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Gwynn Farms Subdivision Packs Fort White Town Hall – Document Issues Table Preliminary Plan Approval

Fort White Town Hall packed for Gwynn Farms discussion

Read more about Gwynn Farms:
Oct.17, 2023  Gwynn Farms Subdivision Packs Fort White Town Hall – Document Issues Table Preliminary Plan Approval
August 23, 2023  County Chairman Rocky Ford Resigns From Joint Fort White – Columbia County Utility Committee
August 19, 2023  Fort White Gwynn Farms Subdivision: Citizens Gather

June 29, 2023  Fort White Town Council: South Columbia County Growth On Tap Tonight
June 3, 2023  Fort  White Gwynn Farms Major Subdivision: Twists, Turns, & More Questions Than Answers for the Town Council

FORT WHITE, FL – Last night, the Fort White Town Council, acting as the Planning & Zoning Board (P&Z), had only one item on its agenda: the approval of the preliminary plans of the Gwynn Farms subdivision. Gwynn Farms is a 104-unit (117-acre) residential subdivision being developed by County Commissioner Rocky Ford. On the P&Z docket was the preliminary approval of Phase 1, 49.34 acres and 43 lots.

After the meeting got underway, Fort White resident Jacqui Sulek addressed the P&Z. Ms. Sulek has a home on the SW corner of the total footprint of the subdivision. As an environmentalist and homeowner, Ms. Sulek has concerns.

Ms. Sulek had written a letter to the Town Council explaining her concerns.

Ms. Sulek addressed the Council, reiterating her concerns. She said there were "major concerns" regarding the unapproved subdivision phases. Ms. Sulek claimed a home built on the subdivision footprint had drinking water issues, which were reported to the Department of Health.

Ms. Sulek was also concerned about sinkholes in Gwynn Farms, threats to the groundwater and the Santa Fe River, and increased traffic on Paisley Court, her street, and an inevitable increase in local traffic.


On August 7, 2023, at the request of Town Clerk Connie Brecheen, North Florida Professional Services (NFPS) Project Manager Dalton Kurtz sent a copy of the preliminary plan to the Town. (In order to read the small print, download the file and then expand it).

Before last night’s meeting, discussions were had by just about everyone concerned with the project.

Planner Lowell Garrett
Town Planner Lowell Garrett explains the plan in front of the Council. A packed house out into the street and the lack of a PA system made it very difficult to hear him.

Besides curbs, gutters, lighting, sidewalks, and traffic, Town Planner Lowell Garrett recommended three changes to the preliminary plan drawing: 1. Remove one lot as a home had already been built on the lot; consecutively number some lots; and at the end of one of the roads build a cul de sac.

The resolutions prepared by the Town reflected these changes. The trouble was that the changes were just about the only things readable on the Garrett modified preliminary plan drawing. The original preliminary plan drawing was not provided to the Town Council at the meeting.

Town Planner Lowell Garrett was soft-spoken, and without a PA system or microphone, he was difficult or impossible to hear or understand while explaining the changes he had made.

After much confusion and some discussion, the Council tabled the plan approval until readable documents could be provided.

County Commissioner Rocky Ford in Fort White Town Hall
Commissioner Rocky Ford, a Fort White resident, addresses the Town Council

The Council Meeting: Commissioner Ford Weighs In

After the Town Council meeting was gaveled to order, Commissioner Ford addressed the Council. With the project in the works for three years, Mr. Ford was not happy.

He accused the Town of numerous faults and said he would de-annexing his subdivision from the Town.

He shared that sentiment with your reporter this morning, although he did sound like he was cooling down a bit.

Epilogue: The Gwynn Farms Subdivision

Residents in the South End of Columbia County know that growth is coming, and most folks are not opposed to Mr. Ford's subdivision as long as the environmental, traffic, and quality of life concerns are addressed intelligently and responsibly.

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