Sierra Club Cuts Losses on Nocatee

Article excerpt

Byline: Lisa Woods, Shorelines staff writer

Now that a lawsuit against St. Johns County regarding the Nocatee development has been resolved, environmentalists will watch to see how the 15,000-acre community planned west of Ponte Vedra Beach develops.

Last month, the Sierra Club dismissed its lawsuit against the Nocatee development because the organization didn't want to keep spending money and time on the case, and because it had failed in two previous lawsuits, Sierra Club officials said last week.

The suit was filed against St. Johns County and was dismissed as part of the October settlement reached between the organization and the developers.

Although the settlement marks a clear victory for Nocatee developers -- the Sierra Club didn't receive money or land -- attorney Warren Anderson, who also chairs the Sierra Club's Northeast Florida group, said it will continue to fight for the environment on other issues.

"We have decided that our resources are better spent pursuing other remedies for ensuring smarter growth, curbing urban sprawl and protecting the quality of life for our families for the future," Anderson said.

The Parc Group, developers of the community planned for northeast St. Johns County and southwest Duval County, received a guarantee that the Sierra Club wouldn't sue them during the first five years of the 25-year project.

Greg Barbour, president of The Parc Group said developers would focus their energies on the development, not on lawsuits. He said the Nocatee plan will preserve and incorporate nature into all areas of the community.

"It is in our best interest to be responsible stewards of the land and Nocatee's plan will set a new standard for development in this area," Barbour said. …