Monthly Archives: October 2020

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.”

We plan to continue to work to make the WAMP better than the current version including:

  • District 5 serving as a large Refuge-Habitat Park and contributing to a buffer between the USA and Rural zoning districts.
  • Removal of the road bifurcating District 5 and connecting to Bannerman Road.
  • Expanded buffers for both canopy roads (Miccosukee and Centerville).
  • A revised map and table reflecting the above provisions (see map attachment).
  • Consistent use of language and requirements for the Storm water Master Plan applied consistently to all future developments.
  • Stop-clause language requiring that when land uses for the Arch exceed what has been analyzed for the Northeast Gateway project a new traffic study shall be required.
  • Transportation road grid language for Districts 1, 2, and 3.
  • Explicit street tree requirements for all residential streets.
  • Ensuring that the design of the Northeast Gateway coordinates and harmonizes with the WAMP.

Chronology and Keep It Rural’s WAMP Development Positions.
In addition to attending the December 2020 open house on the WAMP, Keep It Rural participated in every public meeting conducted in 2020 including the Planning Commission, Joint City-County Commissions, City Commission, and County Commission meetings, and the WAMP charrettes, and at each opportunity provided written comments to all 12 commissioners, key staff, and comments on related specific agenda items throughout the process to date. In addition, we hosted a teach-in on the status of the WAMP prior to transmittal and another prior to the October 13, 2020 workshop.Keep It Rural worked hard to prevent the expansion of the Urban Services Area into the Welaunee Arch attending and speaking at all meetings, providing written comments, and accurate research and data on why the expansion was not warranted, not needed, and premature. We spoke at every opportunity from the Planning Commission meeting and Joint Workshop in February 2020 through the Transmittal hearing on May 26, 2020. We argued that the expansion is not justified economically, demographically, based on rapid growth, or on any projected current or future housing shortage needs, and directly contradicts critical Goals of the Comprehensive Plan.

Subsequent to transmittal we have worked diligently to ensure the WAMP gives strong, enforceable guidance for all Planned Unit Development (PUDs) applications so they are implemented as components of a coordinated, holistic plan, including parks, greenways and recreation facilities, street trees, stormwater, roads, schools and other infrastructure.

Keep It Rural argued, and provided research, facts and data supporting that the WAMP was not adequate and was too vague, permissive, and conceptual and would not provide the guidance required to ensure that each PUD contributed to a comprehensive and interconnected system of Parks and Greenways including expanded buffers for Miccosukee and Centerville Roads, and buffers for the transition from USA to Rural, and District 5 being designated a Refuge-Habitat Park. In addition, we have supported a comprehensive master stormwater plan, and a well-planned and connected roadway system including a Northeast Gateway design that would contribute and work in harmony with the goals of the WAMP.

Keep It Rural has from the beginning of the process to date consistently spoken in support of ATN’s recommendations including affordable and inclusionary housing, transit, and rational planning and data- based analysis, KHA’s stop-clause language, and Buckhead’s transportation and road system comments among others. We have not supported specific development density thresholds. However, now that the Arch will be in the USA and slated for high-density urban development we do support clustering the developments to minimize suburban sprawl, and to ensure that the Parks and Greenways plan, street tree provisions, and canopy road buffers are not fragmented and that the large and critical Refuge-Habitat Park comprising District 5 is included.

Procedural Positions.
In addition to opposing expansion of the USA and advocating for a comprehensive WAMP, starting in April and through September of 2020, Keep It Rural advocated for the City and County Commissions to provide for real-time virtual public comment during their meetings including providing procedural recommendations for accomplishing this and statistics indicating that counties and cities of all sizes and demographics throughout Florida were already providing this format for more effective public engagement.

Starting in April of 2020 and to date Keep It Rural responded to the lack of transparency and the haste in developing the WAMP as well as the need to take the time to solicit effective public engagement and input amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Going Forward.
Keep It Rural will continue to advocate for transparency, fairness, and equity in using public resources for private benefit, and for good growth and development practices that encourage diverse housing types and affordable and inclusionary opportunities, walkability, safe pedestrian and cycling corridors, connected parks and greenways, and alternative transportation and energy choices. We will continue to collaborate with stakeholders and appreciate the support received to date for our recommendations.

Jeff A. Blair, President—On Behalf of the Board of Directors of Keep It Rural Inc.page2image1585647552

Keep It Rural - Welaunnee Arch Master Plan Map
Keep It Rural Welaunee Arch Master Plan Map

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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The WHOLE Issue :

Controlling Commercial Sprawl Into Rural Landscapes

Summary Flyer: What the Keep It Rural Coalition is All About

It started with a proposal for a gas station and convenience store at the corner of beautiful Miccosukee and Crump Road.  This proposal unearthed long unused rules in the land use policies of Leon County.  We all soon discovered that these policies and the regulations that implement them allowed a lot more commercial development in the rural areas than anyone, including the County Commissioners, County staff, Planning Staff, residents, everyone! want.

So now the Keep It Rural Coalition is doing many things!  We’re trying to stop the proposed gas station AND bring rational land use policies to Leon County so that the rural areas remain rural.  We’re educating ourselves, Commissioners, staff and Leon County residents.

Miccosukee and Crump  – where it began!

Miccosukee Road is an old canopy road with huge trees forming a beautiful  canopy along its entire length.  At the Crump and Miccosukee intersection sits at the end of the eight mile long Miccosukee Greenway – a beautiful rural park that connects into the City of Tallahassee, many miles away.  Along Crump Road are crop fields, horse farms, sod farms, houses on lots of acres and miles of frontage of the Welaunee Plantation pine forest.

back shot

From a rural landscape to an urban one – NOT WANTED HERE!

Kangaroo 1

A permit for a large gas station and convenience store near the intersection of Crump and Miccosukee Roads in Leon County was approved May 8!  This proposed development for a gas station is the first and only one that has been submitted for permitting in the rural area since the adoption of the Comprehensive Plan in 1992.  The design is for a large station with seven  pumps and a 3000 square foot convenience store.  In addition, there is an impervious area exceeding 26,000 sq. ft.  – more than half an acre of asphalt and pavement!

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