maintains a list of us and sends out emails with any changes Buc-ee’s makes.

Secondly, there is an update section on the county website.

Thirdly, the county maintains the following Development Tracker:

http://sjcfl.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=d80c732d64d14913b39df833f1d834a3

In addition, I will monitor the Commissioners and Zoning Board meeting agendas. Should there be a relevant issue scheduled for presentation or discussion, I will let you know.

I also read all the related postings on NextDoor.com. You’d be surprised at what some people post but sometimes there is useful information.

Lastly, I have a Google Alert set up for Buc-ee’s that picks up items in the media.

I feel pretty confident that with all of these, I can stay up to date and will continue to keep everyone posted. I encourage you all to follow these sources as well.

Best Regards,

Lance Williams

Update from Lance 6/2/18

Fellow Residents,

This is a friendly reminder that there are two important meetings coming up.

  • The next Commissioners Meeting is Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at 9:00am. We continue to have great turn outs with a number of our fellow residents voicing their opposition to Buc-ee’s. Thank you to all who attended and spoke. However, we need to keep this up so please join us at the June 5th meeting. The details are below:
  • The St. Johns County Board of County Commission Meetings are held the first and third Tuesdays each month commencing at 9:00 am in the St. Johns County Auditorium located at 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine, FL.
  • A public comments session is a standing agenda item at the beginning of each meeting whereby residents are afforded 3 minutes to address the Commissioners and express their opinions on relevant issues. Several of us will be speaking. Whether or not you choose to speak, your attendance showing your opposition to Buc-ee’s is valuable. Buc-ee’s is not a done deal. We are being heard and making progress. The more of us who attend, the more the County will have to listen.
  • I and other concerned citizens will be at the entrance of the County Auditorium to direct you to the meeting location and answer any questions.
  • The next Zoning Board meeting is Thursday, June 7, 2018. This Board is appointed by the Commissioners and will review and vote on any variances that Buc-ee’s requests before they are presented to the Commissioners. As such, it’s just as important that we make our case to them.
  • The Zoning Board meets every first and third Thursday of the month at 1:30pm at the St. Johns County Auditorium located at 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine, FL.
  • Similar to the Commissioners Meeting, this meeting is open to the public and there is a public comment session wherein concerns can be brought before the Zoning Board. I encourage all concerned residents to attend this meeting as well to show your opposition to Buc-ee’s.

All the best,

Lance Williams
273 Pinehurst Pointe Drive
St. Augustine
Lance@uselink.org
786-409-8792

 

Update 5/8/18:

Dear Residents,

You may have recently heard that Buc-ee’s has modified their Master Development Plan reducing the number of pumps from 120 to 104, reducing the number of parking spaces from 417 to 392, and moving the convenience store site slightly further away from World Commerce Parkway.  Please see the email below from Shannon Acevedo (County Planner). The revised map as well as the previous ones are attached for your review and comparison.     [ Please email Lance at buckeesyesno@gmail.com if you would like these copies ]

This by no means should alter our opposition to Buc-ee’s.  They may be making these minor changes to appear that they are trying to be more compatible with the area.  However, it’s like saying a 90 mega ton bomb is safer than a 100 mega ton bomb. Them caving a little doesn’t do it for me.

It does mean that they are moving ahead so it is more important than ever that we band together and make our voices heard.  The next Commissioners Meeting is at 9:00am May 15 and the next Zoning Board Meeting is at 1:30pm May 17.  Both are held at the St. Johns County Auditorium located at 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine, FL.

Remember, doing nothing is the best way for Buc-ee’s to win and all of us to lose.

Show up. Join me !

Lance Williams  273 Pinehurst Pointe Drive  St. Augustine, Florida.

[Note from CC — I am unable to post these docs but you can email me and I can forward you the email ]

Good afternoon,

You are receiving this email, because you have shown interest in keeping up to date with the Buc-ees project within the World Commerce Center. Please note that we have received a Small Adjustment application to make some edits to the Master Development Plan (MDP) map which was recorded on 12/1/2017. Small Adjustment applications are handled similarly to Master Development Plan applications as they do not request any variances from the St Johns County Land Development Code or waivers from the approved World Commerce Center PUD ordinance. Any proposed change to an MDP Map can only be processed as a Small Adjustment if it meets the eligibility criteria of the Land Development Code as Small Adjustments do not require a public hearing.

I have attached the application form and adjusted Master Development Plan map to this email for your information. Please note this is not an approved plan as it is still under staff review.

Thank you,

Shannon Acevedo, AICP

Senior Supervising Planner, St. Johns County Planning and Zoning Division

Update from Lance … Next meeting May 1 … see info below

Fellow Residents,

Buc-ee’sat I 95 andInternational Golf Parkwayis not a done deal. They have notprogressed with their plans since the submission of theirPre-Application onSeptember 20, 2017. But, continuing to keepBuc-ee’s out requiresall of ustopersist invoicing our opposition. You can do so in several ways:

§ Write yourCountyCommissionersand Planning And Zoning Board Members. Their email addresses are below:

§ Commissioners –bcc1jjohns@sjcfl.us; bcc2jsmith@sjcfl.us; bcc3pwaldron@sjcfl.us; bccd4@sjcfl.us; bcc5hdean@sjcfl.us

§ Planning And Zoning Board –Pza1@sjcfl.us;Pza2@sjcfl.us;Pza3@sjcfl.us;Pza4@sjcfl.us;Pza6@sjcfl.us;wainrightpza@gmail.com;

§ Even if you have written them before,do it again and again. Ifwe don’t, they’ll think we have given up. Silence means agreement.

§ Sign the online petition. Here’s the link:https://www.change.org/p/st-johns-county-commissioners-the-world-golf-community-does-not-want-buc-ee-s-convenience-storeOver 2,000have signed the petition but we need more.

§ Pass this email on to all your friends. They can be added tomydistribution listand receive updatesby replying to the email and by simply saying “Add me to your list.”

§ We are being heard and making progress butwemust keep up the pressure byattendingtheCountyCommissionersand Planning and Zoning BoardMeetings. The more of us who attend, the more the County will have to listen.

The next Commissioners and ZoningBoard Meetings are as follows:

• The next Commissioners Meeting isTuesday,May 1, 2018at9:00am. We continue to have great turn outs with a number of our fellow residents voice their opposition to Buc-ee’s. Thank you to all who attended and spoke. However, we need to keep this up so please join us at theMay 1st meeting. The details are below:

§ The St. Johns County Board of County Commission Meetings are held the first and third Tuesdays each month commencing at 9:00 amin the St. Johns County Auditorium located at 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine, FL.

§ A public comments session is a standing agenda item at the beginning of each meeting whereby residents are afforded 3 minutes to address the Commissioners and express their opinions on relevant issues. Several of us will be speaking. Whether or not you choose to speak, your attendance showing your opposition to Buc-ee’s is valuable.

§ I and other concerned citizens will be at the entrance of theCountyAuditoriumto direct you to the meeting location and answer any questions.

• The next Zoning Board meeting isThursday,May 3, 2018at1:30pm. This Board is appointed by the Commissioners and will review and vote on any variances that Buc-ee’s requests before they are presented to the Commissioners. As such, it’s just as important that we make our case to them.

§ The Zoning Board meets every first and third Thursday of the month at 1:30pmat the St. Johns County Auditorium located at 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine, FL.

§ Similar to the Commissioners Meeting, this meeting is open to the public and there is a public comment session wherein concerns can be brought before the Zoning Board. I encourage all concerned residents to attend this meeting as well to show your opposition to Buc-ee’s.

All the best,

Lance Williams

273 Pinehurst Pointe Drive

St. Augustine

Lance@uselink.org

786-409-8792

 

Fellow Residents,

This is a friendly reminder that there are two important meetings coming up.

• The next Commissioners Meeting is Tuesday, April17, 2018 at 9:00am. We continue to have great turn outs with a number of our fellow residents voice their opposition to Buc-ee’s. Thank you to all who attended and spoke. However, we need to keep this up so please join us at the April17th meeting. The details are below:

§ ? The St. Johns County Board of County Commission Meetings are held the first and third Tuesdays each month commencing at 9:00 am in the St. Johns County Auditorium located at 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine, FL.

§ ? A public comments session is a standing agenda item at the beginning of each meeting whereby residents are afforded 3 minutes to address the Commissioners and express their opinions on relevant issues. Several of us will be speaking. Whether or not you choose to speak, your attendance showing your opposition to Buc-ee’s is valuable. Buc-ee’s is not a done deal. We are being heard and making progress. The more of us who attend, the more the County will have to listen.

§ ? I and other concerned citizens will be at the entrance of the County Auditorium to direct you to the meeting location and answer any questions.

• The next Zoning Board meeting is Thursday, April19, 2018. This Board is appointed by the Commissioners and will review and vote on any variances that Buc-ee’s requests before they are presented to the Commissioners. As such, it’s just as important that we make our case to them.

§ ? The Zoning Board meets every first and third Thursday of the month at 1:30pm at the St. Johns County Auditorium located at 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine, FL.

§ ? Similar to the Commissioners Meeting, this meeting is open to the public and there is a public comment session wherein concerns can be brought before the Zoning Board. I encourage all concerned residents to attend this meeting as well to show your opposition to Buc-ee’s.

All the best,

Lance Williams

273 Pinehurst Pointe Drive

St. Augustine

If you haven’t already done so:

Once again, thank you for your support on this important issue. Feel free to write me with any questions or to further express your opinion

Lance Williams

273 Pinehurst Pointe Drive

St. Augustine

Lance@uselink.org

786-409-8792

Buc’ee’s:   Some of our neighbors have been working to gather info about Buc-ee’s to provide you with information pertaining to the new proposed Buc-ee’s coming the exit of International Golf Parkway / World Golf Village.  See jpeg below.  and provided a link to a petition.  Click here if you would like to sign it.

Keep in mind that there are also neighbors who feel this could be an asset to our area.

I am keeping neutral, just trying to help get the word out so folks can make a decision for their own sake.