Water so bad the egrets say no to sex

“Impaired” water is how the government describes it. You shouldn’t swim in it. You shouldn’t drink it. You shouldn’t eat fish taken from it. In fact, it’s not even safe for fish and other creatures living in it. And Florida has more “impaired” water than any other state, a March 17 report says. “Florida is … Read more

New Yorkers are doing it their way – in Florida

Nearly 160 New Yorkers move to Florida every day. New York is a “tax hell,” Florida’s chief financial advisor Jimmy Patronis told Fox Business. That – along with the rising cost of living and high commuting costs – drives many people to leave. A fifth of New Yorkers who moved to Florida in October 2020 … Read more

Florida fails acid test

Florida’s delicate environment is especially vulnerable to the impact of oil and gas exploration, yet the state’s system for keeping public records on oil and gas projects “is unorganized and unintuitive to navigate” and some data is “mislabeled or missing entirely,” according to a January 2022 report. A nine-person team from the University of Southern … Read more

Hundreds of citizen petitions oppose growth

Nearly 200,000 people throughout the United States have signed 236 change.org petitions aimed at stopping growth and development that they see as harmful to their communities.Florida residents launched 22 of the petitions as part of what change.org calls the Stop Disruptive Building in Our Community movement. Below are excerpts of some of the petitions along … Read more

Sold: More than 30,000 acres of timberland worth $94,122,535

In April 2020, the St. Augustine Record reported that a New York investment group had bought more than 35,500 acres of timberland in St. Johns County. I dug into St. Johns County property records to see if I could identify the exact parcels that the Sequoia Fund purchased. The Record said the fund bought the … Read more

Hey, how about a multi-family performing arts center?

Feb. 14 update: Elizabeth Smith reports that Albert Syeles no longer wants to build the performing arts center on the 33-acre property described below. She said Syeles told the St. Johns County Civic Roundtable that he is seeking another location. On Friday, a neighborhood activist in St. Augustine, Florida, gave me a tour of a … Read more

Skinny beach deters condos

Urban sprawl hasn’t taken over Flagler Beach quite yet. The town has more than six miles of gorgeous beachfront property, but most of it “cannot be developed because of the narrow strip of land located between SR A1A and the beach,” according to the city’s 2035 comprehensive plan. “All development, with the exception of the … Read more

Activist: “We need these wild spaces.”

Elizabeth Smith is leading an effort to preserve 33 acres of open space near her neighborhood in St. Augustine, Florida. Below are excerpts of an interview with her: We don’t want this land developed at all. We feel that there must be some concession made not only to the wildlife who lives here, but also … Read more

Resident: “You went bonkers with development”

St. Johns County officials asked the state of Florida to fast-track a major change – adding 5,600 dwelling units and 2,394 acres to a huge residential development called SilverLeaf. State officials rejected the proposal, saying it exceeded both state and county guidelines. “…the County should resubmit the amendment package under the state coordinated review process … Read more