Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Big Plans for Darien's New Boundaries; North of Town: A Builder Plans to Construct 150 Single-Family Homes on 100 Acres. South of Town: The 20 Square Miles of Wetlands Will Be Used to Promote Ecotourism

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Big Plans for Darien's New Boundaries; North of Town: A Builder Plans to Construct 150 Single-Family Homes on 100 Acres. South of Town: The 20 Square Miles of Wetlands Will Be Used to Promote Ecotourism

Article excerpt

Byline: CAROLE HAWKINS

Darien will soon uproot its old city limit signs and then put down new ones at new boundaries.

The city passed through its final legal hoop last month in its bid to annex property on two sides of town.

On Aug. 23, the U.S. Attorney General's Office said it had no objection to annexations of 100 acres of undeveloped property along the north end of Darien and of 20 square miles of marshlands and rivers to its south. Justice Department approval of city annexations is required in Southern states to safeguard voter rights.

This latest decision clears the way for developers to build approximately 150 single-family homes in the planned subdivision to the north. The developer had sought the annexation to take advantage of the city's water, sewer, trash collection and fire protection services, City Manager Brett Cook said.

The southern annexation will allow Darien to promote ecotourism on the primarily state-owned property, which includes parts of the Altamaha Wildlife Management Area. Attracting tourists to a nature experience will be the perfect way to promote growth in Darien while protecting the environment residents value, city officials say.

"We understand the opportunities that development can bring us, but we also honor our responsibilities to the community long term," said Community Development Director Frank Feild.

City planners in conjunction with Department of Natural Resources representatives will begin discussing how to turn the old Butler Plantation dairy barn on U.S. 17 into a Scenic Byway interpretive center.

Displays of area history will be one of the draws, Feild said.

"This was an old rice plantation here. They also had a dairy barn," he said. "In the 1930s they raised some of the finest Jersey cows in the world here."

The interpretive center will also showcase the area's "incredible ecology," according to Feild. …

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