St. Johns County holds round table on managing growth | News

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St. Johns County holds round table on managing growth
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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — St. Johns County is one of the fastest growing counties in the country with discussion on Tuesday focusing in on how to better prepare for the future.

A crowded conference room was filled with ideas on ways to get a leg up on development - already nearly 2,300 home permits granted through October this year. While housing stats are not as high as before the crash in 2005, home building is on a huge upswing in various parts of the county, with Nocatee leading the charge.

"We are becoming Jacksonville, we are becoming something that I don't think most of us want," said B.J. Kalaide who was one of many speakers who wanted to voice her concerns to the county commission.

Commissioner Rachael Bennett said part of problem is having staff that can plan.

"Our planners are really reviewers... are not enough of them to actually plan," said Bennett.

In 2005, the county had the most building permits ever - topping 4,500. This year St. Johns is on a pace to push 3,000 with next year expected to be just as strong.

The meeting did not end with formal changes in planning, but the promise was made conversations about growth management are need to keep ahead of the curve.


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