Residents upset preserved woods could turn into access road

By Ashley Harding - Reporter
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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - Some residents in a well-to-do community in St. Johns County are upset that several acres of preserved woods could be built into an access road.

In a meeting Monday night the development group proposed their ideas for the access road route. Some said they were told the preserve would never be touched.

Sam Griswold showed Channel 4 the woods right behind his home. It's several acres of preserve in the Durbin Crossing community. It's the area where the development group Dream Finders Homes hopes to build an access road into one of their other neighborhoods. Griswold's main concern is that a road would essentially end up in his backyard.

"One-hundred, 24 feet, which if I remember correctly from the map, would be right there. If you think about it, one board member said that's only the length of a home," Griswold said.

At Monday's meeting between homeowners and Dream Finders Homes, residents voiced their concerns and ultimately voted against the proposal. There were a few tense moments in the meeting.

Patrick Zalupski, with Dream Finders Homes, said he doesn't believe the road would have much impact on residents, but he said he understands why some are upset. And he also said he wasn't surprised that the idea was rejected.

"It's always a delicate issue when you're dealing with people's homes," Zalupski said. "We don't take that lightly. We want to work with the residents."

Some residents brought up the safety concern about having a road behind homes. Others worried that property values could go down. That's a concern Griswold shares.

"I don't think that somebody is going to pay the same type of premium for a home that's got a 124 feet of buffer versus 22 acres. I think it's ludicrous to even think that," Griswold said.

Griswold, along with several other neighbors, have said they're not against the development group, they just want to see other ideas.

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