Neighbors speak out against development of St. Johns County wetlands

Proposal aims to build funeral home along County Road 210

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Neighbors are rallying opposition to a proposed development that would place a funeral home on three acres of wetlands sandwiched between two St. Johns County subdivisions.

Though plans for the development along County Road 210 are not finalized, those who live in the nearby communities of Johns Glen and Southern Grove have launched a petition to halt construction.

The St. Johns County Commission must approve the project before construction can begin.

Despite the backlash, an executive for A&S Land Development said the property developer wants to meet with residents and listen to their concerns before the project moves forward.

Speaking with News4Jax, some residents expressed concerns that new development could disturb the natural wildlife, overcrowd their neighborhoods and drive down their property values.

“I’m not too happy about it,” said Marissa Heavener, who lives in Southern Grove. “Just because they’re already overbuilding in this area. I think a funeral home is not necessary over there.”

Heavener, one of more than 1,100 people who have signed a petition on Change.org to ban development of the wetlands, said she’s also concerned about her bottom line.

“It’s going to bring down the value of our house and the value of the neighborhood, so I’m not too happy about that,” she said.

Pauline St. Amand, who owns a home in Johns Glen, said she’s worried about what kind of impact developing the wooded area could have on the existing ecosystem.

“It really is disturbing the wildlife and they don’t have a place to go,” St. Amand said.

Beth Breeding, vice president of A&S Land Development, said nothing is set in stone just yet. She said residents are invited to share their concerns with the developer at a meeting next week.

That meeting will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11 at the Watson Realty location at 175 Hampton Point Drive. Representatives for the developer will be on hand to answer questions.