by: Russell Colburn, Action News Jax Updated:
Community activists are fighting to preserve a section of land in Ponte Vedra Beach known as "the outpost."
Activists say it’s home to countless species of wildlife, but developers want to turn a portion of it into a major subdivision.
The movement, Save Guana Now, is gaining traction online. Organizer Nicole Crosby said the group has hundreds of followers.
“We’re fighting to preserve those 99 acres of land, 76 of which they want to build a major development on,” Crosby said.
In addition to its online petition, Save Guana Now has put up signs all over the area near Neck and Mickler roads.
“If they build on 76 acres of uplands, imagine displacing 76 acres of animals,” Crosby said. “That right there would be devastating.”
The developer is Gate Petroleum.
A Gate representative told Action News Jax its subsidiary, Ponte Vedra Corp., owns approximately 100 acres of the land.
Gate couldn’t provide renderings of what the subdivision, Vista Tranquila, would look like, but said it has finished its analysis and has made filings with St. Johns County.
Gate’s experts contend they’re within their rights to develop a portion of the land. The company does not plan to build on wetlands.
A Gate representative sent a statement on the controversy:
“For more than three years, Ponte Vedra Corp. has been asking St. Johns County to timely review and process its proposed development under the current comprehensive plan and land development regulations.
"With the recent court decision, we look forward to the opportunity to present our development proposal and the steps we are taking to ensure the protection of sensitive areas with our property.
"The debate and attempts to prevent development on the property and to characterize the entire 100-acre parcel as sensitive conservation land is simply a land grab by some who want to utilize our private property as their own private greenway.”
Crosby contends that’s not what Save Guana Now is doing.
“We're asking them to abide by the law, and keep it conservation land, because that's what it is,” Crosby said.
For more information on the campaign, visit Save Guana Now's website.
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