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