Media Contact: Alejandro Barbero
March 22, 2018 10:00 a.m.
Editor’s Note: We believe less is more, especially when it comes to understanding the dispute between the Nassau County Board of Commissioners and Raydient. In our quest for information, we asked Raydient to provide a more succinct summary to issues raised by the Nassau County Board of Commissioners. For those who thrive on detail, there are links available for your review. We will offer the Nassau County Board of Commission through its county attorney an opportunity to chime in. We thank Alejandro Barbero of Rayonier for responding to our request.
For over a month now, certain Nassau County officials and staff have alleged that Rayonier / Raydient are not living up to our agreements or meeting our commitments. All of our agreements with Nassau County are a matter of public record. For your readers that have an interest in learning more, here they are:
• Nassau County 2030 Comprehensive Plan Recreation and Open Space Element (ROS)
• East Nassau Community Planning Area (ENCPA)
• ENCPA Master Land Use Plan (Object. FL.13, Policies FL.13.01-17)
• ENCPA Mobility Plan and Fee Agreement (June 2015)
• Detailed Specific Area Plan (DSAP #1) Development Order Amendment (May 2015)
• Nassau County Impact Fee Ordinance (Ord. 2016-02)
Nassau County officials allege that Raydient committed to pay for all parks and recreation facilities within the 24,000-acre East Nassau Community Planning Area. They have yet to produce a copy of any agreement that substantiates their claims, despite our respectful requests to do so. A PowerPoint slide, out of context, is not an “agreement” and it wasn’t a “promise” either.
With respect to funding for future county public parks, it is clearly spelled out that: a) developers contribute land, b) builders pay recreational impact fees and c) the county is responsible for construction and maintenance.
In addition to the County’s requirements, we either have already provided, or have offered to provide, $3.8 million worth of additional value in Detailed Specific Area Plan #1 (see map), of which Wildlight is a part of, in the form of: a) additional land (14 acres), b) funding for a civic facilities study ($150-200K) and c) accelerated funding for parks ($3 million), as shown in the March 13, 2018 letter to Nassau County.
As almost everyone is aware, Nassau County hasn’t constructed a new park in Eastern Nassau County in decades. As per our commitment, the 156 acres of land we will donate in DSAP#1 alone (see map) will more than triple the land available for county public parks today (67 acres) in the Yulee area (Census Tract 503).
Had the county seen fit to process the Chester Rd. DSAP#2, a development order that was originally proposed approximately 2 years ago, the 58 acres of land we would have donated would have in part expanded the size of the Yulee Sports Complex. It is highly likely that today kids would be playing in ballfields that would have been constructed in the expanded sports complex.
Years after our agreements were signed, in the summer of 2017 we were asked to sign a “blank check” to build and maintain all public parks in the ENCPA area. The estimated cost of the Yulee Sports Complex public park expansion alone far exceeded any proceeds Raydient Places + Properties would have received from the sale of the land to the active adult community developer interested in the Chester Rd. DSAP#2.
We answered by offering to fund a Civic Facilities Study to define what needs to be built over time and when so that we could then collaboratively discuss a variety of funding solutions available. The County has yet to accept our offer.
By articulating our commitments and proposals, it is our sincere hope the March 13, 2018 letter will be the first step toward reengaging with the County in a positive collaboration for the benefit of the entire County and its residents.