Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Camp Blanding Rezoning Draws Large Crowd to McRae

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Camp Blanding Rezoning Draws Large Crowd to McRae

Article excerpt

Byline: ANNE SPONHOLTZ

A proposed county ordinance calling for a 3-mile military zone around Camp Blanding has property owners upset, and they came out in force to a meeting last week at McRae Elementary School.

More than 180 people, many standing through the hour-long meeting, cheered, clapped and at times gave standing ovations as property owners opposing the wide scope of the ordinance spoke.

The crowd and speakers, many of whom own property near Camp Blanding for generations, made it clear to military and county officials present that they were patriotic, respected and revered the military and had little problem with Camp Blanding as their neighbor. But they also made it clear that infringing on property rights beyond Camp Blanding's border was unacceptable, and if the county passes the ordinance as proposed, they would be willing and able to take the matter "all the way to the Supreme Court."

Their main concerns were having their property designated as a military zone, which they said would decrease property values, and other restrictions such as limiting the number of homes within the military zone to one home per 10 acres. And speaker after speaker said the county's proposed ordinance was taking a state statute that mandates counties to address compatibility of development with military installations too far, as the only mandate is to have an ex-officio non-voting representative from Camp Blanding on the county's planning and zoning commission.

Former Clay County Sheriff Jennings Murrhee said that although "you don't physically take my property," such a move was reaching into his pocket by devaluating his property. And when County Attorney Mark Scruby said that Murrhee and others were wrong in their interpretation of the Florida statute and that the ordinance must address criteria as well as having a representative on planning and zoning commission, Murrhee took to the floor again. …

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