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!!Continue reading