After a contentious two years, the City Commission went against the Planning Commission recommendation and voted 5-0 to approve a rezoning application that will facilitate a proposed redevelopment on a portion of the “North Nine” holes of the Killearn Country Club.
The end product was very different than the original proposal pushed by Barton Tuck, the owner of the club.
What began as a proposal for 350 apartments with promises made by an out of town owner, ended up as an age restricted community with 147 residential units backed by the reputation of local businessman JT Burnette.
Despite the changes, those most affected by the development were not swayed.
Emotions ran high during the four hour meeting which featured public comments from both sides that became personal at times.
In short, those opposed to the redevelopment viewed the proposal as a government bail-out at their expense. They believed Tuck failed to invest in the maintenance of the club during is years of ownership and now was seeking the city commission to help him recover from bad business decisions.
Those in favor, feared a failure of the redevelopment plan would ultimately doom Killearn Estates as a desirable golf course community.
In the end this fear seemed to have an impact on the city commissioners.
However, as demonstrated in the closing comments of the elected officials, the involvement of JT Burnette appeared to also be a deciding factor.
Burnette’s involvement in the development, which we wrote about here, put a local face on a project that had been losing some credibility since the Planning Commission voted against the project.
Burnette’s relationship with the elected officials, his demonstrated successes (Hotel Duval), and his changes to the plan convinced the city commission his vision was worth their vote.
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