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  • Letter: Overzealous protestors show up at a commissioner’s home

    Kim J Kendall
    St Johns, FL

    Dear Historic City News subscribers:

    St Johns County Commissioner Sarah Arnold had protestors at her home a few days ago.  This is horribly disturbing. Commissioner Arnold has done nothing except serving our County.  She is a wife, a mother of 4 small children, a tireless volunteer, and my friend.

    It seems these protestors were there because of Arnold’s support of the Silverleaf development.  Whether you agree or disagree with her support is fine, but I couldn’t sit idly by and not caution those protestors that we all need to express our passionate viewpoints with decorum and limit that expression to appropriate places — like public forums.

    Both Silverleaf and Nocatee are large Developments of Regional Impact – both around 15,000 homes approved. These numbers can be overwhelming, but we need to be informed about the facts.

    1.     MOST BENEFACTORS: I am guilty of wanting to move here, find a new home, enroll my kids in St Johns County public schools, and then have all new development stop after I moved in. I realize most of us are benefactors of each new development.

    2.     PUD: All developments are “PUDs” (Planned Unit Developments) but only the larger ones (that carry more requirements to build are called DRI’s.) So, for clarity, the smaller developments I will refer to as PUDs and the larger ones DRIs.

    3.     TRAFFIC & SCHOOL CROWDING PROBLEMS: PUDs (like St Johns Golf & Country Club) built only 799 homes – because when they were built, 800 homes triggered the DRI requirements. So, these PUDs did not have to bring a school site or pay extra road impact fees because they stopped one home short.

    4.     13 PUDs: There currently are 13 PUDs west of I-95 on the CR-210 corridor. THESE developments are the reason for the lack of school sites and road improvements.

    5.     PUD vs DRI: In comparison, the new DRI Silverleaf is bringing multiple school sites, regional parks, millions of dollars towards impact fees, major roadway network systems, and ALL before they build their first house. Also, they are bringing much-needed businesses to northwest St Johns County.

    6.     SELL OFF PIECES: Even though the DRI’s can be overwhelming – it is much better to have these well-planned DRI’s with the extra requirements they need to bring – instead of having the developer selling off chunks at a time – and we have more of this “patchwork quilt” situation like it is with these small 13 PUDs along the northwest CR-210 corridor.

    7.     SR-16/16A: Silverleaf paid an additional $4 million to clean up this area – this was NOT a requirement of Silverleaf’s but another developer who didn’t follow through.

    8.     EAST/WEST BELTWAY: This was not a road “built to benefit Silverleaf only.” I attended an FDOT meeting about 15 years ago. The East/West beltway was originally plotted to go through Cimarrone – which those residents were up in arms over. So, FDOT and the county commission proposed 5 possible routes – all but one went through or very near CR-210 neighborhoods that already had people living in them… EXCEPT for Silverleaf!  ALL the residents were in support of pushing the East/West Beltway through a neighborhood that had not been built yet. THAT is the history of this road.

    9.     NUMBER OF SCHOOL SITES: This is the responsibility of our school board!  I attended a past school board workshop where Silverleaf’s group presented. They brought in the map and said we have 5 school sites drawn on the map – but this is only a draft – if you want more just let us know. Not one school board member nor the Superintendent said a word. And they passed it as is. This falls squarely on the school board!

    Most of my neighbors in northwest St Johns County know the issues I passionately fight for.  In that pursuit, I have gained the knowledge of those I believe are worthy to serve.  In this year’s mid-term election, I would like to include all Historic City News subscribers with my results.  I know these seven candidates personally and I have dealt with them over the years.  They have always gone beyond the call of duty.

    Some have said they believe that the Governor’s endorsements and appointments result from pressure or strong-arming from his political donors.  I reject those statements.  I do not believe the Governor is a sellout.  He knows those who will help him advance the “Keep Florida Free” agenda.

    Hutson supported our child bike safety issue (CR-2209 going to LPA).  When the school board refused to reinstate the bus for St Johns Forest, Hutson worked with us on every level to move the sidewalk over.  This year, Travis secured finances from the State in just one example of many issues he has championed.  Senator Hutson was the main sponsor of the bill that created the Office of Election Crimes and Security which investigates voter fraud complaints.

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