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Candidate Essay by Mike Lednovich: Preserving Our City’s Quality of Life

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EDITOR’S NOTE: A few weeks ago, we offered the seven candidates for Fernandina Beach City Council the opportunity to submit a 1,000-word essay on whatever matters to them about the city. This is the third essay submitted.

By Mike Lednovich

Philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

I am the Mayor of Fernandina Beach, Mike Lednovich, and for the past four years I have fought to preserve our city’s unique “quality of life” by righting the wrongs of the past.

There have been, and still are, many challenges in preserving what makes Fernandina Beach so special. We are facing aggressive developers who want to build more new homes and townhouses. Over 1.2 million tourists use the city’s facilities/services and pay nothing for their upkeep. And you have to deal with the explosive growth of Nassau County.

Previous city commissions have regularly approved the rezoning of commercial properties to residential use. I voted 100% against this practice and will continue to do so. Some examples are:

  • I opposed deep-pocketed developers who wanted to rezone commercial land for residential use to build 330 units on Amelia Island Parkway near Bailey Road. Eventually, they gave up.
  • I voted no on the rezoning of land on Lime Street where developers were looking to build 12 townhouses.

In total, my opposition to the rezoning prevented about 500 more houses or townhouses from being built in the city.

I am committed to protecting our environment, tree canopy, wetlands and wildlife. Here are some past examples:

  • Votes who bought and placed 35 acres of property in conservation.
  • Strengthened city tree ordinance with increased penalties for illegal tree cutting.
  • Introduced and passed a no-smoking ordinance on city beaches/parks.
  • Passed an ordinance preventing unscrupulous tree-cutting companies from canvassing to convince landowners to cut down healthy trees.
  • Opposed the destruction of 6 acres of virgin urban land for Simmons Road Park.
  • Opposition to the rezoning of 6.4 acres of Amelia Bluff land from Conservation to Low Density Residential.

Currently under my direction, the City Attorney is working on a Dune Protection Ordinance and a Canopy Tree Protected Roads Ordinance that would ensure that future generations can enjoy the same quality of life that we have today. today.

During my mandate, many projects had a negative impact on our “quality of life”. I opposed all of these efforts:

  • I fought the attempted expansion of the Port of Fernandina into the city’s historic district and signed an inter-local agreement prohibiting such expansion without city approval.
  • I led the defeat of a plan to convert the city-leased Amelia River Golf Course into a luxury motor racing track.
  • I voted against moving the youth sports fields, tennis courts and pickle ball courts from Central Park.
  • I voted against plans to build commercial businesses and an amphitheater along the river south of the boat launch.

We have also made tremendous progress in improving the city’s infrastructure and roads. Some examples are:

  • Vote to repair the city marina and fuel docks as well as get FEMA reimbursement for the repairs.
  • Votes that resulted in the construction of a new seawall/promenade to prevent flooding at the south end of the marina property.
  • I supported plans and funding for the reopening of Alachua Street to Front Street as well as new sidewalks, railroad crossings, and an underground stormwater catchment basin.
  • Vote to fund new beach walks.
  • I supported the use of city emergency funds to replace the main feature of the Central Park playground that was removed for safety reasons.

Over the next four years, we must protect the city from storm surges and flooding by completing the waterfront levee. We also need to address flood prevention issues at Escambia Slough, part of the downtown Fernandina Beach drainage system, and on Atlantic Avenue at Egans Creek.

My goal during my tenure was to make city government more transparent to voters. To this end, I have posted all important city documents on social media pages. I have corrected many misinformation posts on social media with facts. I meet with citizens, answer my emails and return all phone calls.

As mayor and commissioner, I have addressed pressing issues such as customer service issues at the building department, downtown music issues, and the protection of trees and dunes at construction sites, by organizing workshops with the participation of the public.

Many challenges lie ahead, such as the completion of riverine flood protection; repair/maintain city buildings, parks and sports fields; identify new sources of revenue to ease the burden on taxpayers and implement solutions for additional parking and increased traffic.

It was a pleasure to meet so many of you during my first term: thank you for your suggestions and encouragement. I humbly request your vote for Mike Lednovich’s quality of life efforts as City Commissioner, Seat 4, to continue to ensure our city remains a very special place.

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