City of Sébastien

If you’ve ever looked at a map of Sebastian’s city, its borders look like an incomplete puzzle. As you drive south on US 1, you exit the city limits after passing County Ham N Egg Restaurant until you reach Sebastian Roadside Restaurant.

As far back as we can remember, the City of Sébastien has wanted to fill in the missing pieces at our borders. But for this, landowners must agree to annex.

Last Wednesday, with the cooperation of the landowners, Sebastian City Council approved the initial vote to annex nearly 60 acres. The process involved four annexation requests. There will soon be a public hearing and a second vote to formalize it.

Much of the property is commercial. However, the approval also concerned mixed-use and low-density residences compatible with the surrounding uses. There are plans to build a new apartment complex offering 220 units, 20% of which will become affordable housing on the 22 acres south of 99th Street.

It is also worth noting that the county is also building over 200 new apartments called Sebastian Landing, next to the retirement home, without any contribution from the residents of Sebastian. It’s interesting because when Sebastian wanted to expand by annexing land west of here, the county, a few residents, and several nonprofits promoted disinformation to stop him.

But with Sebastian’s rapid growth and an unsuccessful attempt to annex 1,100 acres, he had needed it since 2019; there is not a lot of accommodation available. Of course, it was always best to develop west of here, but now we find new developments in our backyard built by the county and the same people against growing for Sebastian.

At Wednesday’s city council meeting, a few residents were unhappy with a particular property located at 1820 Shakespeare Street. It’s a 20-acre property, known as Cross Creek, that developer Henry Fischer wants to expand to up to 58 units allowing for low-density residences of up to three homes per acre.

Colleen Sherry – Courtesy of City of Sebastian

Fischer’s proposal did not suit Sebastian resident Colleen Sherry, who accused the developer of mismanaging the development. She provided photos of invasive weeds and allegedly poor landscaping in other areas. Sherry asked city council to require Fischer to properly maintain the area before allowing him to build more houses.

“If he can’t maintain our current development, why as a council and resident would we want to give him 19.58?” [acres] more, ”Sherry asked.

Sherry also spoke of dead shrubs, a boat launch overgrown with weeds and algae found in their lake.

“Why would I want him to be able to build more if he can’t help me with what I’m living in now?” And I understand, we are growing, we need a bigger tax base, and I totally agree. But let’s grow up responsibly, and if he’s not responsible to me and the other residents, why would I want him to do that with other people, ”Sherry explained.

Mayor Jim Hill said the public hearing was only to determine whether the additional property should be dezoned from the county’s agricultural designation to a very low density residence, and not whether Fischer could expand Cross Creek.

“I hear people’s concerns and agree with a lot of what they’re saying,” Hill said. “But I don’t think we should get involved with the developer and their owners’ association.”

Hill also said the city has no control over the issues being discussed as it is a private development where the developer maintains streets and sidewalks.

City Councilor Bob McPartlan shared Sherry’s concerns and asked if the developer and property management weren’t accountable to the owners, “So who’s responsible?” ”

In the end, city council voted to approve, while McPartlan voted “no” because of his concerns.

In addition, the property belonging to the Marine Resources Council was dezoned from residential land to conversation land near the Saint-Sébastien River.

A hearing and a second vote will take place at a future City Council meeting.

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