Neptune Beach prevails in denial of Kmart apartments

A developer’s bid to build apartments at the site of the former Kmart in Neptune Beach was squelched May 13 when a judge ruled in favor of the city.
Last year the city had denied a request by Neptune Beach, Fl Realty to build 175 apartments, 74 hotel rooms and 33,100 square feet of commercial space on the property. The denial came after heated community opposition to the development plan from Tribridge. The developer then asked the courts for relief.
The Fourth Circuit ruled that the city had provided the developer due process, followed the law and supported its finding with evidence. The judge denied the developer’s request for writ of certiorari, finding the city had acted properly.
“The court finds there was competent substantial evidence presented at both the CDB (community development board) and City Council hearings to establish that the proposed use would be incompatible with the general character of the area, considering the population density; the design, density, scale, location, and orientation of existing and permissible structures in the area; property values; and the location of existing similar uses.”
A separate phase of development on the site, providing for retail on the northern front of the lot was approved by the city. That phase is independent of the portion that was the subject of the litigation.