Seaside pays for work
County to fix sewers, streets 
Article Courtesy of First Coast Community

Wednesday, July 31, 2002 
By Lisa Woods - Shorelines staff writer 

Giving over land to the government usually isn't a voluntary act. But Seaside subdivision in Ponte Vedra Beach will pay St. Johns County about $70,000 to bring the community up to the standards of the Land Development Code.

County commissioners unanimously approved the arrangement last week.

The underlying reason is money, said Joe Stephenson, county public works director.

"Homeowners have the perception they are paying taxes for the county to take care of their roads and paying the homeowners' association to take care of their roads," Stephenson said.

Seaside is the second community to go through the process and will fork over $6,000 for a drainage system, $26,000 to patch up roads, $30,000 to fix sidewalks and $3,500 to install signs. Old Palm Valley, another subdivision in Ponte Vedra Beach, was the first; about 10 other communities are waiting in line.

"They didn't have anything particularly bad," Stephenson said. "A section of sidewalk had to be repaved because it didn't meet ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] standards and some parts of the drainage system are going to have be fixed." When some subdivisions are built, they are built with roads that are dedicated to the county and some are built with private roads, meaning the homeowners' association would own and maintain the roads. 

"The county commissioners said whenever the subdivision asked the county to take over to roads, to examine and bring them up to speed," Stephenson said. "We have examined and they have agreed that they will fix or finance the roads."

Clara Cowan, president of Seaside's homeowners' association, said she is elated that the process has gone so smoothly.

"I feel like this is a dream come true," Cowan said. "We started this process about nine years ago and I want to tell you that the [county] staff was terrific and professional. Now we don't have to worry about the roads again, and I'm glad we were able to do this without an assessment to our homeowners."