Letter: First Coast News interview left wrong impression
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
I was recently interviewed by Jessica Clark, a television reporter for First Coast News, regarding the “interconnectivity” debate in St Johns County. I appeared on the 6:00 p.m. program.
I appreciated the sound bites Channel 12 chose to represent my thoughts; however, the opening statement by the anchorman and the following statement by Jessica Clark, incorrectly stated the issue.
As this was broadcast to the public, I would like to correct the record for the public.
The interview was introduced by stating that there was a debate as to “whether to create extra entrances for gated communities”. Those “communities” being new developments in northwest St Johns County.
Jessica Clark went on to elaborate that the proposed changes “… only deal with new gated communities, not existing neighborhoods, and we are only talking about new gated communities in the northwest part of St. Johns County.”
“But still there are some who really don’t like the idea of having extra ways to get in and out of a gated community,” the reporter said as the camera cut to my interview.
This is NOT the issue, nor the case. If that were true, I would not be upset. It would not impact my lifestyle at all. We are not talking about “extra ways to get in and out” for the residents of yet to be developed communities, only in northwest St Johns County, as Clark stated.
The fact is that we are talking about a proposed Land Use Regulation change that will apply to the entire county and all of the gated communities in it.
The change is to Policy A.2.1.10(c)(5)
(5) Gated communities shall (/be discouraged/) provide connections to collector roads and pedestrian and bicycle interconnectivity, where feasible.
- You will notice that the policy just says “Gated Communities” — There is no specific portion of the County or community mentioned in the above sentence because this is a countywide rule.
- Some of the County Commissioners think that gated communities should be required to allow non-resident traffic access through their neighborhoods on their privately funded roads.
- Notice also the use of the word SHALL.
- There has even been discussion about motorized traffic having access as well. Emergency vehicles, specifically, have been mentioned. Emergency vehicles always have access. This is a red herring.
- According to the new policy, the County could mandate use of private roads whenever they see fit, e.g. “where feasible” and be within the law. A good example would be during TPC week. They could decide that the traffic jams along A1A pose a major safety risk along many fronts. They could say that the entire community would be safer if Marsh Landing and Sawgrass Players Club were forced to “provide connections to collector roads” within the community for that week.
I AM NOT ADVOCATING THIS.
I am against Government at any level imposing their will upon private property owners. It is truly un-American and contrary to our Constitutional rights. We must stop government overreach whenever it happens at whatever level it comes.
I hope this makes the real issue clear. If it were otherwise, all you would have is a few disgruntled developers. As it is, it applies equally to everyone living in a gated community who lives in St. Johns County where I have lived for over 25 years.