Barbara's Blog


Vilano Beach Grocery Store

Vilano Beach grocery store's plans will be reviewed this Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at the North Shores Improvement Association's building at 120 Meadow Avenue in Vilano Beach. The North Coastal Corridor Overlay District Design Review Board will meet at 3 p.m. to review both the plans for the grocery store and for restoring our Bluebird of Happiness as public art. Here's the agenda.

Restore the Bluebird of Happiness

As the vice-president of the North Shores Improvement Association (the non-profit organization over Vilano Beach Main Street) I heard Bob Bentz and Joe Lelonek of Land Design South present their initial plans on November 18th at our Vilano Beach Main Street meeting that was held at the Vilano Hampton Inn. This is the second developer to have plans for a grocery store for our neighborhood. We are hopeful that this time the store will be built. Bob & Joe are land planners and have developed (and lived!) in Main Street communities, so we feel they understand what our community is trying to accomplish.

Bob and Joe mentioned Publix as the grocery store, but did say no lease has been signed and please don't call Publix to confirm as Publix has not agreed, yet. The variances and due diligence need to be done before they approach Publix. They are optimistic as Regency Centers (the previous developers) had a relationship with Publix to build a store in Vilano and Regency Centers are the ones that got Land Design South involved. Land Design South and Regency Centers did a joint development about three years ago. From what I understand, this Vilano project is just Land Design South (i.e., Regency Centers is no longer involved).

Land Design South has done other projects with Publix. Two months ago, Palm Beach Gardens (Frenchman's Crossing) broke ground on a new Publix that Land Design South did. Here's info on that project and the other Publix projects they have done.

Drumroll please--- here are for the plans for the grocery store and retails shops for Vilano Beach Main Street.

 Grocery Store Site Plan


The plan shows a 29,160 sq. ft. grocery store with a 15' covered walkway. There are two parcels in the "quadrant" that is bordered by Coastal Highway, Vilano Road, and Poplar Avenue that are not included: Lazy Sands parcel and the Penman (vacant land) parcel as shown on the above site plan.

There are two phases. The first phase includes the grocery store (Building A) and retail shops (Buildings B, C, & D).  Building B is 3287 sq. ft., Building C is 10,1034 sq. ft., and Building D is 900 sq. ft. There are approximately 160 parking spaces. Phase one will be built at the same time. Phase two is the residential component and includes 28 residential units on Poplar Avenue that will be 3 stories.

Elevation Plan

There are some variances the developer will be requesting. Here's a description on some of them.

1. Building Height
2. Minimum 50' depth
3. Percentage of glass used
4. Other

Per the St. Johns County Land Development code Article III Special Districts, PART 3.10.00 North Coastal Corridor Overlay District: Vilano Beach Town Center Overlay:

1. Building Height 
Page III-91
B. Building Height
2. Buildings shall be a minimum of two stories above grade at the frontage line.
Land Design South is proposing one story buildings in phase one.

2. Minimum 50' depth
Page III-97
D. Building Uses
1. Building Type I - buildings with required retail frontages.
a. Building Type I is required to have retail uses on the ground floor, for a minimum depth of 50 feet, on the frontages indicated on the Regulating Plan. Remaining ground floor area may include any of the uses permitted for the second and third story, except residential uses.
Parts of Buildings B & C and all of Building D don't meet this requirement.

3. Percentage of glass used
Page III-102
17. Storefronts, retail and office uses are required to face the frontage line, and shall be directly accessible from the sidewalk, or raised porch, arcade or plaza. Each storefront, and all Building Type I structures, must have clear glazed areas, equal to a minimum of seventy (70) percent of its first floor street facing façade length, between two (2) and eight (8) feet from the ground.
The back of the grocery store (Building A) on Coastal Highway does not meet this requirement.

4. Other
Additionally they are asking for non-zoning variances for:

  • Building Setback - Building D
  • Main Entrance Orientation - Buildings A & D
  • 25% Facade Fenestration - Building A
  • 25-45% Galzed Facade - Building A
  • Max 30' Curb Cut - need bigger for loading trucks for grocery store
  • Building Perimeter Landscaping - Building A
  • Signage Standards - all buildings in Phase 1 - however, might only grant for Building A

I am excited with the plans and hope the process moves forward quickly. Land Design South has the 3.46-acre parcel under contract directly with the FDIC that took over the failed bank that foreclosed on this property. Hopefully closing on this property will happen within 3-4 months. Bob & Joe said it takes about 9 months to build and we hope for completion some time in 2011. Here are the schedules of upcoming meetings. I hope to see you at all these meetings to help assist in getting a grocery store in our Vilano Beach community. Get involved!

December 16, 2009 at  3:00 p.m.
North Coastal Corridor Design Review Board

Review at the North Shores Community Center, 120 Meadow Avenue, when non-zoning variances will be presented and recommendations received. If an additional DRB meeting is needed, it will be on January 13 at South Ponte Vedra Civic Association Center.

January 19, 2010
St. Johns County Board of Commissioners meeting

Request made for approval of non-zoning variances from the board.

All of the above meetings are open to the public.


Barbara Jenness takes joy in assisting people in buying or selling their home or land in northeast Florida (St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra,  and Jacksonville). She is a community activist and leader serving as President of Friends of A1A 2008-2010, Past President of Scenic & Historic A1A in St. Johns County for over 10 years, and past vice-president of Vilano Beach Main Street (North Shores Improvement Association). She is a past president for WCR in St. Augustine and a member of South Ponte Vedra Civic Association, Porpoise Point, Serenata Beach Club, and Palencia. She founded and is a Past President of the St. Augustine Regional Council (StAR Council) to promote the St. Augustine area to individuals outside the region.

Awards: REALTOR of the Year, Businesswoman of the Year, SPIRIT Award Passion, Five-Star Best in Client Satisfaction-7 Years Winner

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Comment balloon 1 commentBarbara Jenness • December 15 2009 11:06AM


What an informative blog post to bring up all of these issues of the proposed development (Vilano Beach Grocery Store) to St. Augustine residents, Barbara...I'm sure your local readers will appreciate learning about this! :)


Posted by Bob & Leilani Souza, Greater Sacramento Area Homes, Land & Investments (Souza Realty 916.408.5500) about 10 years ago