High Springs board delays vote on Bridlewood plan  

A High Springs resident gives pubic comment as others listen, lining the room and stacked at the door.
A High Springs resident gives public comment as others listen, lining the room and stacked at the door. (Photo by Seth Johnson)

Residents filled the chairs, stood along the walls and waited three deep at the opened doors to the City Hall chamber in High Springs on Tuesday evening for a Plan Board meeting.  

On the agenda: a Tractor Supply variance for its new store on US 441 across from Winn-Dixie and a 2,000-unit planned development proposal for a new Bridlewood subdivision.  

Nobody had public comment for Tractor Supply, but almost everyone had comments for Bridlewood.  

The Plan Board voted to delay a final decision on the Bridlewood planned development after two and a half hours of presentations, questions and public comments.  

While city staff has worked on the latest version of the project for more than a year, part of the development’s legal standing to build stretches to a platted development approved in 1925. 

Chair Donald Alderman, left, Vice-Chair Bradley Riddle, center, and Member John Walsh, right, voted to delay action on the Bridlewood development.
Photo by Seth Johnson Chair Donald Alderman, left, Vice-Chair Bradley Riddle, center, and Member John Walsh, right, voted to delay action on the Bridlewood development.

High Springs staff said that plat has never been abandoned, and Florida Statutes prevent the city from denying the already approved plat. 

The 1925 plat allows the developer to build 1,440 homes on 50 feet by 100 feet lots on less than half of the 687 acres to be developed. If the developer took this route, they could build more homes on the rest of the property following an approved 2005 plan, pushing the number of homes to 2,240 

All 2,240 potential residences, according to staff and the developer, could be built by right because of the 1925 and the 2005 agreements.  

“You’re letting this small plot from 1925 dictate everything else that’s happening in our community, and that’s not right,” one public commentor said.  

However, the proposed plan submitted to High Springs caps the number of single-family homes at 1,437 along with a maximum of 250 multifamily units and 200 senior living units.  

The plan board split on the issue but came to a unanimous vote.  

“I love this city, I love what we have here, I just think it’s too big,” Board Member John Walsh said at the meeting. “I’m going to be a ‘no’ vote.” 

Walsh motioned to disapprove the planned development. However, with two of the five members missing—one in the hospital and one out of town—Walsh failed to get a second.  

City rules prohibit Board Chair Donald Alderman from seconding motions and the only other member, Vice-Chair Bradley Riddle, wanted to take another direction.  

“My feelings are, as much as I want to move forward, I’d like to table it and have more clarification on the issue of roads,” Riddle said.  

Chris Potts, director of civil engineering for JBPro, answers questions from the board at Tuesday's meeting.
Photo by Seth Johnson Chris Potts, director of civil engineering for JBPro, answers questions from the board at Tuesday’s meeting.

Riddle motioned to delay the vote to Sept. 27, and Walsh seconded the motion. Walsh said he wanted to afford the missing board members a chance to vote on the issue though he remains a ‘no’ vote overall.  

The developers of Bridlewood have been in discussions with High Springs staff on the project for a year and a half. In July, Chris Potts, director of civil engineering for JBPro, gave an update to the city commission.  

Commissioners expressed concern at the meeting, but the city commission has yet to vote on the development.  

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LackOfCriticalThinking

Why do I get the impression that the city commissioners want growth for growth’s sake, as if they’re so intelligent and know what’s best for everyone? Is that what the people of High Springs want?

Smart Guy

This is inevitable, given that global warming will eat away at Florida’s coastline. High Springs, Newberry and Alachua have large expanses of high and dry land — the coastal populations will not move back to Milwaukee or New York…they will move inland to higher ground.