Letter: Hold the feet of county commission to the fire
Dennis C Stewart
St. Augustine, Fl 32092
Dear Historic City News editor,
A major change to the county’s comprehensive plan is set to happen this Tuesday, July 17th. The county commissioners will be asked to approve this change for the Grand Oaks proposed development located on SR-16 near the outlet malls.
Out of all the public discussions that the County Commissioners have had, not once did they ever ask if 999 additional homes were needed along the SR-16 and SR-16A corridor. After the fourth time coming to the county for a potential adjustment to the comprehensive plan, the developer waved enough money so that three County commissioners were willing to consider approving this request without any thought of the need for these homes.
The developer is willing to make improvements to a portion of SR-16 because of the traffic flow exceeds the two lanes that are available right now. And why is that? The county commissioners have consistently been approving residential rezoning along this corridor, which has created a large amount of traffic growth, and a financial burden to our county. Now that is what you call a Catch-22.
One of these county commissioners has been a pro development supporter. He even put his toes in the water and considered running for the House of Representatives. To do that requires money, and developers and builders have deep pockets. The other two county commissioners who are supporting this change do a lot blustery but mostly it’s just a lot hot air, but it still makes them dangerous to the well-being of our county.
The St Augustine Record, is complicit in not holding the county commissioners’ feet to the fire. This local newspaper has never explained to the public the difference between a major change to the comprehensive plan versus a request for a rezoning change. They never explained to the public why it is so much easier for the county commissioners to say “no” to a major change to comprehensive plan amendment versus how hard it is for the county commissioners to say “no” to a rezoning request. By not doing this, the newspaper has allowed the county commissioners to make unbridled residential approvals without the fear of the county taxpayers knowing what’s really going on.
The approval of Grand Oaks will put a huge strain on the infrastructure of our county.
The developer will eventually have to come back to the county commissioner for a major modification to their PUD; because right now 2,000-3,000 additional cars is not sustainable. The developer’s purpose was to throw enough mud and money against the wall to get their approval. To the detriment to the health and well-being of our county, it looks like the developer is going to win. Money speaks!