• Proposed D.R. Horton development on Fish Island draws large crowd at St. Augustine meeting

    By: Courtney Cole , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Some St. Johns County residents are concerned about what a new development near State Road 312 could mean for the environment and their quality of life.

    Homebuilding company D.R. Horton wants to build up to 170 homes on more than 70 acres of undeveloped land in an area known as Fish Island.

    Action News Jax reporter Courtney Cole attended the Planning and Zoning Board keeting in St. Augustine, where plenty of people showed up to let their voices be heard.

    On Tuesday afternoon, the Alcazar Room at City Hall was overflowing with residents to discuss D.R. Horton's proposal to build 170 single-family homes on an area known as the Fish Island Peninsula on Anastasia Island.

    The 72-acre area is surrounded by the Intercoastal, State Road 312 and Plantation Island Drive south.

    “Where are all these people going to go?” asked Andrew Welton.

    He’s been living on Anastasia Island for more than 30 years.

    Right now, Welton lives down the street from the area in question.

    "Beautiful piece of property and it's wetlands and they want to develop all that and make upper high- end homes,” Welton told Action News Jax.

    Developing the area means cutting down trees, displacing wildlife and more traffic.

    Some who live in the area are also concerned about what chemicals from construction could do the Matanzas River.

    One person who spoke to Action News Jax said new development is inevitable in an area as highly desirable as St. Johns County.

    “You can't stop progress. It's a nice area and the influx of people coming into St. Augustine is incredible,” said William Morrell.

    He told Cole he lives in a D.R. Horton home and also previously worked for D.R. Horton in New Jersey.

    Some St. Johns County neighbors t old Action News Jax they’re also concerned about the historical and archaeological aspect of the site being compromised if D.R. Horton is allowed to develop.

    The Fish Island Peninsula was once a citrus plantation.

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