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Neighbors concerned over potential impacts of new development in Yulee

Housing development would include new school, park, 1,000 houses

Proposed Yulee housing project would fill wetlands
Proposed Yulee housing project would fill wetlands

YULEE, Fla. – A 275-acre development with close to 1,000 new houses could be on the way in Yulee.

The Army Corps of Engineers said it's received an application for a housing project proposed for west of Old Nassauville Road to be known as Amelia Passage.

A new school and park are also in the plans.

The development site contains 42 acres of wetlands.

The Army Corps has a list of the endangered animals and native trees that could be impacted by the Amelia Passage development, which includes 29 gopher tortoise burrows that have been found on the site.

The Corps said other endangered animal species, including wood storks and Florida scrub-jays, could call the site home but likely won’t be affected.

Endangered Eastern indigo snakes may be affected by the project.

Joe Zimmerman said the 2 acres of wetlands behind his home on Plum Loop are his own little slice of paradise. But if the Amelia Passage plans go through, the development would reach his property line.

He got a notice in his mailbox from the Army Corps of Engineers detailing the plans.

"Most of those concerns range around ecological issues. This is obviously a very controversial development that’s going on here -- huge impact water quality,” Zimmerman said. “You have the Lofton Creek Aquatic Preserve just down the road here."

Zimmerman is also worried about runoff.

He already has ponding and flooding in his backyard, which he thinks will get even worse.

"During hurricanes, you know, this whole area will fill up with tons of water and we have rain here more than a week ago you can still see several large ponds of standing water here,” Zimmerman said. “You’re going to continue to have more of that because the layout of this particular development has a lot of stormwater drainage just off this particular piece of property right here."

During the morning and afternoon commute, traffic gets backed up for people trying to get on and off State Road 200.

With a new school proposal in the mix, Vincent Faviano, who lives in Amelia Concourse, worries the traffic will become that much more concentrated.

“To put in these amount of holes on those size slots and then on top of that with the school being built in the roadways coming in, traffic is going to be crazy,” Faviano said. “It’s going to be absolutely crazy."

Zimmerman said he's requested a public hearing from the Corps, which requires a written request, to hear more about the development.

Faviano bought his house not too long ago and is worried about Amelia Passage affecting property value.

“You know you have a buyers' market and a sellers' market and this is going to end up being so many additional homes in this area that property value has to go down,” Faviano said.

As Nassau County's population continues to boom, there's a new way you can learn about the significant housing projects coming to the area.

County Senior Planner Kailey Saver told local newspaper the North Central Florida Independent that a “development tracker tool” is coming to the county website in a few months.

Until the tracker arrives, residents can contact the planning office and ask for information on significant applications, she said.

The district is represented by Aaron Bell: abell@nassaucountyfl.com.

Written comments can be submitted to: District Engineering, Jacksonville Permits Section, P.O. Box 4970, Jacksonville, FL 32232.

Questions can be sent by email to Terri M. Mashour at terri.m.mashour@usace.army.mil, by fax to 904-232-1940, or by phone to 904-570-4512.

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