State opposed to 509-unit Mahan Drive development
By Julian Pecquet
September 16, 2008
The state has opposed the construction of up to 509 housing units — 10 times what's allowed now — in Leon County at Mahan Drive and Wadesboro Road.
Many residents, as well as the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department, opposed the land-use change that would have enabled the Rockaway development on 509 acres. County commissioners had voted to go ahead with it anyway.
On Friday, the Department of Community Affairs objected. That pleased Keith Horne, who lives in the area.
"It was so obvious that this was not in the best interest of the county or the city, and this report validates that," Horne said. "I'm just glad to see reasonableness came out of it."
The department found that the proposed change was inconsistent with Leon County's own land-use plan, which calls for development to be concentrated within the Tallahassee urban area, Woodville and the communities of Capitola, Chaires, Fort Braden and Miccosukee. It also found discrepancies with state rules that discourage urban sprawl, encourage greenhouse-gas reductions and require public facilities and services.
"I think the message that we gave when it was voted on," County Chairman Jane Sauls said, "is if DCA opposes it, it's gone."
Department of Community Affairs Rejects "Mahan Massacre"
September 13, 2008
TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA) today recommended against an amendment to Leon County’s growth plan that would allow up to 500 residential units in a rural area currently zoned for 50. The decision came in response to community-wide pressure to halt the project, including nearly 1,000 petition signatures from concerned area residents.
“We applaud Secretary Tom Pelham and the DCA for supporting the people of Leon County, rather than the interests of one well-heeled out-of-town developer,” said Damien Filer, Political Director for Progress Florida.
The Leon County Commission, which originally approved the growth plan alteration, is now slated for a final vote on the matter October 28th.
“We are confident that the Leon County Commission will do the right thing on behalf of the citizens they serve, especially now that everyone including the state of Florida has weighed in against this reckless development,” said Filer.
Located at the intersection of Mahan drive and Wadesboro road, the proposed ‘Rockaway’ development has been called “the poster child for urban sprawl,” by Tallahassee City Commissioner Debbie Lightsey.
The Tallahassee City Commission voted unanimously to oppose this massive new development located outside the Urban Services Area, and the Planning Department for the city and county said this level of development is out of compliance with our own comprehensive plan. The Leon County Water Resources Committee also recommended denial.
Despite this opposition, and the opposition of a dozen neighboring residents who waited for hours to testify against the development, the Leon County Commission voted 5-1 to move forward with amending Leon County’s growth plan to accommodate the wishes of one politically connected and deep-pocketed developer. Commissioner Cliff Thaell was the only one who voted against it. (Commissioner Bob Rackleff was out of town but strongly opposes this development.)
**Check out Ray Seaman’s excellent blog post The Mahan Doctrine: Progress In Your Backyard.
**We also received coverage yesterday from WFSU Public Radio and The Morning Show on WFLA 100.7
**A big THANK YOU to everyone who signed the petition!
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