ST. JOHNS, Florida. – There was standing room only Wednesday night as hundreds of people packed a church in Fruit Cove, rallying against an apartment and townhouse project that would be placed in a predominantly rural neighborhood.
Residents tell News4JAX the rezoning and building application has not been filed, but they are preparing with a well-organized campaign, even printing letters and sending them to St. Johns County leaders opposing the plan.
According to RISE’s site plan, the company wants to build age-restricted apartments and a townhouse community. Developers would need county approval to rezone part of the land in order to build.
Thu Nguyen attended Wednesday evening’s meeting. She said her extended family lives in the area.
“We just want peace and quiet,” she said. “I mean, I encourage growth, but not here. Keep it preserved. Keep it beautiful.
Dawn Hutchins helped organize an effort against the proposal with the group “Save Fruit Cove” – taking action to draw attention to the proposal and block its progress through local government bureaucracy.
She said it all starts with zoning.
“Once they rezone that part, it makes the areas around it compatible with that new zoning, so it just starts from there and continues,” Hutchins said.
She said her mind was blown by the number of people who showed up for the meeting.
“It gives me so much hope,” Hutchins said. “I’m so proud of our community for coming out and responding so quickly.”
Organizers say the fight could be a long one and they encouraged participants to keep showing up and making their voices heard with local leaders.
On Wednesday, more than 4,000 people have signed a petition on change.org against the proposed development.
A request for comment Wednesday from RISE was not returned by the publication of this article.
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