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One Maybe Small Step And One Pretty Giant Step For The River

OSFR President Pam Smith defending the river

A very busy and unusual meeting of the Bradford commissioners last night April 20, 2017 in Starke.  The regular meeting began about 105 minutes late because of an emotion-ridden Building and Zoning meeting beforehand.

As it turned out, this meeting pertained to the interests of OSFR, as it dealt with the issue of a 75-acre, 400-unit RV park to be situated adjacent to a wetlands feeding into Lake Santa Fe, and thus into the Santa Fe River.  Emotions ran high as the loud and sometimes rowdy crowd let their voices be heard in opposition.  OSFR president Pam Smith added to the reasons that this was a very bad idea, one we see over and over when a developer wants to make a buck at the expense of the environment and the rural ambiance.  And the developer wins over and over.

Except this time.


Carol Mosely                                   Charlie Trowbridge                               Jane Blais                               Kate Ellis

 

Well, this one ended very differently than expected, thanks especially to Commissioner Vice Chairman Ross Chandler, who had the integrity and courage to suggest that these elected officials might want to enact the will of their constituents that they represented.  Following the enlightened leadership of Mr. Chandler,  all the other commissioners except Commissioner Durrance followed his lead.

In the years your historian has been attending these meetings, this may be the first ever witnessed that the board’s vote was mixed.  Hard to believe.  This is heady stuff!

One for the river.

                                    
Pam Smith                                                                        Will Sexton                                               Jim Tatum

As to the mine item on the agenda, the board felt pressure to take action very soon in regard to their next step.  Not knowing what to do, and possessing meager and inadequate LDRs as a guide, the board appealed to the county attorney, Will Sexton.

Of the options outlined by Mr. Sexton, the board chose by vote to request of their attorney that he identify a consultant for assistance.  Previously, it was understood by your writer that the consultant was to review the mine application and LDRs.  This was not clarified last night  which leaves something of an unanswered question.  We hope this is a small good step.

Legal representatives for the mine were present and they apparently hoped to forego a county consultant and proceed to a public hearing.

Thanks to all those who defended our river at this meeting.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life:  once taken, it cannot be brought back-