Impact of housing development will be talked about today
Publication Date: 09/13/07
St. Johns and Putnam county administrators and staff meet at 1 p.m. today to discuss the expected impacts of a planned mega-development on the Putnam side of the county line.
Mariposa is planned as a Development of Regional Impact, but St. Johns officials contend Putnam has gone forward without taking into account concerns raised by other governing bodies, including St. Johns County. Putnam officials say St. Johns never raised any objections.
On Monday night, Hastings Town Commission voted to join St. Johns County in raising objections, including the proposed six-laning of State Road 207 to serve the development. That, commissioners say, could be the death blow to the town's businesses, which are just recovering from the four-laning of the road.
St. Johns and Hastings say, if the development goes in, they'll have to face the impact but won't be getting any benefits, such as taxes.
The meeting today is in accordance with Florida Statutes Chapter 164 which includes "disagreement resolution for situations just like this," said St. Johns County Commission Tom Manuel. He won't be at today's meeting but has taken a pro-active role in putting St. Johns' concerns before regional and state organizations involved in the planning process.
"Hopefully we will come to an agreement of the parties so a suit doesn't become necessary. We're going over to express our concerns - drainage, transportation, public safety, fire and police issues," Manuel said.
In August the state Department of Community Affairs dealt the proposed 3,200 housing unit development a major blow when they found that Putnam County comprehensive plan amendments for Mariposa weren't in compliance with state growth management laws.
Issues raised abut the Future Land Use map amendments for Mariposa relate to need, urban sprawl, natural resource protection and availability of public facilities.
"Given the ruling from DCA that Mariposa is urban sprawl I don't know how you mitigate urban sprawl," Manuel said Wednesday. He said St. Johns County is going to the meeting to be sure it follow state statutes and followed the required procedures.
Ascot Development, which proposed the Mariposa project, can appeal the DCA decision and is expected to do so.
The development would go on about 2,300 acres off Cracker Swamp Road.
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