Proposal is Denied on All Three Counts
At their meeting on June 17th, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted as follows:
- To deny Comprehensive Plan Amendment 20-L05 submitted by Blitch Plantation, LTD to amend the future land use designation from Rural Land to Rural Activity Center for 18.2 acres.
- To deny Application 200507Z to rezone 18.2 acres from Rural Land to Rural Activity Center; but to approve the rezoning for 5 acres within that parcel with land use already designated as Rural Activity Center. This means that the 5 acres with the future land use designation of Rural Activity Center now has the zoning to match, and development that is allowed within a Rural Activity Center can now take place there.
- To deny Application 200508SU to permit ATV racetrack with ancillary recreational uses, limited ATV sales and repair, RV Park, and event venue requested as a Special Use Permit in RAC and A-1 Zoning Districts.
What Does This Mean?
It means that the developer, Blitch Plantation, and the applicant, Double Gate, did not convince the Commissioners that these three applications were in the best interest of the community, compatible with the other uses in the area, or consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. Blitch Plantation will have to find another use for the 235-acre property, and Double Gate will have to find another location for their ATV racetrack. There will be a 5-acre portion of the property that will receive the zoning for Rural Activity Center, consistent with other properties on that corner. Any use consistent with Rural Activity Center zoning, such as a general store, gas station, or grocery, will be allowed on that 5-acre parcel.
While we are grateful for this action by the County Commission, we are especially thankful for their professional conduct during the meeting. The Commissioners patiently and intently listened to each and every public comment for over 3 hours. We thank them for listening, for reading hundreds of letters, for maintaining order and offering gracious respect to everyone who spoke. Because of their commitment to civil public discourse, the consensus of the community was allowed to emerge.
Thank you, Commissioners, for keeping the discussion civil and fair, and for respecting all who asked to be heard.
Everyone who spoke, no matter what your view, thank you. You were brilliant. Each of you had a perspective to share, and you expressed it so well. There were so many intelligent, well-thought out, and articulate views expressed in that four-hour meeting. While the public comments were overwhelmingly in opposition to the proposals, the voices of those in favor of the proposals were equally important to be heard.
Double Gate ATV proponents, thank you for your clear intentions to do something good and safe for ATV enthusiasts in the area, and for wanting to provide a service to the community. We wish you success as you adapt your business plan to another location and to the desires of the community so clearly expressed in the hearing.
You Are The Forever
Finally, we express deep, deep gratitude to our members and supporters. It took considerable resources and effort to get the word out and gather the voices of the community. You were there, writing letters, making phone calls, cheering us on, helping and giving every step of the way. You are the FOREVER in Horse Farms Forever. You are the reason that the next generation will inherit the open spaces and beautiful places that create the character and culture that make Marion County the Horse Capital of the World.
One thing was abundantly clear from the testimony – the Farmland Preservation Area is well worth protecting – it is the essence of what makes Marion County unique and special. It was a beautiful thing to listen to so many supporters convey what the Farmland Preservation Area means to them.
The farmland preservation movement in Marion County is alive and well.
We work hard to keep you informed, and to represent our members’ interests in preserving our horse farms, farmland and the unique character and culture of Marion County.
Join the herd. Every voice matters.