Keep It Rural – News

Canopy Road

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  • 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!


    • LEON COUNTY AMENDED THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AND REVISED THE RURAL FUTURE LAND USE SO THAT RURAL LANDS WILL ONLY BE FOR AGRICULTURE, SILVICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES BASED ACTIVITIES AND VERY LOW DENSITY RESIDENTIAL USES.Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Every member of Keep It Rural.  Every one who contributed to the cause, participated in the events, spoke and wrote to staff and Commissioners, newspapers and radio stations on the behalf of our rural lands.  Thank you!!If you want to read the new Rural Zoning and Rural Future Land Use, check out the following urls (try cut and paste, or go to the top website)
    • Comprehensive Plan, Land Use Element: Policy 2.2.1 (pg 29) Comp Plan Rural Future Land Use
    • Leon County Land Development Code: Rural Zoning: Sec 10-6.612 Leon County Land Development Code Rural Zoning

  • 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!!!

    This farmland and homesite was settled by Adlai “Jack” and Rosetta Crump many decades ago.

    As neighbors, we’ve protected water, trees, dark skies, street safety, home values and a rural way of life.   A year ago in March 2014, more than one hundred people gathered near this same corner for a panel discussion with Leon County neighbors to learn about the proposed gas station & convenience store. We talked about working together to Keep It Rural and a coalition was born.

    Today, we celebrate the preserved historic farmland as part of Leon County’s rural heritage. This farmland and homesite was settled by Adlai “Jack” and Rosetta Crump many decades ago. Adlai Stevenson “Jack” Crump, lived in Leon County his entire life.  A business owner, community leader and successful farmer, Crump was awarded  the “Outstanding Farmer in America,” by the U.S.D.A. Jack and Rosetta Crump’s family are known for their entrepreneurial leadership and long standing community service. Crump Road was named after this Leon County family of many generations.

    So come on out and enjoy live music, locally-grown food, and real down-home fun! Visit with your neighbors. Bring a camp chair and some food or drinks to share.  

    The Keep It Rural team will also update us on the incredible progress being made working with the county to protect other rural places.  See you there!

    –Your Leon County Neighbors & Friends


    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:

    LaBamba BrothersSarah MacHarvest Gypsies & FriendsScott CampbellTom SchmickRychlik-Bradley Family Band

    Come buy some Holiday Presents from you neighbors donations:

    The Silent Auction includes a hot air ballon adventure, kayak trips, books, artwork, jewelry and more. Bring your checkbook!