Sunday, October 02, 2022

St. Johns County commission votes against industrial park proposed for farmland. (First Coast News)

There were dozens of us who spoke against the hare-brained Elkton Industrial Park proposal, ignored by monopolistic, pro-developer, promise-breaking GANNETT's incredible shrinking St. Augustine Record

Cheers for all who opposed this oxymoronic "Industrial Park!"

The same day, Commissioners voted unanimously to reject another misguided proposal, for thousands of new homes, by vote of 5-0.  

  • While running puff pieces to promote this industrial park, the Record didn't cover our 4-1 victory in County Commission, defeating this latest devious developer scheme, which would have taken farmland and opposed up the area for speculators.
  • And now, GANNETT's unreasonable facsimile of the Record no longer prints its readers' columns, having destroyed its once-vibrant Opinion page, once daily, and once with two (2) pages on Sunday. 

You can watch the hearing here:

As Finley Peter Dunne's fictional character, "Mr Dooley," a Chicago bartender, famously said, "The Supreme Court follows the election returns."  

So too, did St. Johns County County Commission follow the election returns, as I knew they would, and told them so.   

Developers are still shocked by the August 23, 2022 Republican Primary victory of Krista Keating-Joseph and her ringing 175 vote margin defeat of ambitious Commissioner JEREMIAH RAY. BLOCKER, a citizen revolt that also shocked: 
  • BLOCKER's wife, LAUREN BLOCKER, a County Court Judge appointed by Governor RONALD DeSANTIS last year, and 
  • their pal, Sheriff ROBERT HARDWICK, and 
  • their funders, including developers, alcohol and gambling interests.
ROGERS TOWERS lawyers and developers were gobsmacked, flummoxed and flattened.

It's about time.

From Jessica Clark and First Coast News, a duopoly of two network affiliates in Jacksonville (once owed by GANNETT, now owned by a GANNETT spinoff that started with the same stockholders): 

St. Johns County commission votes against industrial park proposed for farmland

The land would have had to be rezoned from agricultural to light industrial.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Denied.

That’s the decision about a warehouse distribution center proposed for a stretch of farmland in St. Johns County.

The much debated project came to a head Tuesday at the St. Johns County Commission.

The commission chambers were packed with people had their reasons why it should and should not be allowed.

Elkton is a small farming community between St. Augustine and Hastings.

Chris Shee bought the 90 acres in question. It’s about four miles west of I-95 on State Road 207. He wants to build two large warehouses on that farmland, with up to 1.2 million square feet of industrial space. That’s a little bigger than The Avenues Mall in Jacksonville. He says the organic food distributor KeHe is interested in this site.

"This is a much-needed industrial park in St. Johns County. We have to stop being such a bedroom community for Jacksonville," Shee told commissioners.

Most people in the room who spoke during public comment were opposed to the idea of rezoning the property from agriculture to light industrial. Reasons included concerns about increased traffic, creating a precedent to rezone more of the area to industrial, and losing farmland. 

Most, but not all the farmers, in the area who spoke Tuesday told commissioners they oppose the project.

There were others, even some employees of Kehe, who strongly support the project. They say it would bring good-paying jobs to the county. 

In the end, the county commission denied the rezoning and the project 4 to 1.

RELATED: Industrial warehouses bigger than the Avenues Mall proposed for farmland in St. Johns County

RELATED: Land on Jacksonville's Northside could be used to build apartments and parks, but neighbors believe the land is tainted from ash waste

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well if you speak out against the industrial park then I guess that means you speak out against jobs as well. You have to take that into consideration as well. The less jobs there are...the more people have to drive to work...more impact on the environment in the long run. Just food for thought..