A Simple Question for the Nassau County Board of Commission:  Where’s the Beef?

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By Mike Bell
Vice President, Public Affairs for Rayonier
October 11, 2018 12:30 p.m.

For many months now, the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners (“BCC”) has accused  Raydient Places + Properties (Rayonier’s wholly-owned real estate subsidiary) of reneging on an alleged agreement to construct and maintain all future public recreation facilities within the East Nassau Community Planning Area (“ENCPA”).  To date, the County has been unable to point to any specific language in any development approval to support any of these assertions.

Years ago, in the course of obtaining County approval for residential development within the ENCPA, Raydient agreed to contribute its proportionate fair share by donating hundreds of acres of land and paying standard recreational impact fees when the planned development occurs.   Those obligations are not in dispute.  Recently, however, under pressure to improve park facilities county-wide, the BCC and the County Attorney have tried to revise history and claim that Raydient also committedto construct and maintain the public recreation facilities to be placed on the donated park land.  Yet, they cannot point to a single provision in any of the development approvals that committed Raydient to such an atypical and excessive demand.

The BCC has been peddling a false narrative in a public relations campaign to smear Raydient.  It’s time to set the record straight.

The County regulations and land use approvals applicable to the ENCPA are a matter of public record.  Raydient never committed to fund the costs to construct and maintain the public recreation facilities or the entire costs associated with any public facilities within the ENCPA.  Simply put, those are functions of the local government.

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The County has previously admitted that it has done a poor job of planning and funding recreation parks and facilities throughout Nassau County.  The only logical conclusion to be drawn from the County’s recent tactics is that it now seeks to coerce Raydient to serve as its bailout.

We recognize that, as a result of the County’s misinformation campaign, citizens are left thoroughly confused and are not sure what to believe.

Thus, the simple question to be posed to the BCC is what specific language in any of the development approvals requires Raydient to fund the construction and maintenance of future public recreation facilities within the ENCPA?  If the County cannot answer this question, then what are we fighting about?

(For those interested in learning more about the facts surrounding this dispute or would like to read Raydient’s development approvals for themselves, we invite you to click on the following link:  https://info.raydientplaces.com/the-truth-about-nassau-countys-dispute-with-raydient)

 

Mike Bell

Mike Bell is the vice president, Public Affairs for Rayonier, a public Timberland Real Estate Investment Trust and the parent company of Raydient Places + Properties.

 

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10 Responses to A Simple Question for the Nassau County Board of Commission:  Where’s the Beef?

  1. brandon farmand says:

    I suppose the issue here may be that Mr. Dan Camp, who was Director of Project Management, and the liaison to the Board of County Commissioners for Raydient (at that time TerraPointe/Rayonier) during the courting phase of this venture, made some representations to the Board that Raydient no longer wants to honor/pay for. Mr Camp has moved on to other employment it seems, according to his LinkedIn profile. It also seems the County is in a pickle, because those representations weren’t formalized into a written and signed agreement, leaving us with this current he said/she said dispute.
    https://fl-nassaucounty2.civicplus.com/887/BOCC-Statement-on-RaydientENCPA

    • brandon farmand says:

      Probably should add, that if this is how Raydient is choosing to play their cards, so be it. As disengenous as the whole thing is, they wouldn’t be the first corporate land owner to squeeze a city or county for cash. But the BOCC should move to dissolve the benefits they provided Raydient, in exchange for those verbal commitments. No reason to be punitive, but presumably the county offered X because Raydient said Y. Raydient shouldn’t get the benefit of X anymore.

    • Vincent Cavallo says:

      The county is in “a pickle” here of its own doing. What ever possessed supposedly smart individuals to enter into a multi million $ agreement with the important issues left to a hand shake. I wonder how many of our dodos bought or sold a home without a contract which specified all contingencies and had their attorney look it over? My guess, none. This whole problem arose because our “leaders” seem to be in a pell mell rush for “economic development” Well they will get their wishes because when this heads off to court, our economic development will be to enhance the pockets of a bunch of attorneys. In the end, the taxpayers will lose.

  2. Gerald Decker says:

    Rightly said. The relevant Development Orders agreed to by the county are silent on who pays for recreation area development. The DO’s do stipulate that Raydient will provide the land. Seems the county is on weak footing here.

  3. Chuck Hall says:

    I find it difficult to believe that every single commissioner agrees on the same points, yet they are all wrong about the verbal agreement?
    Perhaps it’s time to just start over.

  4. Terry Jones says:

    here’s the BEEF mr bell—-i don’t want county taxes to be spent on your ‘for all practical purposes’ closed gate development—–does the county pay for plantation or summer beach green areas? why should it pay for yours? u should have green areas because it enhances the value of your properties—-

  5. Frank Quigley says:

    What did or didn’t happen, or what either side perceives to have been any agreement, the Wildlight/Nassau County impasse will not bring down the county. Whatever way it may, or not, be resolved. My two cents is Raydient ought to be a good steward regarding common area and public amenities.

    That said, hopefully this situation is but one object lesson for the county. I’ve seen the future and it’s my (pre-Disney) hometown, Orlando. Yikes!!!

    Development is coming to NE Florida and needs to be managed. The key lesson is to negotiate hard on the front end of any deal with any developer and get commitments in writing. Handshake promises made with the best intentions can be shelved, for example when the economy sinks and such promises can’t be afforded. Anytime a developer gains financial incentives or regulatory easings there should be an agreed upon – in writing – quid pro quo.

    The economic development board is focused on growth. It’s what they do. But all growth is not good growth, certainly not growth simply for the sake of growth. Which seems to be happening. Citizens and government need to demand responsible growth that does not ruin the the region. Life is good here. We live in a virtual wildlife preserve. We have minimal pollution. Our tree cover is a treasure. Open space is vital. Our waters are clean and full of fish (and dolphins, and manatees). We should be able to say this in 10, 20, 30 or 40 years to the future. Shame on us if we don’t. Developers need to be held accountable and should pay their fair share. If not, each of us will have to pay more than our share and we won’t like it here anymore.

  6. Tim Walker says:

    Did the County Commisioners and the county attorney read the agreement before approving it? Evidently not..

  7. Wes White says:

    Somebody’s pants are on fire.

  8. Mark Brummer says:

    Start over and do this right on behalf of Nassau County taxpayers. Remember, there is nothing more powerful than TRUTH.

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