June 14, 2021
The St. Johns County Civic Roundtable has very serious concerns regarding the extremely large-scale Greenbriar Helow project in the NW sector of the county. We would hope that the Commission will give careful review and further examination of this proposed project.
Greenbriar Helow proposes building 3,500 homes and 2.5 million square feet of new commercial space which is larger than the St. Johns Town Center (1.4M sq. ft.) in comparison. Currently the development tracker indicates the NW sector has 25,984 residential units/houses approved and approximately only 5,254 units have been built.
Greenbriar Helow is 2,211 acres zoned Rural Silviculture and falls outside the approved area for development in the Comprehensive Plan. The county is losing agricultural land at an alarming rate as the fastest growing county in the state and agriculture has been a critical economic sector in our County.
The county’s staff report states the following:
"The subject property is a large area of land with a Future Land Use Map designation of Rural/Silviculture, which is outside defined Development Areas. It should be noted that the County’s Comprehensive Plan encourages infill development within Development Areas (Policy A.1.2.2.) and discourages Comprehensive Plan amendments on lands designated Rural/ Silviculture or Agriculture-Intensive unless the applicant can demonstrate the amendment provides economic development, job creation, preservation of natural environment, or other public benefit."
The size of Greenbriar Helow will over tax the county’s limited infrastructure and needs further study. Again, the county’s staff report indicates:
"The County does not have adequate revenue resources at this time to complete capacity improvements, nor is it anticipated that the proportionate share contribution will be adequate to complete these improvements. The applicant has indicated intent to execute a Development Agreement to address adverse development impacts over s 20 year time period; as well, other funding revenues may be identified in the future. Concurrency commitments would be not required until prior to subdivision construction plan approval. "
Furthermore, there is uncertainty over how the new statutory limitations on impact fees will affect a large-scale development such as Greenbriar Helow.
These are just some of the reasons why the Civic Roundtable cannot support the Greenbriar Helow project moving forward at this time. Thank you for your consideration of our views.
We appreciate your service to our County.