Beach commissioners are in for another long and ugly fight should they choose to revert back to previously rejected setback rules.
These are the moments that test their allegiance to the public.
Building Official Brian Law recently proposed an ordinance to make setbacks smaller. (A setback is the minimum distance from a property line that a building can be constructed.) This proposed reduction is similar to one passed over five years ago: resident outrage, four years of debate and the hiring of a professional planning consultant led to its reversal.
A big concern was over storm water retention in neighborhoods.
Why is that failed proposal suddenly being revisited, and who stands to benefit...developers, realtors, resort rentals? Those are the typical suspects behind commissioners turning their backs on their neighbors' concerns.
Law is set to present to commissioners this coming Monday, and people who live in St. Augustine Beach are strongly encouraged to attend and make their voices heard at the beach commission meeting.
Many residents are certainly not in favor of the proposal so far, as they say it changes the character of the beach neighborhoods, and is detrimental to the environment neighbors are striving to protect.
"Please attend Monday night's beach commission meeting to support maintaining the residential nature of our community. We want to enjoy beach living - not spend four more years in contest with those who are supposed to represent our interests." says one group of residents, who successfully fought these changes before.
Commissioners will most definitely be in for another long fight over this decision, and some may lose seats as election year approaches. This does not seem to be an issue residents are taking lightly.