Sadly, the PNJ will be running a hatchet piece editorial tomorrow that inaccurately portrays the facts surrounding the OLF 8 project. Disappointing.
The theme of it is that I am attacking folks that I disagree with. This is simply not true.
I attacked nobody in my disagreement and concerns over what is being planned for OLF 8. I have expressed the concerns I have heard from residents and constituents that do not want any more high-density residential development out here until our infrastructure catches up. I can and will correct folks who inaccurately distort my position on this issue--that is not attacking someone.
Here are the facts: We have a $30 Million dollar triumph request for which we will qualify if we create a minimum of 1000 good wage-paying jobs with this property. I made the motion to sell 100 acres to NFCU for a market price plus the commitment of 300 jobs--so we only need to create a minimum of 700 more to stay in the running for that money! I made the motion to sell this 100 acres to get us closer to our jobs goal.
Triumph, to date, has not funded any residential projects--so I have stated that I do not feel residential development is appropriate at the site--for this reason and because 1200 apartments, condos, and homes are currently under construction within walking distance from NFCU's campus already. Again--we can't take any more of this high-density residential development until our infrastructure catches up...
so why do we, the public sector, need to compete with the private sector by facilitating the building of more high density residential on our soon to be acquired, taxpayer paid property?
Another big concern that I have heard in listening to my constituents is this: while there are really nifty mixed used developments and town center concepts that are put out as examples of what could be built out on OLF 8--many believe these sorts of developments belong in urban areas, not rural, bucolic areas like Beulah. Many, like me, find the CIVICON speakers to be very informative, enlightening, and educational. But not all of those concepts are applicable to a rural, suburban community that is desperately trying to retain the rural charm and character despite the growth that is occurring.
To agree with my constituents that feel this way and to disagree with others that want to build a "mini-city" in Beulah's OLF 8 field to make this area a slick "city" like in Tampa, Atlanta, or Pittsburgh--that is an attack? I disagree.
Here is the key: The county expended $17.3 million dollars for OLF 8 for the purpose of creating jobs--not for creating a "town of Beulah" or for acquiring land for residential developers. The jobs-generating project for OLF 8 was conceived, voted upon, and financial commitments were made long before I came on this board--I inherited this. Like I supported ST Aerospace at the airport (for jobs) I do continue to support growing of clean jobs out here as well.
But I also made the motion to engage a professional planner to give us a plan that takes all of these factors into account, keeps us in the running for the $30 Million dollar grant, brings some amenities to the residents out here that we desperately need, and brings us a plan that citizens county wide can benefit from to include nearby residents like me (I live across the street).
Far from attacking anyone, this is me doing my job and siding with constituents over special interests that want to build a "mini city" out here, with condos, townhomes, and low rent subsidized housing to boot.
I am not hearing many of my constituents telling me this is their vision for this property--I'm hearing "No More Residential until the infrastructure catches up!"