ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - St. Johns County continues to grow, with yet another new development in the works. It's where this community is that has some people concerned.
Mattamy Homes broke ground on its first age-restricted community in the United States. The groundbreaking was done not with shovels, but with paddles. That's because the new age-restricted community called WaterSong will be built along the St. Johns River in the RiverTown area.
The 55-and-up gated development will offer more than 800 villas and single-family homes, sharing amenities like a clubhouse and pool with the main RiverTown community.
What some people living in the area are confused about is that WaterSong is located about a mile south of Bartram Trail High School -- mixing inexperienced and older drivers along the busy Longleaf Pine Parkway.
"If people follow the laws we are all safer," said St. Johns County District 1 Commissioner Jimmy Johns. "We can't legislate against behavior, but we can discourage bad behavior."
While safety has been a topic of discussion, developers say they are not concerned. They say this is a 55-and-up active adult community, not an average retirement community. The developers say they have not had any concerns voiced to them by residents in the area.
They say the community is not for someone who wants to be in a quiet, secluded area, but for adults who are independent and who want to do most of their living outside of their homes. They say the community will offer a laid back, outdoor, sporty lifestyle.
Developers anticipate many of the new residents to be moving from the Northeast region, with a rising trend for age-restricted communities.
"St. Johns County is one of their first stops, with the excellent schools, lifestyles and weather we have," said Mattamy Homes Division President Cliff Nelson.
And with more homes, more retail stores and restaurants are expected to move in, as well.
"You can count on it," Johns said in reference to retail centers popping up. "You have to have a certain density of homes. If you ask any retailer, they look at rooftops before they decide where to build."
Construction will begin on the WaterSong model homes this summer, with residents moving in mid-2020.
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