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Gate cancels hearing!

Details here. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! 

Our email campaign to county commissioners has ended. You are always welcome to write them to share your opinion about the Outpost, but your thousands of letters are what helped Gate cancel the hearing. We will let you know if another organized email effort is planned.

 

St Johns County Board of County Commissioners:

 

James (Jimmy) Johns, bcc1jjohns@sjcfl.us    ph: 904-209-0301

 

Jeb Smith, bcc2jsmith@sjcfl.us   ph: 904-209-0302

 

Paul Waldron  bcc3pwaldron@sjcfl.us    ph: 904-209-0303

 

Jeremiah Blocker, bcc4jblocker@sjcfl.us  ph: 904-209-0304

He has also provided this number: (904) 679-2620

 

Henry Dean, Chair  bcc5hdean@sjcfl.us   ph: 904-209-0305

Also write these county officials:

 

Michael Wanchick, County Administrator, mwanchick@sjcfl.us

Suzanne Konchan, Growth Management,  skonchan@sjcfl.us

Jan Brewer, Director, Environmental Division jbrewer@sjcfl.us

Ryan Mauch, Environmental Supervisor, Code Compliance 

rmauch@sjcfl.us,

Patrick McCormack, County Attorney, pmccormack@sjcfl.us

To write all county officials at once, copy and paste the list below

into your email.  

NOTE: if you're having trouble sending all at once, divide into two emails or write individually. It's worth the time to let your voice be heard!

Support Points

Please urge our officials to keep the Outpost as conservation property. Put the letters in your own words! Don't copy and paste. Scroll ALL the way down for do's and don'ts on writing emails and public comments.

A key legal argument:

ALL Plan Amendments are LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS that can be DENIED for ANY legitimate reason. 

Environmental Impact on Outpost and surrounding preserve:

  1. The Outpost has been in conservation on the county's Comprehensive Plan for 30 years, and it should remain in conservation.

  2. Audubon, Sierra, North Florida Land Trust, 1000 Friends of Florida and Defenders of Wildlife endorse preservation of Outpost property.

  3. Outpost is conservation land – 97% surrounded by Guana Preserve - the only National Estuarine Research Reserve on Florida's eastern coast.  Impact on surrounding habitat would be devastating, in addition to destruction of habitat on 74 upland acres slated for development.

 4. The vast swath of Maritime Hammock slated for destruction is rare on Florida's coastline.

 5. Development of land surrounded by GTM runs counter to GTM’s stated goal of preserving and increasing imperiled animal populations.  

 6. Hundreds of species of animals exist in Guana, many of whose habitat include Outpost land.  14 animals listed as threatened or endangered species have the potential to occur at the Outpost.

 7. The Outpost property borders Guana River for one mile which would expose it to run-off pollution/contamination from development.  Fertilizer nutrient pollution from 25 waterfront home sites with an additional 41 homes behind them would adversely affect water quality of Guana Reserve. 

 8. The North Florida Land Trust has stated that the ownership and management of the Outpost is critical towards ensuring the future health of the GTM-NERR.

 9. Outpost property has been on the FWC acquisitions list for 16 years.

 11.  Ten years of construction - according to Ponte Vedra Corp. - would create nonstop noise pollution, adversely affecting animal life well beyond the borders of the Outpost property,  frightening  away migratory birds and other wildlife - and impact animal populations on abutting property in the preserve.

12. When one considers how the Outpost property - left in its natural state - cleans our air, improves our water quality and quantity, and prevents flooding, $588,810 is what the land returns to us in eco-system services value every single year. Source: The North Florida Land Trust.

13.  The visual pollution of 25 homes 35 feet tall with an additional 42 homes behind them would adversely affect public enjoyment of Guana Reserve, impacting eco-tourism.

14.  Habitat destruction and fragmentation are the leading causes of decline of animal populations. The triangular Outpost property jutting into Guana preserve, if developed, would fragment wild spaces that now exist - in addition to destroying habitat. 

15. The DEP's water quality study of Guana Lake so far shows concerning results. Polluted run-off from 66 homes will only worsen the quality of this very fragile, shallow fiver which is an Outstanding Florida Water, deemed worthy of special protection.

16. The developer's proposed rules to not allow pesticides and chemicals on lawns are not enforceable, and their planned swale will not stop contaminants from leaching into the lake. Fertilizer nutrient pollution from 25 waterfront home sites with an additional 42 homes behind them would adversely affect water quality of Guana Reserve.

17. The 74 acres of upland habitat slated for destruction would cause death and displacement of wildlife. Those animals that survive would compete for resources on the adjacent preserve, negatively impacting the GTM-NERR. Displaced animals will also enter residential neighborhoods where they will not have the resources to survive, and some may endanger nearby residents. Developing so deep in Guana and eliminating large swaths of habitat will worsen our existing problem of wild animals entering residential areas. Many of these animals endanger humans and pets. Hungry coyotes climb fences to attack prey. We also have foxes, wild boars, pygmy rattlers, water moccasins, bobcats and alligators. Animals that can spread deadly disease, including raccoons and armadillos, will become more abundant. 

Impact of traffic, construction, drainage issues:

  1. Mickler Rd. is already at 124% capacity with no plans to widen it. Adding 600+ vehicle trips per day to Neck Rd. which will spill out onto Mickler will compound existing traffic problems at rush hour and for Mickler Beach traffic. Traffic congestion on A1A will increase on a daily basis. Both are hurricane evacuation routes.

  2. Neck Rd. feeds into Mickler in between two intersections slated to be failing intersections in just 20 years:  A1A/Mickler and the roundabout.  To add 66 homes in between two intersections slated for failure is poor planning and a prescription for huge traffic back-ups on a daily basis.

  3. Vista Tranquila will bring 600+ vehicle trips per day to Neck Rd. in addition to the 1200 car trips already measured during a Neck Rd. traffic study. However, vehicle trips don't tell the whole story. Since each vehicle trip to "Visa Tranquila" would be the entire length of Neck Rd. compared to the average trip of Neck Rd. residents (half that distance), development of the Outpost would actually double the vehicle miles logged on Neck road. 

  4. Doubling of vehicle miles would result in increased danger to cars, pedestrians, children, wild animals and pets. Many residents from surrounding neighborhoods walk and bike on Neck Rd. because it’s shady due to its tree canopy and quiet due to being a no-outlet st 

  5. Doubling of vehicle miles, plus ten years of construction vehicles on Neck Rd.,  would affect quality of life and change the character of the neighborhood. Construction vehicles generate noise and pollution and create safety issues for pedestrians and drivers alike.

  6. No outlet; one point of access only which is Neck Rd. This is dangerous during emergency evacuation and will cause bottlenecks on a daily basis.

  7. A recent traffic study revealed that 85% of cars speed on Neck Rd. Installing speed humps or similar measures to slow down the traffic that would otherwise speed down Neck to Vista Tranquila would only serve as obstacles to emergency vehicles.

  8. Many attractive, buildable properties have been for sale in the area for years - some on Neck Road or on roads branching off of it. The demand for homes in the area is simply not there to justify such destruction of habitat. This ecological disaster is preventable.

  10. Ponte Vedra estimates construction will last ten years - a decade-long disturbance to neighbors and the ecosystem in terms of loud        construction noise, construction vehicles going up and down Neck Rd. and large numbers of people entering the neighborhood on a          daily basis who do not live there.

   11. Potential home buyers in St. Johns County will not be able to rely on land remaining in conservation if the Outpost is developed which could discourage future investment in the county's real estate. 

Do's and don'ts for emails and public comments.

1. Describe why keeping the Outpost in conservation is important to you, Give your personal views and account, and also support your argument with facts.

2. Avoid generalities such as "There's already too much development."  Keep your arguments specific to why the Outpost should not be developed.

3. Draw from support points above without copying and pasting.

4. Be respectful. Be positive about what the county has done right - that it stood strong on Gate's lawsuit against the county and that's why we now have public hearings on the Outpost.

5. Don't call the developer greedy or say they have enough money. That's not a valid argument against development. 

6. Keep in mind that the Outpost is private property and the public is not entitled to own or use it or have it donated to the county. The public is, however, entitled to having it kept in conservation.

7. Public comments can be a maximum of 3 minutes. Try to keep it shorter. You can keep it as short as stating your name and address and one sentence.  Wearing a white shirt will show the county your opposition even if you don't give a public comment.

Thanks for taking action!!!

All application documents for Ponte Vedra Corporation's proposed plan to develop the Outpost can be viewed here.   

Turn your email to the county into a letter to the Editor!  

Times Union: letters@jacksonville.com 

The name, city of residence and, usually, occupation of writers are published. 

  1. Brevity helps. A lead letter is 350 words, an opinion column is 600 words. We prefer lead letters over columns. For regular letters we suggest a maximum length of about 200 words.

  2. Cite sources for important facts and quotations so we can check them.

  3. Avoid personal comments. Stick to the issues.

  4. Be sure to list your name, address and phone number for confirmation.

  5. If you are especially interested in having your letter published, send an email to Editorial Page Editor Mike Clark: mike.clark@jacksonville.com

LETTERS MUST BE WRITTEN FOR TIMES UNION AND WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED IF THEY HAVE APPEARED ELSEWHERE.

St. Augustine Record,  letters@staugustine.com

Beaches Leader/Ponte Vedra Leader, http://www.beachesleader.com/letter-editor

Ponte Vedra Recorder,  pvrecorder@opcfla.com

St Augustine Record, Jim Sutton:  letters@staugustine.com

Shore Lines, letters@jax.com

Coastal Newsline, editor@coastalnewsline.com

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