Growth stumps county

Growth is a great thing. When our children are growing we measure off every inch marking the same door frame over and over so we can see how tall they are getting. We make plans for the next inch by buying the next size up in clothes and shoes. We replace the crib with a toddler bed and then a real bed. We plan for their growth and know there will be changes coming. We even put money into a savings account to prepare for their future.

Planned growth makes everything work smoothly. On the other hand, if you don’t plan for growth, the consequences can be severe, you end up broke and things can get out of hand quickly. Speaking of out of hand, Navarre’s population has more than doubled since 2010. For a community our size, that is an incredible growth rate. And now that we are all here – and more people are coming, who is planning? Why weren’t they planning years ago?

Drive down Avenida de Sol and you will see a house being built up high on a mound of dirt. On both sides of it and behind it are homes  built below it that have been there for years. How can builders get away with that? Who approves it? Because it isn’t just approving the house to be built up higher  to prevent the house from flooding. It is also approving the eventual flooding of the homes around it when the water washes downhill to their properties. And there is nothing those property owners can do about it. Maybe it is signed off with a “bless their hearts” and a shake of the head. Avenida de Sol is not the only place that kind of thing is happening. It is happening in Holley by the Sea and other neighborhoods as well. In fact, almost every vacant lot being developed is raised up, because when it rains in Navarre – it pours – and it floods. There go the neighbor’s property values.

More people moving into south Santa Rosa has brought more cars to an already saturated U.S. Highway 98. Plans are in the works to widen the only through route east and west. The Florida Department of Transportation released maps showing the right of way property that would be used for the widening. It is an eye-opener to see that red line cut through businesses, parking lots and even some backyards with pools. Who planned that? Who approved building or parking or anything in a right of way? These businesses will either have zero parking or they will have to relocate. At the very worst they will have to close. There go those jobs, places to spend money, and businesses that pay taxes.

Holley by the Sea seems to be the only place where the citizens are taking action through their homeowners association board. They are working with the county to get changes made. We applaud Yvonne Harper and the board for making such a stand and for becoming involved to solve a problem. We are disappointed that the citizens have to hand-hold the county through this. Perhaps they will take what they learn from Holley by the Sea and apply it elsewhere. Maybe they will actually plan for our future – because the future is here.

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