Save and Protect St. Johns County

save and protect st johns county fl-vote Ann Taylor County Commissioner 2024

Slow the Growth and Protect St John’s County!

We love the beauty and diverse habitat of St. Johns County. In recent years, we have seen county commissioners vote to destroy thousands of acres of mature tree canopy and do little to expand our preserved areas.

With the support of current Commissioner Krista Joseph, we, Ann-Marie Evans and Ann Taylor, propose a three-point initiative called Save and Protect St. Johns County.

Protect and Save St. Johns County

Slow The Growth

1) Slow the growth. We will slow the growth of our county by not irresponsibly approving more development than our infrastructure can support. We will listen to our constituents and recall the words of Paul Waldron who voted to deny the 5600-home SilverLeaf expansion because there was “not enough public benefit.”

False claims are currently being made by commissioners about the supposed legal necessity of voting to approve developments; however, our county attorneys have not warned of lawsuit threats if developments are denied.

Commissioners are not legally obligated to rezone a parcel or change its land use if it’s incompatible with surrounding use or if area roads are overcapacity.

We must also be mindful of the approximately 56,000 homes already approved, but not yet built.

Protect More Trees, Less Clearcutting

2) Protect more trees, less clearcutting. We will promote changes to the Land Development Code to better protect our tree canopy, with our prime focus being to reduce the amount of clearcutting currently allowed in residential development which is 95%. That number can be reduced.

We will explore goals proposed that were rejected outright by the majority of commissioners at the Oct. 17, 2023 BOCC meeting – and consider other protections as well. The rejected recommendations included leaving natural buffers when a new development goes in, increasing 17-year-old fines for illegal tree removal, using the tree bank only for trees, notifying residents within 300’ of a new development, protecting longleaf pines, and other very reasonable, practical policies that have been adopted by other counties in Florida.

Developers were open to some of these changes, but all three incumbents voted to not consider a single one.

Preserve More Land

3) Preserve more land. Our county is being clearcut and developed at a rapid pace, and several commissioners have stated that they believe enough land has already been preserved in St. Johns County.

St. Johns County commissioners have put very little land into conservation for the past six years. The McCullough Creek Conservation Area was the last major acquisition in 2018.

To date, the Land Acquisition Management Program (LAMP) has only yielded one small acquisition in THREE YEARS due to its insufficient funding, total lack of state matching initiatives, and commissioners attempting to spend what meager LAMP funds we have on land that can’t be used and enjoyed by residents.

The LAMP program with its limited funding was never meant to replace major preserve initiatives on the part of the BOCC, but that is what has occurred.

Currently, commissioners point to land set side by developers as the county’s program for preservation!

These include unbuildable wetlands and are not known to be environmentally significant parcels. Although we do support developers continuing to set aside land to preserve, that does not make it “a preserve.”

Furthermore, commissioners have overstated by nearly 50% how much land is currently protected in our county.

Vote on August 20, 2024 For Change!