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Neighbors score victory in Girl Scouts campground land fight

Planning board rejected rezoning, Plans withdrawn for change in future land use

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Neighbors involved in a Middleburg-area land fight scored a victory in their fight to stop a borrow pit, a large area where dirt is dug out for construction projects, from replacing their current neighbor, a Girl Scout camp.

The plan to sell the North Fork Leadership Center, a campground covering around 250 acres that's run by the Girl Scouts near Middleburg, to a construction company had been in the works for months. But on Monday, the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council, which is the body that runs all Girl Scout groups in North Florida, withdrew its plans for a change in future land use.

This comes a few weeks after the Clay County Planning Commission rejected the rezoning of the land. The planning board wasn't the final say, however, as the full County Commission was slated to take up the issue Tuesday. Since the rezoning request was withdrawn, it was not expected to be an issue. But the County Commission was still required to discuss it because it was on the agenda and multiple neighbors planned to attend.

One neighbor who said he would attend and who has spoken out against the borrow pit was Bill Christopher.

"It wasn't about it being sold. It was about the land change use to a borrow pit. No one wants a borrow pit here. No one wants 300 trucks, dump trucks, running up and down this road," Christopher said. 

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The plan for the Girl Scouts was to sell the land to a company called Ancient City Land Management.

Now, the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council isn't sure what to do next.  

"We do not know what the next step is," said Girls Scouts of Gateway Council CEO Mary Anne Jacobs.

She said the Girl Scouts own five camps and the camp in Middleburg is the only one not owned outright.

"There is a mortgage on the property in Middleburg and we believe the money expensed out each month would far benefit the girls in the community," Jacobs said.

Residents said they still want a say in whoever eventually buys the land. 


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