The Ponte Vedra/Palm Valley Architecture Review Committee voted unanimously to approve the architecture portion of the PUD request by Gate Petroleum on Sept. 6 in a conference room at the Marriott Sawgrass hotel.
Jacksonville-based Gate Petroleum Co. owns the St. Johns County resort property.
The committee also approved architectural plans for a new fitness center and Surf Club.
However, ARC denied to recommend Exhibit E, the Unified Sign Plan, because it was incomplete.
The meeting took place at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort hotel in Ponte Vedra Beach.
It was moved after the cancellation of the July 26 meeting at the Ponte Vedra Branch library when the venue proved to be too small for the overflow crowd of about 300.
The hotel’s conference room, which can accommodate about 700 people, was nearly half-full at the start of the Sept. 6 meeting. About 50 were still in attendance when the committee voted on the architectural recommendations about four hours later.
Gate Petroleum owns The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club at 200 Ponte Vedra Blvd. and The Lodge and Club at 607 Ponte Vedra Blvd.
It prepared a 30-year master plan for improvements to modernize the inn and lodge.
The first phase includes construction of a new Surf Club, fitness center and additional guest rooms.
The Inn & Club hopes to complete the first phase of construction before the club’s 100th anniversary in 2028.
Part of the petition to St. Johns County for a Planned Unit Development is to bring the structure into compliance with current zoning. Gate seeks 31 waivers, about 75% of which would grandfather in existing buildings. Of those waivers, 17 were applicable to the committee.
After the four-hour presentation and public comment, Chair Sean Mulhall said he was concerned whether the committee was up to the task of reviewing an itemized list of waivers. Some waivers that applied to the committee overlapped into the jurisdiction of other review bodies.
Other members were concerned there wasn’t an opportunity to review changes inserted Sept. 1 into the 245-page staff report.
Residents along Ponte Vedra Boulevard and in neighboring communities have expressed concerns about the project including construction traffic, building heights, obstructed views and traffic congestion when the resort eventually adds 88 rooms, which would bring the total to 349.
The resort created a post on its website to address rumors about the project. They can be found at http://www.pvresortspud.com/facts.html.
Since the January PUD filing, those rumors included that residential buildings would be constructed on the resort’s golf courses; that parking garage heights could reach 69 feet; that the project would total 1 million square feet (the maximum build out would be 685,000 square feet) and that parking garages would be constructed on the east side of Ponte Vedra Boulevard.
The resort’s lawyers said there would be no private residential construction. All buildings would be resort housing and resort-related commercial uses.
Though the height from floor to roof of new guestroom construction would be set at three stories totaling 35 feet, Gate representatives could not guarantee that the total height would remain under that.
Federal, state and local agencies may change setback and height restrictions on foundation height to prevent storm damage over the life of the PUD. The foundation height is not included as part of the 35-foot height restriction.
The PUD request is scheduled at the Ponte Vedra Zoning and Adjustment Board at 11 a.m. Sept. 11 at the St. Johns County Administration Building at 500 San Sebastian View in St. Augustine.