COMMISSIONERS SAY TRACTS WILL GIVE ‘CONNECTIVITY’ WITH INDUSTRIES
By PETER GUINTA
St. Johns County commissioners this week unanimously approved a new 39-acre project directly off Old Moultrie Road that is named, not surprisingly, Old Moultrie Road.
The board approved 312 units there, then gave a green light for 36 more off County Road 305 and State Road 206, meaning that in one sitting they approved 408 additional houses in a county that has a surplus of an estimated 60,000.
However, Commission Chair Ron Sanchez said factors about both projects will benefit the county.
For example, Old Moultrie prevents urban sprawl by being “in-fill growth” with “connectivity” to the surrounding commercial, industrial and medical businesses.
The property entrance will be located directly across from South Park Boulevard. County officials said that intersection must get a signal light before the first tenant is allowed to move there.
“Many times it’s difficult to get out onto Moultrie,” said Vice Chairman Ken Bryan.
Commissioner Phil Mays made the motion to approve. It passed unanimously.
The other project, Crescent Ranches on S.R. 206, “will pretty much set the standard for that area,” Sanchez said.
The 36 custom homes will be on one- to four-acre lots with horse trails and 221 acres of wetlands.
“It could also open up contiguous development as well,” Bryan noted.
The sole owner and developer, Fredrick G. Crack, says it will be a private, gated “equestrian community” that “maintain(s) the rural nature of this section of the county.”
His application to the county says this project has something rarely seen in any development — a commitment to build bat houses as a green method for insect control.
Crescent Ranches will sit one mile east of South Woods Elementary School and one mile west of Pedro Menendez High School and have two access points off S.R. 206. The developer also agreed to contribute his half of the right of way and a drainage retention area in case C.R. 305 is ever extended southward.
Sanchez said the developer will sell the lots individually, “which does tend to favor local contractors, and that’s good for the county. I want to help local builders as much as I can.”
He made the motion to approve this project, which passed 3-1 with Bryan dissenting.
Crack said his project has taken six years to get to this point because every one of his permit applications to the Army Corps of Engineers, the St. Johns River Water Management District and other authorities was contested by a neighbor.
After this approval, he said, it might take 36 months to get the rest of the permits required and six months after that to break ground.
He, like Sanchez, expressed an interest in using local contractors and builders.
“I want to build really great custom homes,” Crack said.