Patrick and Brenda Heck left the crowded suburbs of West
Jacksonville in 1991 for the peace and quiet of rural Clay
County, where grazing horses are never far away.
Brenda Heck said there's no comparison between Jacksonville and
the more blissful surroundings they've called home for seven
"It's not so densely populated here," said Heck, whose six
grandchildren love to visit the 2-acre spread off County Road
218 between Middleburg and Lake Asbury.
And that's the way they and many other homeowners want to keep
Patrick Heck joined about 75 residents at a public hearing at
Lake Asbury Elementary School March 26 to voice their opposition
to a proposed land-use change that could dramatically increase
the density on 2,300 acres along portions of County Road 218.
"It was obvious that all 70 of the people in the room [who
signed a sign-in sheet] were of one mind," Heck said.
The areas proposed for a land use change are in two tracts,
including 935 acres of timberland on the 28,000-acre Shadowland
Farms, owned by the Reinhold Corp. The density in that
agricultural area is restricted to one residence per 20 acres.
The other area, much of which already is developed, extends
from Blanding Boulevard to just east of Seminole Village.
Density in that area is limited to one residence per 5 acres.
The proposed change to the rural fringe designation would
permit up to three residences per acre on the undeveloped
portions of the 2,300 acres.
If the measure is approved, Heck said, development might create
the same kind of conditions that motivated him and his wife to
leave their Jacksonville neighborhood years ago.
"The reasons we moved from the Westside of Jacksonville was,
basically, crime [too much of it], schools [too crowded] and
quality of life [too stressful]," Heck said.
He said it's not at all like that in Seminole Village, a
subdivision of mostly 2- and 3-acre home sites where he built his
home on Warrior Drive. Rural Seminole Village was
platted before the comprehensive plan was adopted in 1991.
The Clay County Planning Commission is scheduled to review the
proposed land-use amendment May 5. A recommendation could be
sent to the County Commission as early as May 26.
"We'll take the input from the citizens to the Planning
Commission and we'll tell them what the input was," said Lynn
Weber, a member of the county planning staff. …