We've received the best news we could receive short of the application for development of the Outpost being withdrawn or denied.

St. Johns County staff sent a strongly worded report to the applicant (Ponte Vedra Corp.) in response to their revised application, and the county's ten-page list of comments includes several significant obstacles to development of the Outpost property.

County staff does not agree with "Res C" zoning, and furthermore states "subject property is designated Conservation on the Future Land Use Map. A Comprehensive Plan amendment is required. Any proposed amendment may be reviewed and heard at public hearings concurrent with the proposed PUD."

In April, PVC's Attorney told the Ponte Vedra Recorder, “All PVC has ever asked for is a fair hearing in front of the county commission, applying the existing comprehensive plan to their application.” It looks like "all they ever asked" is not going to happen.  A comp plan amendment is what PVC was hoping to avoid. 

The report paid special attention to tree conservation: "On several areas of the property very large trees were observed that may qualify as specimen trees."  It calls for steps to be taken to protect these trees and it went on to say preserving specimen trees can "drastically effect grading plans" since it noted that adding more than 6" of soil on top of a tree's roots can kill the tree. The report also directed the applicant to "determine the number and location of all specimen trees on the property," pointing out that  if a specimen tree is found to be in the middle of a lot,  it would render the lot unbuildable. 

If you look at the drone footage of the uplands in our video above, you'll see potential for many specimen trees to be located at the Outpost property, since the upland area where they want to build is forest.

We were also pleased that the county made the point that the "GTMNERR and the Guana Wildlife Management Area have the potential for impact with light, noise, runoff, loss of habitat and other kinds of issues that come with residential development." PVC was directed to contact the manger of GTMNERR for comments on their proposed activities over  "sensitive wetlands communities that are connected to adjacent GTMNERR."   Somehow, we doubt the manager of GTMNERR will look approvingly on human activity over such such wetlands.

The county has also pointed to potential traffic problems on Mickler Rd that will be impacted by the addition of "72 new, external p.m. peak hour trips and 628 average daily trips." According to the report, the stretch of Micklers Rd. from 210 to A1A is already classified as "deficient with total committed traffic at 124.7% of the approved peak hour service volume capacity." Mitigation on the part of PVC may be required.  Furthermore, staff disagrees with PVC about the number of vehicle trips generated by the development, and turning lanes would have to be added to both Neck and Mickler Roads. This obviously impacts private properties adjacent to those required added lanes. 

Raising yet another potential obstacle, the county referenced two archaeological sites present on the Outpost property  - "a significant cultural resource to St. Johns County." Testing and monitoring will be required.

Those are just a few of the many points made in the report.

In other positive updates, the Ponte Vedra Recorder acknowledged our one-year anniversary with a nice article and photo featuring our new banner (that keeps enlarging if you keep clicking on it) here.  And we're getting lots of views on our new video (inspired by Joni Mitchell) at the top of this page. Please click on it and share.

We've sold dozens of our beautiful yard signs which are really raising awareness for our cause. (Thank you photographer Craig O'Neal.) We're about to place another order and you can have a yard sign in a week if you reply to this email with your choice. We're asking $25 to cover our cost which you can pay here or when you get the sign. Reply to this email and request: spoonbill, owl, baby egrets, ospreys, red-winged hawk, heron, gopher tortoise or "nightmare."

Have a great August!  Things are looking up.  Don't forget to order a bumper sticker for your car if you don't already have one! 

Nicole Crosby and Gary Coulliette
Co-founders, Save Guana Now

View of shoreline of Outpost property that Save Guana Now is striving to save from development.