St. Johns County commission approves proposals advancing Greenbriar Helow plan

Photo from meeting.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The St. Johns County commission approved a slate of proposals to advance the Greenbriar Helow Planned Unit Development, continuing a trend of booming commercial and residential growth in the northwest corner of the county.

Helow Properties LTD, owned by the Helow Family, holds roughly 2,158 acres on which the development plan would see up to 3,500 residential units and up to 2.5 million square feet of non-residential development.

One of the proposals approved Tuesday updates the area’s zoning from residential, to “mixed use,” allowing a much more options for what to build on the land.

A large portion of the meeting’s public comment section saw speakers praising Joe Helow, many identifying themselves as long-time friends or former colleagues of the land owner, speaking about his character and that of his family.

Those who spoke out against the development plan said the county is already over-developed such that there is a significant strain on resources such as police, fire prevention, education and infrastructure.

“We need to pull back and start to plan and control our growth a little better,” said We just finished an extremely rapid period of growth. We need to get caught up before we take on such a huge, huge project. It’s not to say it couldn’t occur in the future at some time, but now is not the time.”

The development plans include significant impact fees to account for the increased strain on the area’s roads.

“The Helow Development Agreement proposes to contribute transportation mitigation in the total amount of $10,500,000 in proportionate share payments and pre-payment of road impact fees to be used for the widening of Longleaf Pine Parkway to 4-lanes from Roberts Road to Veterans Parkway,” the proposal said.

The commission unanimously approved the development plan on Tuesday night in subsequent 4-0 votes.

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