Q&A with St. Johns County Commissioner Jeremiah Blocker (District 4)

Q: Can you share some information about your upcoming Town Hall meeting?
A: I will be hosting a Town Hall meeting at the Cultural Center at Our Lady Star of the Sea on Wednesday, Aug. 7 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. This will be similar to the one we held in Nocatee in May in that we will have a panel consisting of representatives from the county administration, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and also St. Johns County Fire and Rescue to cover different topics.

Q: How would you say your Ponte Vedra office hours are going?
A: The response has been tremendous. We’ve been basically booked up each time. People like the opportunity to share their concerns in a convenient location and I find it very fulfilling. I can’t always fix all the problems, but I can weigh in and get things going in the right direction to find a solution.

Q: When are your August Ponte Vedra office hours?
A: I will be at the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library on Friday, Aug. 16 from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Citizens need to make an appointment by calling my office at (904) 209-0304. Walk-ins are ok, but I can be better prepared to respond to a specific situation if people make an appointment.

Q: Can you shed any insight on the ongoing situation with the Outpost property?
A: I’m curious to hear what the applicant will present to us. At this time, they still have to go through vetting by our staff and PZA, but when it gets to the commission, I’m looking forward to reviewing it. I don’t have a full picture yet, but I understand when hundreds of citizens express their concern, we should listen. Some citizens have requested that this become a conservation area and the developer may be amenable… we will have to see. 

Q: How does conservation land come to be?
A: St. Johns County used to have a LAMP committee (Land Acquisition Management Program) several years ago. This was a group of citizens who would get together and try to find and acquire, using local and state funding, land for conservation. I’d be in favor of starting this up again.

Q: How would the land be paid for?
A: I’m always trying to come up with innovative ways to address problems. In this case, perhaps we could create an optional land conservation fund to which citizens could donate. This would provide local funding and perhaps the county could do some sort of matching of these funds. This type of optional donation by citizens might also work for a sidewalk fund. 

Q: What else is happening in the county that you would like to share with District 4?
A: County wide, we have the opportunity to address our tree ordinance. I’m open minded about any changes and have talked to local businesses about this as well as general environmental issues. Some restaurants in St. Augustine Beach are moving away from single-use plastic. Is this a good idea for the whole county? I don’t have any firm ideas yet. I want to look at being fair to businesses and taxpayers. The challenge is that the cost of recycling is increasing. We want to keep St. Johns County a beautiful place and we need to be creative when addressing these concerns.

Q: What is the best way for our readers to contact you?
A: Readers can email me at bcc4jblocker@sjcfl.us or call me at (904) 679-2620.