Monday, February 07, 2022


Good article by Sheldon Gardner -- front page banner headline in today's St. Augustine Record about the State DEO remand of State Senator TRAVIS J. HUTSON's latest scam -- SILVERLEAF, which Governor RON DeSANTIS's hand-picked new County Commissioner Sarah Arnold made the motion for on her very first day on the job. 

So revealing that the HUTSON corporate criminaloid family wants special favors in the County that Senator HUTSON represents in the Florida Senate.  They're entitled to make a buck, but not at the expense of government integrity and transparency and our environment.  

The HUTSONs are typical rich Republican corporate oligarchs, self-aggrandizing narcissists constantly clipping the wings of the eagle to feather their own nests," in FDR's immortal words at Madison Square Garden, Octoberr 31, 1936.  

Two of the four Commissioners who voted to rubber-stamp SilverLeaf face possible rejection by the voters this year:

District 4 Commissioner JEREMIAH RAY BLOCKER is opposed in the AjRepublican Primary by Merrill Paul Roland. 

District 2 Commissioner SARAH ARNOLD, never elected but appointed by Governor DeSantis, has not filed to run yet.  Three other candidates have signed up to run in the Republican Primary for the District 2 seat, including at least one who is allegedly supported by Senator Travis Hutson, SilverLeaf developer:

From St. Augustine Record:


State denies SilverLeaf development expansion, plans must return to St. Johns County commission

SilverLeaf wants to add up to 5,600 additional dwelling units, 250K sq. ft. of office space

The SilverLeaf development in the northwest part of St. Johns county has been approved for more than 10,000 homes. 
St. Johns County commissioners must reconsider a key part of the SilverLeaf development expansion that they approved in December. 

Commissioners voted 4-1 on Dec. 21 to allow SilverLeaf, already one of the largest developments in the county, to expand by adding 2,394 acres, up to 5,600 additional dwelling units and another 250,000 square feet of office space.

Commissioner Paul Waldron was the dissenting vote.

Commissioner Sarah Arnold, who joined the commission that day, made the motions to approve the expansion items. Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Arnold to fill the vacancy left by Jeb Smith, who was named president of the Florida Farm Bureau. 

Growth:Is St. Johns County being overdeveloped? Some residents say yes

Infrastructure backlog:St. Johns County Commission to discuss 1-cent sales tax increase

Among the items approved in December was a Comprehensive Plan amendment, which requires a state review. Because of a Florida Department of Economic Opportunity interpretation, the county resubmitted the Comprehensive Plan amendment for additional review. 

The specific request was to amend the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Map from Rural/Silviculture (R/S) and Agricultural Intensive (A-I) to Residential A, Residential C and Community Commercial (CC) for the land, which is south of the planned First Coast Expressway.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity sent a letter to the county stating the Comprehensive Plan amendment must be submitted under a State Coordinated Review Process. And the department said it wouldn't review the amendment under the Expedited State Review Process through which the county had submitted the proposal, according to a letter to the county from the department and an email from Teresa Bishop, county planning division manager. 

A county spokeswoman sent Bishop's comments to The Record.

"The board’s approval of the Comprehensive Plan amendment does not stand," according to Bishop. "The amendment will be scheduled for adoption at a later commission date, and the county is currently looking at April or May."

The SilverLeaf expansion needs the Comprehensive Plan amendment for the expansion to take place, according to the county. 

Construction workers work on a roof of a building under construction in the SilverLeaf development, north of St. Augustine, on Aug. 20, 2020. [PETER WILLOTT/THE RECORD]
SilverLeaf, which is in the northwest part of the county, was already approved for 10,700 dwelling units on about 8,384 acres, county government spokeswoman Sarah Butler said. 

Al Abbatiello, county resident chairman of the William Bartram Scenic & Historic Highway Management Group, is opposed to the addition in part because of traffic concerns. 

Abbatiello said he believes more people will show up this time to oppose the SilverLeaf expansion. 

"We will be vocal again," he said. 

If the changes are approved, SilverLeaf will be able to have a total of up to 9,800 single-family units; 4,500 multi-family units; 2,000 age-restricted units; 2 million square feet of retail; 900,000 square feet of office space; 330,000 square feet of industrial space; and 300,000 square feet of hospital space.

SilverLeaf is a master-planned community started by The Hutson Companies. It stretches from near County Road 210 all the way to State Road 16 and is approved for 10,700 homes.

The Hutson Companies is a family development firm run by Florida Sen. Travis Hutson's father, David Hutson. Travis Hutson works for the firm, including leading "the companies' charitable and civic activities," according to the business website. 

Ed Slavin's postscript: Senator HUTSON's activities include dropping money bombs on candidates who question authoritarianism and overdevelopment in St. Johns County, including Ms. Nicole Crosby, St. Johns County Soil and Water Conservation District Chair. 

No comments: