Despite listing a myriad of reasons not to approve construction of 704 new homes on Woodbine Road, Santa Rosa County Commissioners were told July 9 they have no legal choice but to approve the development.
County Attorney Roy Andrews said the board they had no choice but to vote yes on the preliminary plat and construction plans for Lakes of Woodbine, a massive private subdivision planned for the Pace area.
He called it an administerial act.
“There is no legal basis for denial of this,” Andrews said.
But County Commissioner Sam Parker, who represents the Pace area, questioned if it was wise to approve the project given the current state of infrastructure in the area. He pointed out Woodbine Road is in need of expansion, but no funding has been set aside for that project. He pointed out that schools in the area are at or near their capacity, and with COVID-19 the county is facing a budget shortfall.
Parker said he voted in favor of the first step of the plan last year because it was the choice between 700 homes and 900 homes, but Parker said a lot of things have changed.
“Talking with the neighbors, frustrated is probably an understatement for the residents of the woodbine corridor,” he said.
But with the input of Andrews, Parker said he was not “tone deaf.” With reassurances that the developer will provide new right turn lanes and a traffic signal on Woodbine, the board voted 5-0 to approve the plat and construction. That vote included Parker.
Read the full story in the July 16 issue of Navarre Press, or subscribe at navarrepress.com/subscribe.