Category Archives: Issues

What Happened to the Keep It Rural Park Plan?

On November 10th, KIR is supporting the adoption of the Welaunee Arch Master Plan (WAMP).  The Master Plan plan contains many of the components of the KIR Park Plan we proposed many months ago.  Here’s the run down:

  • Open Space set aside of 40% remains intact.  Over 1900 acres of the Welaunee Arch will eventually be designated as “open space” of which at least 1500 acres will (probably) be actually fully preserved as natural areas accessible to us all via the Welaunee Greenway and other trails and bike paths.  
  • This Open Space will include the option of creating a large habitat reserve in the northeast corner of Welaunee – by Roberts and Crump road, though an alternative development process that would result in leaving District 5 (Phase 3) undeveloped and “transferring” its open space to District 4 (Phase 2), the largest residential development area.  
  • This is what we negotiated in the last 3 weeks.  The creation of this habitat reserve is not guaranteed as we could not convince the City or the landowner that as they had already agreed to the 40% Open Space set aside, creating a habitat park was a good way to accomplish it.  They insisted that we come up with some sort of “option” for developers. We did. And finally they have accepted it.  BUT we must all work to make sure this actually gets fully implemented!
  • Canopy Roads have an additional 75’ to 150’ of buffer for trees to grow, saplings to replace them and a location for the Welaunee Greenway – the long linear park around the periphery of the Arch.  Given the condition of the land inside Welaunee and other considerations, KIR is satisfied that this additional buffer will probably protect the canopy road trees for a long time. Hopefully forever!
  • Buffers for existing Residential Development have been added to the Master Plan to protect Buckhead and at least as a nod to the extensive rural residences and agricultural lands to the north and east of the Arch.  This will continue to be an issue as Welaunee is envisioned as a suburban development but it is backed up against rural parcels of many different sizes and rural uses AND the huge, thousands of acres large plantations of the Red Hills.  There is a lot more protection that needs to be taking place for all of our rural land in Leon County.  Its NOT the next place to suburbanize!

What the Master Plan DOES NOT HAVE:

The Welaunee Master Plan does NOT have any clear description of an intent to build a PARK SYSTEM out of a substantial portion of the required 1900 acres of open space, protection of nearly 1000 acres of wetlands and floodplains, the requirement of much of the residential development to be clustered to create connected green spaces, and the potential for a 400+ acre Habitat Park.  The applicant – the City of Tallahassee – has remained silent on the value that such a park system would bring to ALL of the residents of Tallahassee, not just to the new residents of Welaunee.  They haven’t said a word about how this would be creating a connection from Elinor Phipps and the Overstreet Greenway, to this new Welaunee Habitat and the existing Miccosukee Greenway and then to the JR Alford Greenway.  The Welaunee Park System is the “missing” jewel in our Emerald Necklace.  This is what we need to convince the future City Commissions – the value of CONNECTED COMPLEX PARK LANDS!!  

KIR has done our best in setting the stage, making a “park like” system of open spaces, habitats, buffers and connected development part of the Welaunee Arch Master Plan.  So we support the Master Plan – and we support making sure it gets improved, fully implemented and the City of Tallahassee does right by its residents and make sure the developer of Welaunee does right by us!!

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Comments on Welaunee Arch Master Plan – Pamela Hall

Finally – we’ve gotten to a version of the Welaunee Master Plan that KIR can support.  We thank both commissions for the Oct 13 workshop direction to incorporate our idea that will, hopefully, create the Welaunee Habitat Park.

This Habitat Park is a component of a Weluanee Park System that KIR proposed many months ago.  We are happy to say that much of our proposal is being incorporated into the MP – but that was always an easy thing to do.  Because, unlike how it was often characterized, the KIR proposal was NEVER a mandate or a takings.  It was just a way to better organize the Open Space requirement the City and landowner had agreed to when this CP amendment was FIRST submitted in November of LAST YEAR.  We are thankful that both the City and the landowner agreed early on that an OS requirement is a good thing for such a large development and could be easily parlayed into an asset!

KIR proposed park system was well informed by data, analysis and expertise.  I remind you – in my previous existence I was a professional forest ecologist and a conservation biologist.  KIR board members also have similar professional experience. We know something about using open space well.

The OS requirement of 40% means about 1900 acres of land will not be developed within the Arch.  About 1000 acres of this is already identified as Comp Plan protected features such as wetlands and floodplains.  This leaves about 900 acres upland habitat – woods, fields and pine plantations that will also have to be set aside.  Note – HAS TO BE SET ASIDE.  This is NOT KIR mandate, this was in the MP from day 1.

Our proposal was to start with the 1000 acres of identified environmental features and use the 900 remaining acres to add:

  1. Extend the buffers for the canopy roads so those tree populations could persist in perpetuity and provide a place for the Welaunee Greenway.  This is in the MP.
  2. Create buffers for existing residential development and a separation of the Urban Services Area from rural land that are NEVER intended to be suburbanized. This is in the MP.
  3. Identify a large “Habitat” area, uninterrupted by human development, that supports ecosystem functions, protects imperiled species and coincides with the Urban services boundary buffer. This will be in the MP if you vote right tonight!
  4. And to still have plenty of land left over in the Open Space set aside requirement to create smaller parks and corridors within the developed area that would connect all of these together as development proceeds.  This is in the MP.

There was ALWAYS PLENTY of REQUIRED open space to preserve habitats  AND create lots of places for humans to walk, bike, ride and play.  And none of this changed development rights one bit.

Well – this is what we proposed last spring. So, thank you for finally understanding.

Please vote for the option that adopts the amendments that fully support the KIR alternative development program.

KIR Statement on Welaunee Arch Master Plan

November 6, 2020

Welaunee Arch Master Plan (WAMP) Update and Requested Action

Keep It Rural supports the revisions to the Welaunee Arch Master Plan (WAMP). The Alternative Development Program provides a viable mechanism and incentive program for the creation of the Welaunee Habitat Park in Phase 3 – District 5 (with the caveat and proviso that the last sentence of Policy 13.2.44 (1)(B) be deleted in its entirety). We appreciate the refinements that have been made to the WAMP resulting from listening to and responding to stakeholder concerns. Developing the WAMP has been a long, hard, year-long negotiation and should not be repeated; however, irrespective of the process issues, we have finally landed on a planning document protective of our Community’s values.

There are many good planning concepts and environmental protections incorporated in the WAMP including the 40% open space set-aside requirement, phasing requirements, stormwater master planning, street trees, a grid street network, expanded Canopy road and neighborhood buffers, the interconnected and contiguous system of parks and greenways, and of course a mechanism for creating the Welaunee Habitat Park. We want these provisions and protections in the Comprehensive Plan in order to ensure that future development is in harmony with our Community’s desires.

On this basis, and because of the changes made to incorporate stakeholders’ concerns we support adoption at this time. In addition, we are concerned that further delay without specific proposals for revisions will not lead to a better plan and could lead to no agreement on the WAMP leaving the issue wide-open, and we want to ensure that the Community has a good framework for development of the Arch codified in the Master Plan before a developer purchases the property.

Finally, in order to enhance the WAMP we continue to support Buckhead’s grid street network proposal for the NE Gateway District; weshare Killearn Homeowners Association’s transportation concurrency concerns, and we support harmonizing the document globally for consistency and conformance with the stated intent of key policies and objectives in order to ensure there are not contradictory or confusing provisions.

With the change that we have requested to Policy 13.2.44 (1)(B) the Welaunee Habitat Park is a win-win for our Community writ large and the primary reason we now support the WAMP. Thank you for your continued support, and we ask that you support Keep It Rural’s efforts and position for adoption of the WAMP on November 10, 2020.

Jeff A. Blair, President—On Behalf of the Board of Directors of Keep It Rural Inc.

Welaunee Arch Master Plan

Overview of Keep It Rural’s Participation in Development of the Welaunee Arch Master Plan

Dear Friends,

Current Status.
The action taken by the Joint Tallahassee-Leon County Commissions during the Welaunee Arch Master Plan (WAMP) workshop was not the motion proposed by Keep It Rural. We specifically argued against Option 1 (staff recommendation for the WAMP) and Option 2 (to conduct the adoption hearing on November 10). We proposed an Option 4 directing staff to revise the WAMP to include our Parks and Greenways Plan including the Refuge-Habitat Park that would encompass Land Use District 5, to incorporate a Transfer of Development Rights mechanism to implement the Refuge-Habitat Park, and to schedule another joint workshop in November 2020. We also spoke in favor of ATN’s, KHA’s, and Buckhead’s comments. What transpired is that the commissioners voted for Option 1 and Option 2, and included a provision for an optional open space transfer mechanism that could be used to create a Refuge- Habitat Park. They did direct staff to work with community stakeholders and to cross-reference and harmonize inconsistencies in the WAMP including the use of “shall” vs. “should.”

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Welaunee – Webinar

The KIR board presented a webinar introducing the Citizen’s Master Plan for Welaunee along with an analysis of the current status of the development. Attached is a video recording of the presentation and comments by the public who attended.

We are providing a copy of the presentation for review by the public, staff and commissioners.

Leon County Commission Adoption Public Hearing and Workshop / Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 6 p.m., Fifth Floor, Leon County Courthouse
To submit written comments for consideration by City and County Commissioners visit before 8:00 p.m. on Monday, October 12, 2020. Written comments received by the public will be posted on the City’s website in advance of the hearing.

Interested parties wishing to provide virtual real-time public comments must complete and submit the registration form provided at by 8:00 p.m. on Monday, October 12, 2020. If these links are not working, please complain to the city/county commissioners.

Up-to-date information can supposedly be found at the Welaunnee Arch Master Plan Comp Plan Amendment page.

Working Together We Did IT!


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Join Your Neighbors in Picnic & Celebration

SUNDAY MARCH 8, 2015  AT  3:00  –  5:00 PM

We stopped a gas station
from being built near the
rural intersection of Crump and Miccosukee!!!
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Benefit Concert for KIRC


Sunday from 3 to 7 pm

American Legion Hall at Lake Ella

$15 per person Cash or Check at the door

Come listen to local musicians:

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Together we have stopped the gas station!

One last hurdle to leap over!

After weeks of negotiation, a settlement agreement was recently reached through the legal mediation process. As part of the agreement, Keep It Rural, Inc. will purchase all commercial development rights to the property and end the permit–forever!  

Now KIRC must raise the final funds needed to meet the settlement agreement terms. We are off to a very strong start, but have one last fundraising hurdle to clear. We have raised more than two-thirds of the funds needed.

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