Tues. 6 pm Columbia County Planning and Zoning Meeting, to stop O’Leno RiverRise from changing primitive camping to a 100 unit RV spot within 281 feet of the Santa Fe River




Tuesday Nov. 15 2016 at 6 pm the Columbia County Planning and Zoning Board will have on their agenda an application for a Special Exception for River Rise Preserve Equestrian and Campground Improvements.  A few people who ride horses in the River Rise Preserve want to bring their RVs there with a dump station and make 20 campsites on the banks of the river.

The  application calls for adding “amenities” which in reality consist of new infrastructure  i.e., roads, an RV dump station, 20 RV campsites, a new bathhouse and a drainage ditch.

This dump station will be within 281 feet of the Santa Fe River, yet the application says there will be no impact.   There are many sinkholes in the area.

The campground is zoned Conservation Zone District, called primitive, and Columbia Co. admits the property is in an aquifer “ vulnerable area.”  Keep in mind the Santa Fe River is an outstanding waterway, is impaired and in recovery, and has too many nitrates already.

The county Environmental Health Dept. has not yet issued a permit for the septic and dump station.

Please come to this meeting and ask them not to.  There are RV campsites at O’Leno, they don’t need to develop the Santa Fe riverbanks in the Preserve.

Additional info received:


In the case that anyone in the neighborhood is interested in the posted Special Exemption applied for by River Rise Preserve, just across Hwy 27, details can be found at the following address:


From this page, please download the Board of Adjustment Agenda Pkg.
The portion related to the RV campground begins on page 33 of the .pdf
The Special Exemption application with Col. Co. does not specify details of the planned development.  Instead it indicates relocation of the current campground.  After speaking with the park manager, this is not the case.  The current campground is primitive.  The proposed will be the addition of an RV park with electricity and water at each site.
Besides the addition of infrastructure, pull through sites, bathrooms, dump station and the associated septic systems to provide for 20 RVs, it will contribute a new and regular traffic of RVs of unrestricted size in and out of the Preserve at the Mapleton/River Rise junction.
As currently written, the special exemption will provide for ” <100 sites over the 407 acre subject property”.   So while O’leno Park Manager informs his plans are for 20 sites within a limited acreage, it appears the special exemption, following the current wording, could allow expansion up to 99 sites within this 407 A “Preserve” portion of O’leno.
If you are interested in learning more or speaking, please consider attending the public meeting this coming Tuesday as follows:

Planning and Zoning Meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 15th, 2016, 6 pm
School Board Admin Complex
372 W. Duval Street
Lake City, FL


Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson
Organizing Representative, Sierra Club
2070 SW County Road 138
Fort White, FL  32038
352-222-8893  cell
386-454-1542  office

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


1 Comment

  1. I cannot make the meeting but am VERY opposed t the exemption. I ride horrses in this beautiful preserve several times a week. The water sources are too fragile, and the acreage too small for this type of impact. Many trees will be destroyed, and the preserve will n longer be a wildlife sanctuary.
    Ann Lane — how can I get my voice heard?

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