Protect Our River by Defeating Blue Springs Bottling Plant

 Congratulations! to Maine, USA for a victory in similar struggle to ours…May it be long lived. 

 Our Santa Fe River, Inc.

www.oursantaferiver.org

1-454-386-2366

 000_07 BlueSpringsmap3
Alert:

Gilchrist County Commission Meeting
Tuesday September 30, 2008, at 6 PM
at Trenton High School Auditorium
Trenton, Florida
1013 North Main Street 

Our Santa Fe River, Inc. has been sharing information with you for nearly a year regarding 4 more water bottling facilities coming to the Santa Fe River within a 3-mile stretch of riverfront. They could withdraw a combined total (with the one already operating, CCDA or Coca-Cola/Danone), of 1.3 billion gallons yearly.  We were including you with all this info, so that when the time came you would be ready to come to government meetings and voice your concerns, or simply come as a warm body in protest of this outrageous business… the business of bottling your public natural resource, WATER, for huge corporate profits. 

 WE NEED YOUR HELP now to show your support for the health of the river, springs and aquifer.  Voice your opinion on the future of water use.  Let your public officials know how you feel about this type of business depleting more water than any one of our towns use in one year.   We urge you to mark your calendar, save the date, and be there to make your statement a part of our history.

Background:

 Suwannee River Water Management District issued a water use permit to Blue Springs Properties in 1997, and then again in 2003. They revoked it during 2007, because of lack of follow through. In a letter dated August 13, 2007, Suwannee River Water Management had requested Blue Springs to supply them with one or more of the following examples, but not limited to in order to fulfill their permit requirements: 

          “an agreement with a vendor with specific dates,
a county-approved detailed site plan and approved zoning conformance,
letter from the county with specific dates,
a detailed business plans with specific dates,
evidence of construction.”  

After the revocation, Blue Springs requested an Administrative Hearing (a private meeting with SRWMD) to ask for a continuance as to supply the District with the above mentioned request of information. 

 In 2003, Blue Springs attempted to persuade Gilchrist County commissioners to change their 31 acres from Agriculture (Ag-2) to light industrial use. Gilchrist County refused the change of land use zoning then.  Now, Blue Springs Properties wants Gilchrist County comm. to allow for a “Special Use Permit” on their Ag-2 land to build a plant.

   During the Gilchrist County Planning and Zoning meeting on March 17, 2008 the P&Z Board unanimously voted against the “Special Use Permit” to build a facility.  Over 200 citizens attended this meeting and over 50 voiced their concerns during the meeting.

Blue Springs Properties had another Administrative Hearing with the SRWMD around the time of the Planning and Zoning meeting in March 2008.  At this time the district reduced Blue’s allocation to 500,000 gallons daily versus 528,000 they were permitted. (They are still permitted a maximum allocation of 660,000 gallons daily).  They also reduced their campground water use permit from 32,000 gallons to 16,000 gallons daily.   OSFR requested to be present during this meeting with the District, but we were told it was a “private” meeting between the two parties…Blue Springs Properties and the SRWMD… and their lawyers.  So we are not certain why they reduced the allocation.  During this meeting the two parties agreed that the entire 5 member board of the county commission must be present to vote on this issue. 

NOWthey are all present.  You can find their names and addresses below.  We encourage you to write to your elected officials and tell them how you feel about these kinds of businesses in your neighborhoods.  It does not matter what county you live in.  ALTHOUGH, they really want to hear from the residents of Gilchrist County.  But we will all be affected in our quality of life.  The rivers and roads join us all together and we must preserve them for our future generations. 

 Now the County Commission must hear the request through due process and vote to decide the fate of our aquifer, springs and river and or way of life.  

 Talking Points:  

 1. The Santa Fe River system is designated by the state of Florida as an Outstanding Florida Waterway. 

 “Outstanding Florida Waters are rivers, lakes and other bodies of water designated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), under authority of Section 403.061 (27), Florida Statutes, as worthy of special protection because of their natural attributes. Outstanding Florida Waters have special restrictions on any new activities that would lower water quality or otherwise degrade the body of water.”   Wikipedia   

 2. The water, when bottled in plastic containers (derived from oil), would be transported in large trucks outside this area for corporate profit. Each 16 oz. plastic bottle requires ¼ of its size in oil during manufacture and shipping.

 3. CCDA (Coca-Cola/Danone) is less than a mile from Blue on CR 340. CCDA is already permitted to extract up to 1,728,000 gallons daily from the aquifer.

 4. Key words: concurrency and safety.  Traffic would increase with an additional 272 truck trips per day and employee vehicles, right next to the bicycle path and on a school bus route. CR 340 already bears additional vehicular traffic, as the area has been popular for suburban and rural residential development, it is a growth corridor for future development and it is used by thousands of tourists every week that frequent Poe Springs, Blue Springs, Ginnie Springs and Rock Bluff on the Suwannee River.  This type of traffic will also be using the Main Streets of High Springs and Ft. White to get to Interstate 75, miles away. 

 5. We were recently in a legally designated water use restriction period. Restrictions are to be enforced by the local municipalities, Gilchrist County in this case. Reducing water availability from our public natural resources, during times of drought, is particularly poor management. Many residential wells were compromised, and more will become dry if  drought continues…as predicted.

  6. There are vacant factory jobs available in Bell, High Springs and Alachua, a few miles away. 

 7. Bottled Water Plants generate noise and light pollution which is not compatible with rural residential development and recreational land uses.

GILCHRIST COUNTY

BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

District I

Sharon Langford
6650 SE 75th Ave.
Newberry, FL 32669
(352) 472-2629 (Home)

District II

D. Ray Harrison
4599 SW 90th Ct.
Bell, FL 32619-1935
[email protected]

District III

Randy Durden
P.O. Box 251
Bell, FL 32619
(386) 935-3256 (Home)

District IV

Tommy Langford
6650 NE 55th St
High Springs, FL 32643
(386) 454-3022 (home)
Email: [email protected]

District V

Kenrick Thomas
P.O. Box 885″
Trenton, FL 32693
(352) 463-6101 (Home)

Board of County Commission

Secretary

Patty McGagh, Deputy Clerk
Trenton, FL 32693
(352)-463-3170
[email protected]

Gilchrist County

Planning Director

Division of Planning and Development

Taylor Brown
209 SE 1st St.
Trenton, FL  32693
352-463-3173

[email protected]s

 Secretary

Planning & Development Department

Belinda Wilkerson
209 SE First St.
Trenton, FL  32693
352-463-3127 Office

 [email protected]

 Planning and Zoning Commission

Alan Mikell
1500 SW 105th St.
Trenton, FL  32693

 Johnnie Martin
6849 SW CR 341
Trenton, FL  32693

Michelle Crawford
3829 S. U.S. Hwy 129
Bell, FL  32619

 Roosevelt Stalvey
889 SE SR 47
Trenton, FL  32693

 Tammy Davis
P.O. Box 1182
Trenton, FL  32693 

 County Administrator and

Community Development Director

Ron McQueen
209 SE 1st St.
Trenton, FL  32693
352-463-3198

[email protected]

 Administrative Assistant

Office of the County Administration

Julee Brideson
209 SE 1st St
Trenton, FL  32693
352-463-3198

[email protected]

 Our Santa Fe River, Inc.

1-386-454-2366

[email protected]

www.oursantaferiver.org

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