Saturday, May 06, 2017

Peter Guinta column on a key vote against overdevelopment, and history of St. Johns County "bought and sold" by devious developers

Like Peter Guinta, I was elated by the 3-2 vote, with Commissioners Jay Morris, Jeb Smith and Paul Waldron providing the margin of victory. Like Peter Guinta, I was disappointed in Vice Chairman Henry Dean's vote -- as former St. Johns Water Management District Executive Director, he knows full well the implications on our precious water resources. Repent now, Henry Dean, there's still time!

Peter Guinta, right, with WFCF Flagler College Radio Station Manager Daniel McCook (left) and former Ponte Vedra Recorder Editor Mark Pettus (center)

St. Augustine Record column, May 7, 2017
By Peter Guinta
(Former St. Augustine Record Senior Reporter)

St. Augustine

The County Commission’s vote Tuesday to deny a 350-home project in the sprawling Northwest was the right thing to do.

I applaud commissioners Morris, Smith and Waldron for their courage in denying Mill Creek Forest, a project patently wrong for St. Johns County.

Morris especially has been a leader over the years in using common sense to question gratuitous growth that would choke this county.

Everybody wants to live here, but the reality is that not everyone can. The county can’t close its doors, but it can wait until it’s able to handle newcomers adequately.

It’s not just roads to consider. Growth impacts schools, emergency operations strategy, beaches and other quality of life issues.

In this case, the board cited severe traffic deficiencies that will worsen that sector of the Northwest. There is no money right now to expand roads, which county staff says are already deficient.

I was especially surprised by the vote from Commissioner Dean. As a former Northeast Florida Water Management District official, he should have considered that 350 new homes would add another drain on our aquifer. There are already too many straws in the glass.

Adding residential homes to a county in drought is madness.

I’m sure out-of-county developers mean well in their attempt to make this county a bedroom community of the Big Ugly City To The North. But they would cut down Mill Creek Forest’s forest. In a 3-2 vote, the board sent the developer back to their gleaming offices to revamp their approach.

Like the ghosts in the movie “Poltergeist.” they’ll be baaack.

They’ll donate a tiny bit of land here and there for a park or a road and those attractive breadcrumbs have swayed previous commissioners for years. We’ve had two commissioners in the past who voted on nearly 200 development applications during their terms.

One of them voted against only ONE of those projects; the other voted for ALL of them. I only bring that up to point out where we’ve come from so we can see clearly how the county was bought and sold, and how we might proceed in the future.

St. Augustine

1 comment:

Warren Celli said...

What a hoot!

Former media sell out, Peter Guinta, comments on the now gross problematic county situation his past lies of omission have caused while he was shilling for the Saint Augustine Wreckit.

His last line is priceless baloneyspeak for its Freudian overtones...

"I only bring that up to point out where we’ve come from so we can see clearly how the county was bought and sold, and how we might proceed in the future."