Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tara Farms Up in Arms over Growth Development Is Unwanted

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tara Farms Up in Arms over Growth Development Is Unwanted

Article excerpt

Byline: R. Michael Anderson, County Line staff writer

GREEN COVE SPRINGS -- Carol Nechvatal and many of her neighbors in the Tara Farms neighborhood of Doctors Inlet don't like what they see happening to their rural community where most homes sit on sprawling lots up to 5 acres in size.

It's growing. And it could grow much faster next year if state regulators approve a plan that would increase housing density in the area along Sleepy Hollow Road.

Following a public hearing Tuesday night, the Clay County Commission endorsed a proposed change in land use on nearly 150 acres of woodlands behind Tara Farms. The parcel has been designated for light industrial development since the county's comprehensive plan was adopted in 1992, but has remained vacant.

Now, South Doctors Lake Corporation wants to develop a housing subdivision on the land for more than 300 new homes but need approval from the county and state to amend the comprehensive plan. That was the subject of a contentious hearing Tuesday evening.

"It is not compatible with our community," said Nechvatal, who moved to Tara Farms from Mandarin 11 years ago to escape urban life and enjoy the rural life where she could ride her horse.

Despite objections raised by Nechvatal and others, county commissioners accepted a recommendation from the Clay County Planning Commission to approve the request and transmit it to the Florida Department of Community Affairs for review.

"Apparently nobody's listening," Nechvatal told commissioners. "You just want to shove in people right and left . . ."

Nechvatal and other protesters said the increased traffic and noise generated by 310 new homes would forever change the quality of life in the community and further impact already overcrowded schools and roads.

"This is a major issue with us," said Jim Elias, who lives on Brickyard Road off College Drive a short distance from Tara Farms, "and we have had zilch input."

Holly Schriefer, a senior county planner, said that's not accurate. She said residents in the area have been afforded opportunities to express themselves about the proposed land use change in public meetings held by the Doctors Inlet-Ridgewood Planning District Citizens Advisory Committee. …

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