Approximately 350-400 people turned out to a Killearn Home Association sponsored meeting to hear more about the Northeast Gateway project and to ask questions.
It became evident early in the meeting that the most important question for a number of the attendees – who were overwhelmingly against the project – was if the project was a “done deal.”
However, a straightforward answer to the question would not come until Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey addressed the dwindling crowd after two hours of back and forth and said the controversial project was “not a done deal.”
Before Dailey spoke, Blueprint officials gave a presentation and addressed specifics of the project which will connect Shamrock at Centerville Road with a two lane road that leads to a new four lane road called Welaunee Boulevard.
However, officials told the crowd that a detailed traffic analysis would not be completed until later this fall.
This was frustrating to most who see the project as increasing traffic through the Killearn Estates neighborhood, which already has traffic issues.
It was revealed during the meeting that the KHA currently hires off duty law enforcement officers with homeowner dues to provide extra traffic enforcement in the neighborhood.
Questions from the attendees were focused on traffic issues, property values and surprise at how this project has become a priority without more input from Killearn residents.
Officials reminded attendees that the Gateway was one of twenty-seven projects approved by Leon County elected officials and voters through a referendum in 2014.
The meeting, which was heated at times, was consistent with the response by attendees of the initial meeting held at the Holy Comforter School in March.
Ben Pingree, a ranking Blueprint official, told that crowd that there is a process for amending a Blueprint project and that it recently happened with a gateway plan.
Pingree was referring to a vote back in February 2018 by the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency which amended and expanded an airport gateway plan for Springhill Road.
Ultimately, the fate of the project is in the hands the the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency which is composed of the seven Leon County Commissoners and five Tallahassee City Commissoners.
Dailey, who observed the meeting before speaking, asked the crowd to take a deep breath before he made his comments.
He hearkened back to the days when he was a kid growing up in Killearn Estates and said “I need you to work with me.”
He asked for better communication between the KHA Board and the elected officials and asked that the discussions remain respectful towards the staff members who are doing their job.
While the KHA Board has taken a strong stance against the project, Board member Will Messer offered measured comments to TR after the meeting.
“I think it is important that we wait until the traffic analysis is completed before we jump to conclusions. This information will help us determine how to move forward and find solutions that are in the best interest of our neighborhood,” said Messer.
I’m sure if we dig deep enough we will find the same good ‘ol boys are involved. It will turn out to be the same people that got all the medical weed licenses locally, tried to get the golf course for free, etc. It goes way beyond lobbying.They are so entrenched and connected with big local accountants, lawyers and bankers, they own it. Y’all have no idea how deep it goes. If they want it, it will be a done deal. Some of these GOB’s live right in Killearn. Some of them go to church at the same place this meeting was held. They snookered the voters back in 2014. They knew what the plan was. They have a 6 year head start. Question: Is the mayor the same guy that used to sell snow cones about 5 years ago?
The bottom line is: developers should not be allowed to do what has happened at Welaunee. There is definitely $$$$$ involved thru “lobbying”. Building houses is one thing, stripping the land is another. I was totally shocked when I drove by there recently – very sad! That being said, the very LEAST that should happen is that the DEVELOPERS have to pay for whatever roads are deemed necessary after they put in these very high density (read: big money making) communities. Same thing is happening out Bannerman. Neighbors can go to whatever meetings the city/county pust on, but at the end developers will get their way. Happened with the old Tony’s Garden patch property a few years ago: proposed 24 houses on FIVE acres. Yep, they did make the developer say there would be a dog park, playground etc. Drive by there: only 10 or so houses have been built in the past almost 2 years, 4 or 5 sold. Big ugly drainage pond, just an eyesore. Just because developers are willing to rape the land & build houses they think are going to bring them a bunch of $$$$$$, does not make it so.
I’ve been a Killearn resident for 12 years and witnessed the systemic corruption that permeated (perhaps still ongoing?) our local government. With that record in mind, I strongly suspect that the developers of “Canopy” (ironic name after they scraped the land bare of every tree) wanted this road project and made $ure long ago with our local government that it would get done. Probably because they have other major housing developments (all scraped bare of trees) planned in the area along with Canopy. Florida will grow, that’s true. My job as a Killearn resident is to make sure that growth doesn’t cut right through my neighborhood and near my property.
Comparisons with Blairstone are irrelevant. Shamrock is no Blairstone and should never serve as such. Do all the “Traffic Studies” you want; the reality is that at some point in the not-distant future, Shamrock will carry a huge amount of ADDITIONAL cut-through and commuter traffic that otherwise won’t be there if this “connector” isn’t built. That’s all that matters.
I agree with you Mike. Blairstone was never a neighborhood and no Doomar Drive does not count.
WHAT? Blairstone cut right thru the MIDDLE of a Neighborhood on Mahan dividing it in two, I had Friends that lost their Homes because of it.
I’m going to make a recommendation that may or may not be taken in the manner in which it is intended. I will qualify my comment by saying I am not a Killearn homeowner.
This said, why not create and present a viable alternative or alternatives?
The fact is Welaunee is happening with or without the access road extension. As a community matter, without road expansion the development becomes a traffic nightmare. Now, that’s not to suggest turning a neighborhood roadway is the best or only solution. The trouble is, a viable “plan b” is not on the table.
Killearn homeowners, do you have any planners or engineers among your residents? Is the neighborhood issue great enough to spend HOA fees to hire an engineering consultant? Are you willing to help create an alternative that might give Blueprint managers a reason to call their plans into question?
Blairstone Road was used as an example. The final path of Blairstone Rd took on several design and pathway changes before it broke ground. Blairstone is widely considered a successful project completed in cooperation between the City, residents and neighborhoods.
The bottom line, alternatives can be created if energy is focused in that direction and viable answers do not necessarily have to come from government.
If you really want to improve Traffic on Thomasville Road, between Cap Circle and Bannerman, install LONG Turn Lanes at every Street that connects to Thomasville Road for people turning Right onto them. I think Veida Dairy is the only one with a Right Turn Lane and it is very short, make it 3 times longer. Cars that want to turn right will slow way down to turn and the car behind them will also slow down and then changes Lanes to go around the turning Car cutting off a car that then has to slow down to avoid an accident making all the other cars slow down. now repeat this several times in that few Miles. Add the Turn Lanes.
John Dailey is far from a coward. In fact, John Dailey might be the best mayor Tallahassee has ever seen. He also grew up in Killearn and his mother still lives in Killearn. To say anything negative about this family is pathetic. Furthermore, the Davenport family has been nothing but positive for Tallahassee for over 50 years. The Davenport’s have development rights, and have worked for many years with city staff to collaborate on how they can dedicate “Greenway” bordering Centerville and Micc. Rd.
I am so sick of the idiots in this town bitching about progress. Every single one of you bitching should go look at a map of your own house and what it looked like 50 years ago. Do you really think that the road leading up to your driveway was necessary? Tallahassee has a population of 180,000 people. If Florida grows another 3,000,000 people in the next 5 years as it is expected to do and Tallahassee ends up with 100,000 of them, where in the hell do you expect them to live?
The best way to relieve traffic congestion is to disperse it. Building new roads will lead to less traffic congestion on our roadways. The beloved canopy roads are stacked up with cars and are dangerous to travel. The Shamrock connection to Welaunee will help dilute the congestion on Centerville Rd. and it will help relieve early morning congestion at the front of Killearn. To do nothing would be a disaster!!! The city should create additional east/ west roadways to further reduce traffic.
Finally, I find it laughable that Killearn is outraged at the idea of the Shamrock extension to Welaunee. Particularly when half of the homes in Killearn look like crap because of a lack of maintenance. Furthermore, the entire neighborhood and HOA sat on their asses and let Barton Tuck (Killearn Country Club Owner) ride that property into the dirt. No One stood up for the homeowners on the North Nine when Tuck announced it was closing, and no One stands up to the current HOA Board and demands that the homeowners maintain their residences better. I have lived in Killearn for many years and just this year I noticed a new wooden fence on the golf course in addition to new sheds everywhere in the neighborhood which should not be allowed. So NONEYA–in my humble opinion, your statement is BS.
This is absolute BS. John Dailey you are a coward and all of us who ‘grew up’ here know exactly why you hid behind the people last night: something’s in it for YOU and all the other weasels sitting in the city commissioner seats. Raymond Diehl will look like Thomasville Road if residents let this happen and there will be zero safety or quality of life for those who live near Limerick, Blarney, O’Hara, Tubbercurry, & Foley.
The. WORST traffic jams in town occur on Gaines St. A CREATED bottleneck, taking a heavily-used four-lane road, adding numerous apartment complexes, and narrowing it down to a two-lane road.
Try driving on that during morning or evening rush hour, and keeping your sanity.
No Vern, it is not a good thing for Killearn. Killearn is a Neighborhood like any other. The heavy truck are on thing, but dumping another 5,000 to 20,000 cars per day into the Neighborhood is not a good idea. those cars will be on Shamrock, Killearney, Shannon Lakes, and Velday Dairiy. Killearn is a Neighborhood.
Thomas, you have no idea what the traffic will look like because you haven’t done a traffic analysis. Furthermore, I think adding the Shamrock extension will relieve traffic congestion in Killearn because homeowners will utilize another route out of Killearn. I do not believe that people will drive through Killearn to get to Thomasville Road particularly if additional routes are constructed.
You are correct about the traffic study. The developers, planners, and consultants have also not performed a traffic study.
I am not sure widening or traffic light will do anything to help the current situation for Killearn residents. There will be more traffic in Killearn. A Neighborhood.
Here is additional information,https://www.killearn.org/welaunee-boulevard-extension-update
They would not run this through Woodgate, or Eastgate, or pick any neighborhood.
What if the traffic analysis shows that this Shamrock Extension leading into Centerville Road will actually relieve congestion at Kerry Forrest and Killarney Way? The developers, planners and consultants knew 20 years ago that 7000 acres was going to be developed and tried to plan for the future growth. 67% of the voters in Leon County voted to pass the sales tax extension, and this project was on of the 27 proposed, after numerous public meetings. Absolutely no changes are planned to occur for Shamrock, and residents will be able to exit Killearn to drive into Welaunee commercial amenities such as restaurants, medical offices, etc. It would not run through Woodgate or Eastgate because there isn’t 7000 acres being developed right next to them. Furthermore, what did the land look like before houses were built in Eastgate or Woodgate? I bet the folks who originally lived in Los Robles survived those developments just fine.
People who don’t live on Killarney Way or Shamrock don’t know what they’re talkin about. Try being on either at 8 or 5. I have seen law enforcement on several occassions stopping people on Shamrock, not to mention there is a playground there.
My biggest concern would be heavy commercial traffic using Shamrock as a cut through to the I-10 exchange, but if they dont build the I-10 access the whole thing will be mostly useless.
If they prohibit thru traffic on heavy trucks to keep Shamrock “residential” it could be a good thing for Killearn.
Many were opposed to the Blair Stone extension and that turned out to be a really nice road.
Make sure it is a state-of-the-art, no suicide lanes, nice medians, wide lanes, and beautiful landscaping.
It is, Hope.
But I wish the city would pressure wash or use “Wet & Forget” on all the mold & mildew that covers the barrier walls between Mahan and the link to Centerville. They’re an eyesore.
Definitely! I see areas all over town that need to be pressure washed and maintained better.
Also, mowing edging and pruning are needed many places.
I see other cities maintained to a higher standard and COT and Leon County need to step it up.
I already see some improvement on the medians leading to the Capital.
OH, also, this is what happens when you build a Subdivision and then give the Roads over to the City & County to maintain, they own them.
Lining up Welaunee Boulevard with Shamrock at Centerville is a good Idea as it would mean a Traffic Light which would make that area safer. Just don’t let them widen Shamrock, tell them to keep their construction on their side of Centerville rd.
No Tony, it is not a good idea.
People in Killearn don’t want residential streets turned into arteries. Their plan is to widen Shamrock. I don’t know what you are talking about with keeping their construction on the Centerville side.
When Citizens voted for the penny sales tax extension and the resultant blueprint projects, there were no clear details of how the money would be used. The projects listed were vague in description.
What we found out is that a ‘special arrangement’, largely confidential, had been made years ago with the owners of the Welaunee corridor, or the slice of land between the spokes of Miccousukee Road and Centerville Road. It runs all the way to Roberts Road. It is 7,000 acres. Local Government, The Owners, and Developers who made huge contributions to previous city officials reached a deal for the who what when and where of how this land would be developed. So far, the canopy development has been fraught with problems. You would expect to see this kind of development in Pasco County.
The owner (Powerhouse) keeps a great chunk of land at the far end land of the Welaunee corridor property. There will be another greenway on the Centerville side. The entire center of the propoerty will be developed. I can only imagine that the will rape the land as they have already done and build mini McMansions.
Welaunee road will run NE then N as a 4 lane highway. It will connect with Shamrock South (Killearn). They tell us it will be widened (it is wide enough already for us), some property will be lost but it will not be a 4 lane. Yeah, right.
This is a bad deal. Arranged by the usual suspects. Some may even be under FBI scrutiny.
” tell them to keep their construction on their side of Centerville rd.” is VERY easy to understand. It means just that, Build Welaunee Road but don’t touch Shamrock. Don’t widen it, don’t add any Lanes to it. Once the Traffic Light is installed that will help a lot. That’s what you need to be fighting for, leave Shamrock alone, keep the construction on their side of Centerville.
“It was revealed during the meeting that the KHA currently hires off duty law enforcement officers with homeowner dues to provide extra traffic enforcement in the neighborhood.” …………… I am in killearn a LOT and the Traffic is not bad considering how many People live there and I rarely see ANY Law Enforcement on the Roads. I do see a few Law Enforcement Vehicles parked in Driveways but they live there so, if you’re paying for extra Cops, you’re not getting your moneys worth. If you do a Car Count, I am sure that you will see that about 99% of the Vehicles belong to Killearn Home Owners and are not just taking a short cut to some where else.
No Tony, people are taking a shortcut from Bradfordville to avoid Thomasville Road. We heard anecdotal evidence last night. Now it will only be worsened.