CRAWFORDVILLE, FL (#WTXLDigital) - A proposal to add a R.V. park to the Wildwood Golf Club in Wakulla County has some residents wondering how this new development fits into the larger vision of Wakulla County.
The R.V. park would be built on the Southeast side of the golf course, next to HWY 98 and Lonesome Rd. The facility would be equipped to accommodate 70 R.V.'s at a time that could stay in the park for up to 6 months, according to documents provided to the Wakulla County Commission.
Residents have been speaking in support and in opposition of the project; some excited about the cash it could bring to the county, others worried about having campers in their backyards. So far, residents have twice been able to express their support and concerns to Planning and Zoning Board members as well as County Commissioners.
Ray Alexander, the owner of a home on the golf course, explained to commissioners at last week's commission meeting that as a Wakulla County resident and camper himself, he is in full support of the R.V. park.
"You're going to be drawing a lot of people from around the country. Not only that but they are going to spread their purchases around the county, they are going to look for good seafood, restaurants and so on," said Alexander.
A resident of Lonesome Road, Keith Johnson, decided to put his concern into a question for commissioners, "From my backdoor to the property line of the golf course is 126 feet and you're going to put R.V.'s in my backyard. My only question to the people who are proposing this is would you do the same thing to your property; would you put an R.V. park in your back yard?"
That question affected Commissioner Howard Kessler who said he believed the park would lower the property values of surrounding properties and would increase noise levels. Randy Merritt also said he was against the project despite the fact that he has voted in favor of land use changes brought to the board in the past.
"They are going from a driving range in their backyard to an R.V. park in their backyard. [The property owner] may have the nicest R.V. park in the world, but it's still an R.V. park," said Merritt.
At the encouragement of the commission, Wildwood property owner David McQuary scheduled a Thursday meeting with residents of Lonesome Road to discuss their concerns.
WTXL has reached out to all 5 commissioners since the October 5 meeting.
Kessler and Merritt both said based on the outcome of the meeting between McQuary and the residents, they would consider voting in favor of the zoning change.
Commissioner Thomas says he thinks the R.V. park can be created without it being detrimental to the neighbors. He goes on to point out that many of the concerns neighbors may have with the R.V. park will be brought up again if the zoning change is passed. McQuary will have to bring a site plan to the commission for review.
Moore is waiting to make a decision until the vote and we are waiting to hear back from Harden. The vote is scheduled to take place after another public hearing on Monday, October 19.
Discussion of the proposal was brought up again at a Town Hall meeting hosted by Commissioner Kessler on Tuesday. This time though, residents were asking how do proposals and facilities like these fit into the larger picture of where Wakulla County is headed.
"Do we have any kind of like, real plan for what we are suppose to be doing here... It's like, well the more development we bring, the more jobs, the better. But I don't see anything that's more than minimum wage jobs coming in... Who's in charge of really having a vision for this county and what's going on?" said Wakulla resident Jean Beck.
Kessler and other town hall participants went back and forth to try and answer the question; ultimately concluding that the vision for the county comes from its elected officials and by default, the people that elected them. The irony of that discussion being held on a night where many rushed home to watch the Democrat's first presidential debate was not lost on the room.