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6 on Elm
Fernandina City Commissioners Approve Affordable Housing Project
At its meeting on Feb 4, Fernandina Beach City Commissioners approved a project of six town homes to be built by Nassau Habitat for Humanity. This project, known as “6 on Elm”, is the result of a year-long effort undertaken by Nassau Habitat for Humanity.
The effort was initiated when the Delores Barr Weaver Family Fund selected Nassau Habitat as the recipient of a significant gift that would fund the purchase of buildable lots to be used for affordable housing. The Weaver Family Fund agreed to fund the purchase if Nassau Habitat for Humanity found suitable land and completed all the requirements to plan and build six town homes. They would then be sold to local families meeting the criteria for affordable housing established by Nassau Habitat for Humanity.
The effort coincided with the 25th anniversary of the local Habitat organization that has built 44 homes in the area since 1995. The opportunity to complete six homes, bringing the total number to 50, was a powerful driver for the project.
Early on, Nassau Habitat identified several key components for the project to be feasible and ultimately receive approval. These included finding local organizations and businesses to donate their time to complete the project design while working to prepare the necessary documentation for review by several city committees that needed to approve the project. It is then forwarded for approval by the City Commissioners.
Shortly after a suitable tract of land was identified, Nassau Habitat was told of its first key contribution. John Cotner of Cotner Associates agreed to complete the architectural design at no cost to Habitat. This was closely followed by notifications from Gillette Engineering, and Manzie and Drake Surveyors, that they would also provide their services at no cost to Habitat. The final piece in this complex array of services was the commitment from Tomassetti and Prince to provide legal services.
After consultation with city staff, a recommendation was approved wherein many of the fees required by the project are covered by a special fund administered by the City of Fernandina.
The end result of this unique collaboration among local organizations, city staff, and City Commissioners is that Nassau Habitat for Humanity is anticipating starting construction on the first town home in September 2020. Nassau Habitat wants to thank all the individuals who have donated their time, resources, and expertise to bring this project to its current stage. We look forward to the completion of the first two of the planned town homes in June 2021.