WOW: O.C. White's Claps Back at SA City Management Over Santa Maria Dispute

Last night, O.C. White's took to social media to discuss what they felt were attempts by city officials, to, 'sway public opinion.'

From Facebook page:

City Officials are attempting to sway public opinion against the redevelopment of the Santa Maria by saying we are going to have wedding receptions at the restaurant. We want to be clear that there will be no wedding receptions at the new Santa Maria. We have remained consistent in telling City Officials we will only be hosting rehearsal dinners, birthday parties and other special dinners, just like every other restaurant in St. Augustine. We are in discussion with the City Officials about whether we should be required to obtain a “special event venue” status in order to host rehearsal dinners and birthday parties. Since that discussion is still ongoing, the City wants to publish a notice regarding the upcoming City Commission hearing on the Santa Maria redevelopment on August 13. This notice will include the “special event venue” as a potential use within the Santa Maria since we do want to host rehearsal dinners, birthday parties and other special dinners. This is because the City code defines “special event venue” as a business where the primary or ancillary or accessory use is to host events such as weddings, wedding receptions, bridal receptions, rehearsal luncheons and dinners, anniversary celebrations, galas, birthday parties, family reunions,….and similar events. A special event venue may be indoors or outdoors and must comply with all applicable local codes ……Special event venues may also be accessory or ancillary uses to other uses such as hotels or motels, bed and breakfasts or restaurants, for example.”

Additionally we are going to only have single or duo dinner musicians like we currently do at O.C. Whites.

In response to the St. Augustine Records article in the paper today: The plans approved by Historical Architectural Review Board have not changed to where they would need to be reconsidered. We did not request to bypass Planning and Zoning. It was the request of City Officials for us to enter into a Development Agreement to address all issues including docks and submerged lands. We are not trying to circumvent any process or board. We simply were trying to follow the suggestion of the City Officials. We are not seeking additional seats other than what we have asked for initially 3 and half years ago. We have asked to increase from the 198 existing seats (that did not include parking) to an additional 102 outdoor weather permitting seats and have offered 20 parking spaces for those additional 102 seats to comply with code for parking.

To address the issue of the Santa Maria submerged lands: Our upland property that is east of Avenida Menendez was granted from the Spanish Crown in the 1700s. That is what makes it unique to any other property in town as it is the only one with riparian rights. In 1856 landowners had the right to build wharfs into the bay. In 1884-1885 the original wharf was built where you see the Santa Maria now. The restaurant was built upon submerged lands wharfing out from the upland prior to the City being granted all remaining submerged lands from the State of Florida and that is the difference. Because we own the upland we therefore have riparian rights to docks, but the City holds the key to issuing us a dock permit.

Important info via recent Record Article:

• The city will host a neighborhood open house 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at The Alcazar Room at City Hall to get feedback about people’s mobility needs, such as parking and speed management. The Wednesday open house will focus on the Oyster Creek neighborhood, and the Thursday open house will focus on the North Davis Shores neighborhood. For information on mobility efforts, go to the mobility section of

• The city’s Planning and Zoning Board will have a meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday at The Alcazar Room at City Hall to talk about the Historic Preservation and the Conservation and Coastal Management elements of the Comprehensive Plan, according to the city. The city is in the early stages of updating its Comprehensive Plan, as required by the state.

• The deadline is Tuesday for people to share their thoughts via an online survey about the future use of the former St. Augustine waterworks building on San Marco Avenue. The building, which was built around the turn of the 20th century, has been under restoration for years. The survey is at

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