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RiverTown, "Bustin' at the Seams."

Having sat through several years of inactivity, RiverTown is suddenly bursting from it's boundaries in a rapid and rather massive building boom. Metro Jacksonville's Robert Mann provides us with a visual tour of St. Johns County's RiverTown

Published January 8, 2013 in Neighborhoods      58 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

feature

About RiverTown

The 4,170-acre RiverTown community is St. Johns County's only riverfront master-planned community. The community's design has been influenced by Southern neighborhoods of years past, where sidewalks and front porches encouraged residents to become neighbors. A pedestrian-friendly community that embraces the outdoors and its most valuable asset, the river, RiverTown's walking trails meander through the community connecting neighborhoods, parks, the amenity center and Riverfront Park.


River Community Living

Builders with strong reputations for quality craftsmanship, design and service have chosen to build in the RiverTown community - David Weekley Homes, Dennis Homes and Mattamy Homes. Many homes feature large front porches, deep-roof overhangs, columns and unique building materials consistent with each home's individual architectural style. Home are priced in the $170's to the $400's.


RiverHouse & Amenity Center

Located in the heart of the community, the RiverHouse and Amenity Center includes a junior-size Olympic lap pool and kid-friendly zero-entry pool with cork-screw slide. There is also three, HarTru lighted tennis courts and play fields. The RiverHouse is more than 3,500 square feet and features riverview terraces, a meeting room and an outdoor palm court with a cabana. The Fitness Center includes individual and group fitness areas, pool access, poolside veranda, and a social director's office.



















Trails

RiverTown has been planned to be a walking community. Miles of trails are planned to meander through the community to connect the neighborhoods and amenities.




The Lakes District is now approaching completion, it wasn't even started when we last visited. The Main Street District the subject of our original article is expanding with a new community of smaller single family homes. An entire street is taken up by new models.









"It has been demonstrated that roundabouts reduce injury crashes by 75 percent compared with signalized intersections, and they reduce traffic fatalities by 90 percent compared with signalized intersections.

Roundabouts also increase intersection traffic capacity by 30 percent, with fewer delays, improve pedestrian safety and reduce pedestrian delays compared with signalized intersections."

“The new roundabout will make it easier to enter and exit the community,” said RiverTown Director of Development Christian Kuhn.  “The completion of this project will provide safe pedestrian crossing from the community to Riverfront Park and create an inviting entrance.”













Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park is one of the signature elements of the RiverTown community that highlights the community's connection to nature and the river. Located along approximately one mile of the St. Johns River, the park encompasses more than 50 acres of natural areas and canopy trees, walking and jogging trails, a fishing pier, waterfront overlook areas and a restroom pavilion.
















RiverTown locator map

Article by Robert Mann







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58 Comments

dougskiles

January 08, 2013, 05:20:58 AM
Impressive.  And just think how much money St Johns County is getting for their schools and infrastructure with each new home, about $12,000.  Doesn't seem to be scaring people away.

fieldafm

January 08, 2013, 06:45:38 AM
Impressive.  And just think how much money St Johns County is getting for their schools and infrastructure with each new home, about $12,000.  Doesn't seem to be scaring people away.

Rivertown is a CDD.

34 home sites have been completed (46 have been sold) in this development that is platted for around 4500 sites.  Nocatee and Durbin Crossing are still by far the more healthy master communities in the area in terms of new growth.  Most of the construction happening at Rivertown is infrastructure related from bonds sold through the CDD.  In today's environment, it has been cost advantageous for Joe to move forward with these projects and have used some of their cash on hand to pay down some of this bond debt.

Charles Hunter

January 08, 2013, 07:00:19 AM
The text sounds like it came from Rivertown promotional material.  Have they solved their chronic river siltation problem?  That said, nice looking homes and amenities.

Noone

January 08, 2013, 07:11:20 AM
I want to join that kid on the fishing pier. Thanks for the update Bob.

CityLife

January 08, 2013, 08:37:32 AM
Field, Rivertown is a CDD, but the builders still pay impact fees and residents still pay property taxes to the county.

As for the busting at the seems comment, kind of irresponsible to say when Nocatee and Durbin Crossing are blowing it out of the water. Nocatee is miles and miles ahead of Rivertown right now and seems to be growing steadily. My brother in law is a builder there and says they are really busy with no slowing in site.

That said, I do like the Old Florida feel that St. Joe has gone for with RiverTown. They have also attempted to stay true to TND principles, but I have reason to believe the lack of a market is going to make them modify some of their neighborhood plans.

cline

January 08, 2013, 08:43:47 AM
The text sounds like it came from Rivertown promotional material.  Have they solved their chronic river siltation problem?

+1 Hardly classify a clubhouse and a handful of houses as busting at the seams but whatever.  As for the silt problem, I think they just decided to continually pay the fine instead of actually spending the money to fix the problem. 

fieldafm

January 08, 2013, 08:52:49 AM
Field, Rivertown is a CDD, but the builders still pay impact fees and residents still pay property taxes to the county.

As for the busting at the seems comment, kind of irresponsible to say when Nocatee and Durbin Crossing are blowing it out of the water. Nocatee is miles and miles ahead of Rivertown right now and seems to be growing steadily. My brother in law is a builder there and says they are really busy with no slowing in site.

That said, I do like the Old Florida feel that St. Joe has gone for with RiverTown. They have also attempted to stay true to TND principles, but I have reason to believe the lack of a market is going to make them modify some of their neighborhood plans.

I was aware that residents still paid ad valorum taxes... but I thought the master development paid a mitigation fee up front... so, they still have to pay a fee per building pemit pulled?

Joe has some nice communities.  I wouldnt want to rely on SR13 when the Rivertown community gets built out... and as noted, they have some significant environmental concerns with that development... but places like WaterColor (which I vacation at regularly) in the Destin area and Southwod in Tallahassee are really nice places to live if that's the style of living in which you prefer. 

John P

January 08, 2013, 08:57:24 AM
Why is this article titled "bustin at the seams" when theres 30 homes built out of 4000 and why does this feel like a commericial for the developer?

CityLife

January 08, 2013, 09:10:50 AM
Field, Rivertown is a CDD, but the builders still pay impact fees and residents still pay property taxes to the county.

As for the busting at the seems comment, kind of irresponsible to say when Nocatee and Durbin Crossing are blowing it out of the water. Nocatee is miles and miles ahead of Rivertown right now and seems to be growing steadily. My brother in law is a builder there and says they are really busy with no slowing in site.

That said, I do like the Old Florida feel that St. Joe has gone for with RiverTown. They have also attempted to stay true to TND principles, but I have reason to believe the lack of a market is going to make them modify some of their neighborhood plans.

I was aware that residents still paid ad valorum taxes... but I thought the master development paid a mitigation fee up front... so, they still have to pay a fee per building pemit pulled?

Joe has some nice communities.  I wouldnt want to rely on SR13 when the Rivertown community gets built out... and as noted, they have some significant environmental concerns with that development... but places like WaterColor (which I vacation at regularly) in the Destin area and Southwod in Tallahassee are really nice places to live if that's the style of living in which you prefer.

The developers and builders may have prepaid some of their impact fees and may have credits from SJC, but they still do pay impact fees on a per home basis. The fees are either coming from pre-payment, credits, or in cash at the time of each building permit being pulled.

Agreed on St. Joe's other communities. They've done some great stuff on the Panhandle. Unfortunately growth patterns and traffic issues are a major hindrance to RiverTown getting going. As pretty as the St. Johns is, you can't beat the preserves along the Intercoastal in northern SJC, as well as proximity to PVB, and easier access to DT Jax, St. Augustine, and the TownCenter/SS.

If_I_Loved_you

January 08, 2013, 09:11:48 AM
Why is this article titled "bustin at the seams" when theres 30 homes built out of 4000 and why does this feel like a commericial for the developer?
Amen!

If_I_Loved_you

January 08, 2013, 09:33:00 AM
Hey Stephen whats up with this Re: RiverTown, \ ? And why does it come with my post and John P post and no one else who has posted to this thread?

stephendare

January 08, 2013, 09:43:22 AM
Hey Stephen whats up with this Re: RiverTown, \ ? And why does it come with my post and John P post and no one else who has posted to this thread?

I fixed it for you. 

What happens is that the title can be changed by the person posting the new post in a thread.

When you press 'reply' to that particular post, it will copy that changed title.

You and JohnP had apparently clicked 'reply' to one of the posts of someone who changed the title on their response.

fieldafm

January 08, 2013, 09:56:31 AM
Quote
The developers and builders may have prepaid some of their impact fees and may have credits from SJC, but they still do pay impact fees on a per home basis. The fees are either coming from pre-payment, credits, or in cash at the time of each building permit being pulled.

How are they getting trip credits per home then unless they paid up front?  I could see trip credits in the commercial portion b/c a lot of those vehicle trips could be shown to have been absorbed when buildout of the Bartram Trail High School roadway/infrastructure was built.

I was under the impression that these fees were paid when Joe cleared the land out, so I am trying to clear up that apparent misconception on my part. 

Ocklawaha

January 08, 2013, 10:00:03 AM
As for the busting at the seems comment, kind of irresponsible to say when Nocatee and Durbin Crossing are blowing it out of the water.

Seam : a line, groove, or ridge formed by the abutment of edges.

The edges (native forests to developed area) of the community have remained static for years, virtually all of the growth, infrastructure, parks, roads, and new houses has sprung to life in the last few months. Thus the 'edges' or 'seams' of the community have been broached by a new frenzy of development.


Quote
Rivertown Baseball Grounds

The Creeks Baseball Club is proud of the new facility we call home. Rivertown Baseball grounds has four first class fields with batting cages and bull pens for training and teaching fundamental of baseball.

Field number 1 is our Showcase field that hosts 8U through 12U teams. With 60 to 70 ft base paths along with 40 through 50 ft pitching mounds available, Field number 1 is quickly adjusted to the proper specs by age group. This field has a 6 ft fence at 225 ft through out the outfield and covered stadium seating.

Fields number 2 and 3 are set up to also host 8U through 12U teams. With 60 to 70 ft base paths along with 40 through 50 ft pitching mounds available, Field number 1 is quickly adjusted to the proper specs by age group. These fields have a 6 ft fence at 200 ft through out the outfield and stadium seating.

Field number 4 is our big field that hosts our 13U through 16U teams. This field has the classic set up with a 4 ft fence that is 300 ft that is challenging for this age group, however allows for the offensive power to come into play. Stadium seating is also provided here

All venues have Bermuda Grass and Crushed Brick Clay. The care for the fields come from the Creeks Baseball Club and St. Johns County Park and Recreaction.

Rivertown does indeed pay more then a passing salute to 'old Florida', IMO it's attention to detail seems to me superior to any other similar project in the area.

Adam W

January 08, 2013, 10:18:26 AM
I used to date a girl who grew up right around there - she lived in a house on the water in Orangedale. It's kind of sad for me to see this new development blighting the landscape around there - I'm sure her old house is no longer. But I guess that's the way of the world.

It looks worse than the third circle of hell to me, but better than a lot of other developments I've seen. To each his own, I guess.

If_I_Loved_you

January 08, 2013, 10:27:51 AM
Hey Stephen whats up with this Re: RiverTown, \ ? And why does it come with my post and John P post and no one else who has posted to this thread?

I fixed it for you. 

What happens is that the title can be changed by the person posting the new post in a thread.

When you press 'reply' to that particular post, it will copy that changed title.

You and JohnP had apparently clicked 'reply' to one of the posts of someone who changed the title on their response.
Thanks

fsquid

January 08, 2013, 10:55:52 AM
that place is at least 15 minutes down a 2 lane SR13 from the Duval County line.  Seems a bit far to have a huge demand.

tufsu1

January 08, 2013, 10:57:54 AM
It is all a matter of time...there are roads being widened and extended to provide access to Rivertown from CR 210....and with connections up to Racetrack Road and 9B (yay, I'm so excited ;)) SR 13 won't be the main access point.

fsquid

January 08, 2013, 11:00:10 AM
good point, wasn't even thinking about access from the East.  I'm guessing Longleaf runs nearby.

tufsu1

January 08, 2013, 11:06:18 AM
good point, wasn't even thinking about access from the East.  I'm guessing Longleaf runs nearby.

it sure does....it was built through the Rivertown property...and there is direct connection to the first phase through a local street

CityLife

January 08, 2013, 11:08:54 AM
As for the busting at the seems comment, kind of irresponsible to say when Nocatee and Durbin Crossing are blowing it out of the water.

Seam : a line, groove, or ridge formed by the abutment of edges.

The edges (native forests to developed area) of the community have remained static for years, virtually all of the growth, infrastructure, parks, roads, and new houses has sprung to life in the last few months. Thus the 'edges' or 'seams' of the community have been broached by a new frenzy of development.


burst:
1. a. To come open or fly apart suddenly or violently, especially from internal pressure.
b. To explode.
2. To be or seem to be full to the point of breaking open

You can attempt to spin it however you want, but the literal definition of the phrase is "to be filled to or beyond normal capacity".

The front page also says, "suddenly bursting from it's boundaries in a rapid and rather massive building boom". That actually implies that growth is spilling over outside of its boundaries.

I don't think anyone here is rooting for RiverTown to fail, but many are pointing out that this is essentially a fluff piece not exactly grounded in reality. If you want to give an accurate look at how quickly RiverTown is growing, try analyzing building permits there compared to Nocatee, Durbin Crossing, Palencia, and other master planned communities in SJC.

fieldafm

January 08, 2013, 11:11:00 AM
It is all a matter of time...there are roads being widened and extended to provide access to Rivertown from CR 210....and with connections up to Racetrack Road and 9B (yay, I'm so excited ;)) SR 13 won't be the main access point.

That's the part of the development where Bartram Trail HS is presently located and where the commercial town center portion of the project will be in the future.  Joe's goal is to have most of the major traffic be funneled here instead of SR13. 

I still think (and the surrounding residents resoundly agree) that this is going to impose major capacity problems on SR13 down the road (excuse the pun)... and it would be a real shame to undego a major widening of that road considering the beautiful canopy environment of this once quiet country road (it's a great place for a road bicycle ride).  It seems that is unfurtunately inevitable with the big push to widen the Shands Bridge.   

Steve_Lovett

January 08, 2013, 11:12:32 AM
As for the busting at the seems comment, kind of irresponsible to say when Nocatee and Durbin Crossing are blowing it out of the water.

Seam : a line, groove, or ridge formed by the abutment of edges.

The edges (native forests to developed area) of the community have remained static for years, virtually all of the growth, infrastructure, parks, roads, and new houses has sprung to life in the last few months. Thus the 'edges' or 'seams' of the community have been broached by a new frenzy of development.


burst:
1. a. To come open or fly apart suddenly or violently, especially from internal pressure.
b. To explode.
2. To be or seem to be full to the point of breaking open

You can attempt to spin it however you want, but the literal definition of the phrase is "to be filled to or beyond normal capacity".

The front page also says, "suddenly bursting from it's boundaries in a rapid and rather massive building boom". That actually implies that growth is spilling over outside of its boundaries.

I don't think anyone here is rooting for RiverTown to fail, but many are pointing out that this is essentially a fluff piece not exactly grounded in reality. If you want to give an accurate look at how quickly RiverTown is growing, try analyzing building permits there compared to Nocatee, Durbin Crossing, Palencia, and other master planned communities in SJC.

It's worth noting that any/all sales activity has occurred without a project entry in place, and with amenities only completed since early summer. The other communities have been around far longer, and most are more "conventional" communities planned/built for bulk land sales and development speed first and foremost.

CityLife

January 08, 2013, 11:17:21 AM
Quote
The developers and builders may have prepaid some of their impact fees and may have credits from SJC, but they still do pay impact fees on a per home basis. The fees are either coming from pre-payment, credits, or in cash at the time of each building permit being pulled.

How are they getting trip credits per home then unless they paid up front?  I could see trip credits in the commercial portion b/c a lot of those vehicle trips could be shown to have been absorbed when buildout of the Bartram Trail High School roadway/infrastructure was built.

I was under the impression that these fees were paid when Joe cleared the land out, so I am trying to clear up that apparent misconception on my part.

The agreements with those developers and SJC probably go beyond my level of financial competency and knowledge, but they likely got credits for building infrastructure and concurrency that could be applied to impact fees. Prior to land clearing they very well could have built up enough credits from the county to offset any impact fees for future homes.  I was really just pointing out earlier that being in a CDD doesn't preclude a developer from having to pay impact fees.

cline

January 08, 2013, 11:18:16 AM
As for the busting at the seems comment, kind of irresponsible to say when Nocatee and Durbin Crossing are blowing it out of the water.

Seam : a line, groove, or ridge formed by the abutment of edges.

The edges (native forests to developed area) of the community have remained static for years, virtually all of the growth, infrastructure, parks, roads, and new houses has sprung to life in the last few months. Thus the 'edges' or 'seams' of the community have been broached by a new frenzy of development.


burst:
1. a. To come open or fly apart suddenly or violently, especially from internal pressure.
b. To explode.
2. To be or seem to be full to the point of breaking open

You can attempt to spin it however you want, but the literal definition of the phrase is "to be filled to or beyond normal capacity".

The front page also says, "suddenly bursting from it's boundaries in a rapid and rather massive building boom". That actually implies that growth is spilling over outside of its boundaries.

I don't think anyone here is rooting for RiverTown to fail, but many are pointing out that this is essentially a fluff piece not exactly grounded in reality. If you want to give an accurate look at how quickly RiverTown is growing, try analyzing building permits there compared to Nocatee, Durbin Crossing, Palencia, and other master planned communities in SJC.

It's worth noting that any/all sales activity has occurred without a project entry in place, and with amenities only completed since early summer. The other communities have been around far longer, and most are more "conventional" communities planned/built for bulk land sales and development speed first and foremost.

The development has been sitting idle for years.  Once the infrastructure was in place there was no demand for the homes so it sat (and silted into the river).  That's the reason it is "behind" the other developments in the area.  I really don't think you can' recreate "old Florida". 

fieldafm

January 08, 2013, 11:24:08 AM
Quote
The developers and builders may have prepaid some of their impact fees and may have credits from SJC, but they still do pay impact fees on a per home basis. The fees are either coming from pre-payment, credits, or in cash at the time of each building permit being pulled.

How are they getting trip credits per home then unless they paid up front?  I could see trip credits in the commercial portion b/c a lot of those vehicle trips could be shown to have been absorbed when buildout of the Bartram Trail High School roadway/infrastructure was built.

I was under the impression that these fees were paid when Joe cleared the land out, so I am trying to clear up that apparent misconception on my part.

The agreements with those developers and SJC probably go beyond my level of financial competency and knowledge, but they likely got credits for building infrastructure and concurrency that could be applied to impact fees. Prior to land clearing they very well could have built up enough credits from the county to offset any impact fees for future homes.  I was really just pointing out earlier that being in a CDD doesn't preclude a developer from having to pay impact fees.

That makes sense in regards to applying trip credits against previously built infrastructure provided by the CDD.  I was still under the impression that a large (or all) portion of SJC's traditional residential impact fees were covered under a mitigation fee Joe paid for like in 2005/2006.  I'll have to make a call, b/c it's now an itch I have to scratch today.

Steve_Lovett

January 08, 2013, 11:26:43 AM
As for the busting at the seems comment, kind of irresponsible to say when Nocatee and Durbin Crossing are blowing it out of the water.

Seam : a line, groove, or ridge formed by the abutment of edges.

The edges (native forests to developed area) of the community have remained static for years, virtually all of the growth, infrastructure, parks, roads, and new houses has sprung to life in the last few months. Thus the 'edges' or 'seams' of the community have been broached by a new frenzy of development.


burst:
1. a. To come open or fly apart suddenly or violently, especially from internal pressure.
b. To explode.
2. To be or seem to be full to the point of breaking open

You can attempt to spin it however you want, but the literal definition of the phrase is "to be filled to or beyond normal capacity".

The front page also says, "suddenly bursting from it's boundaries in a rapid and rather massive building boom". That actually implies that growth is spilling over outside of its boundaries.

I don't think anyone here is rooting for RiverTown to fail, but many are pointing out that this is essentially a fluff piece not exactly grounded in reality. If you want to give an accurate look at how quickly RiverTown is growing, try analyzing building permits there compared to Nocatee, Durbin Crossing, Palencia, and other master planned communities in SJC.

It's worth noting that any/all sales activity has occurred without a project entry in place, and with amenities only completed since early summer. The other communities have been around far longer, and most are more "conventional" communities planned/built for bulk land sales and development speed first and foremost.

The development has been sitting idle for years.  Once the infrastructure was in place there was no demand for the homes so it sat (and silted into the river).  That's the reason it is "behind" the other developments in the area.  I really don't think you can' recreate "old Florida".

It's more than that, actually.

The "old" vision for RiverTown was based around a faux-nostalgic "urban" village in a rural portion of St Johns County. Development began around that vision - mostly including major off-site transportation improvements and the start/infrastructure/utilities of the urban Town Center neighborhood. State Road 13 is a high-speed roadway in that location and it separated the proposed Town Center from the river and riverfront park. The planning approach was a beautiful highly-prescribed tour d'force of New Urbanism - totally out of place with respect to the site's history, existing character, culture, context, and natural environment. And totally inflexible to adapt to potential changes to the economy or market.

When the economy collapsed in 2007, '08, '09, etc. the legacy of the project was hundreds of acres of magnificent natural environment that had been blitzed-and-cleared - and a development plan that seemed out of place and that was no longer relevant to the market.

I agree that you can't completely create "old Florida" - but the project should celebrate the intrinsic cultural, social, and natural character of a place/region and the current iteration does a better job of this while at the same time meeting the needs of builders and adapting to a new price-sensitive market. 

stephendare

January 08, 2013, 11:38:07 AM
^this.

Congratulations on the Cultural Council Board Appointment, btw, Steve.

Ocklawaha

January 08, 2013, 11:39:59 AM
Probably not, but it's the closest thing to a Disney like recreation of the real thing that I've seen in this area.

I actually don't hate Rivertown, Julington Plantation, WGV, Bartram, Palencia or Nocatee, all of them appeal to a particular market segment that Jacksonville doesn't really offer anywhere else. The time is coming when we'll see a flurry of community incorporations and it's interesting to speculate on which will pull the trigger first and how much real estate it will involve.

As for the 'back door' to Rivertown, I was going over their plans and it appears they plan to do a Palencia/Tapestry type central business district between SR-13 and the Amenity Center.

Access to 210 would absolutely change the face of the community and those connecting roads are not far from reality.

I am rather fascinated by the extensive trail system and the USEABLE amount of natural area's that will be connected to the trail system. I live just up the road from Rivertown and the trails have already been put to good use, the little guy on the dock in that photo is my 'mini-me,' grandson, also named Robert.

cline

January 08, 2013, 11:45:58 AM
Quote
The planning approach was a beautiful highly-prescribed tour d'force of New Urbanism - totally out of place with respect to the site's history, existing character, culture, context, and natural environment. And totally inflexible to adapt to potential changes to the economy or market.

When the economy collapsed in 2007, '08, '09, etc. the legacy of the project was hundreds of acres of magnificent natural environment that had been blitzed-and-cleared - and a development plan that seemed out of place and that was no longer relevant to the market.

I do agree with you Steve.  I guess that's my real issue with this sort of development that is becoming more prevalent throughout the state.  Developers are offering these developments that are billed as "work, live, play" and "respecting the natural environment" and all of those buzz words people like to hear.  The problem is that these developments are being built in the middle of nowhere and many of them are being built on some very sensitive environmental lands.  Now, there are many reasons for this (most of them lie at the feet of our elected officials).  We basically incentivize developers to do these things.  We make it cheaper for them to build on these lands than redevelopment within our City-which has areas that desperately need it.  The plans are basically rubber stamped by development review boards, SJRWMD et. al.  All in the name of jobs mind you.  We wouldn't dare stop anything that might hinder growth aka. jobs.  Of course, these jobs could also be created in other ways that have a less devastating effect on our environment and infrastructure.  As has been repeated ad nauseum on this website, all this new development requires roads and other infrastructure that were not needed before.  And while these developers may pick up some of the tab, you can bet it is not the true cost.  You and I and everyone else will pick up the rest.  Meanwhile, other areas of our city rot away and our schools become eroded.  The unfortunate thing is, I don't see any of this changing.  These developers and land owners have enough money and power to buy off and/or influence any decision maker they want.  The rest of us be damned.  Just look at the Outer Beltway and the alignment and look at the handful of landowners that own land where the alignment is.  They're set to make a killing and you can bet they had a hand in railroading this unneeded boondoggle through.  Of course, if you ask the Clay County Board of Commissioners they'll repeat the JOBS! mantra over and over but we all know the real reason.  $$

peestandingup

January 08, 2013, 12:44:51 PM
Of course. A lot of "new Florida's" economy pretty much depends on this type of expansion & they simply don't know anything else. Even though there's a mile long foreclosure glut that'll take a decade to get through, urban core areas need redeveloped, we need a transit system, & the economy is limping along, they'll "put people back to work" with this type of same old bullshit.

Steve_Lovett

January 08, 2013, 01:15:17 PM
Quote
The planning approach was a beautiful highly-prescribed tour d'force of New Urbanism - totally out of place with respect to the site's history, existing character, culture, context, and natural environment. And totally inflexible to adapt to potential changes to the economy or market.

When the economy collapsed in 2007, '08, '09, etc. the legacy of the project was hundreds of acres of magnificent natural environment that had been blitzed-and-cleared - and a development plan that seemed out of place and that was no longer relevant to the market.

I do agree with you Steve.  I guess that's my real issue with this sort of development that is becoming more prevalent throughout the state.  Developers are offering these developments that are billed as "work, live, play" and "respecting the natural environment" and all of those buzz words people like to hear.  The problem is that these developments are being built in the middle of nowhere and many of them are being built on some very sensitive environmental lands.  Now, there are many reasons for this (most of them lie at the feet of our elected officials).  We basically incentivize developers to do these things.  We make it cheaper for them to build on these lands than redevelopment within our City-which has areas that desperately need it.  The plans are basically rubber stamped by development review boards, SJRWMD et. al.  All in the name of jobs mind you.  We wouldn't dare stop anything that might hinder growth aka. jobs.  Of course, these jobs could also be created in other ways that have a less devastating effect on our environment and infrastructure.  As has been repeated ad nauseum on this website, all this new development requires roads and other infrastructure that were not needed before.  And while these developers may pick up some of the tab, you can bet it is not the true cost.  You and I and everyone else will pick up the rest.  Meanwhile, other areas of our city rot away and our schools become eroded.  The unfortunate thing is, I don't see any of this changing.  These developers and land owners have enough money and power to buy off and/or influence any decision maker they want.  The rest of us be damned.  Just look at the Outer Beltway and the alignment and look at the handful of landowners that own land where the alignment is.  They're set to make a killing and you can bet they had a hand in railroading this unneeded boondoggle through.  Of course, if you ask the Clay County Board of Commissioners they'll repeat the JOBS! mantra over and over but we all know the real reason.  $$

Of course. A lot of "new Florida's" economy pretty much depends on this type of expansion & they simply don't know anything else. Even though there's a mile long foreclosure glut that'll take a decade to get through, urban core areas need redeveloped, we need a transit system, & the economy is limping along, they'll "put people back to work" with this type of same old bullshit.

Even in the densest American cities only a relatively small portion live in the urban core. For instance, Seattle has 3-million in its MSA, but has 80k residents downtown. The difference is that policy and investment in Florida hasn't supported infill redevelopment or investment in infrastructure (transit) to connect cities, urban neighborhoods, and suburbs. You're right about that. The outer beltway is an example of the continuation of a staggering misplaced investment in infrastructure that is unsustainable.

As to RiverTown - the prior plan left RiverTown with hundreds of acres of clearcut land - requiring a new plan and approach for the project. That was not an easy hand to be dealt, and unless you've have a sense of what was started with and have seen in person the commitment to open space, trails, quality design, landscape, and the preservation/celebration of the river and natural landscapes it's a bit unfair to call RiverTown the "same old b.s.". It's not.

cline

January 08, 2013, 01:49:27 PM
Quote
That was not an easy hand to be dealt, and unless you've have a sense of what was started with and have seen in person the commitment to open space, trails, quality design, landscape, and the preservation/celebration of the river and natural landscapes it's a bit unfair to call RiverTown the "same old b.s.". It's not.

In comparison to the other DRIs being build out in NW SJC (clear-cut tract housing), you're right, it is better than that.  But I'm not going to go as far as to shower it with compliments about how unique its design is.  It is still a greenfield development serving as another bedroom community to Jax.  Besides with the initial price point they were asking for, they can afford a little extra when it comes to "open space, trails...landscape" etc.  It is St. Joe after all.  They have money (well, they used to at least).

stephendare

January 08, 2013, 02:14:17 PM
Quote
That was not an easy hand to be dealt, and unless you've have a sense of what was started with and have seen in person the commitment to open space, trails, quality design, landscape, and the preservation/celebration of the river and natural landscapes it's a bit unfair to call RiverTown the "same old b.s.". It's not.

In comparison to the other DRIs being build out in NW SJC (clear-cut tract housing), you're right, it is better than that.  But I'm going to go as far as to shower it with compliments about how unique its design is.  It is still a greenfield development serving as another bedroom community to Jax.  Besides with the initial price point they were asking for, they can afford a little extra when it comes to "open space, trails...landscape" etc.  It is St. Joe after all.  They have money (well, they used to at least).

What is a DRI?

I assume NW SJC = North West St. Johns County?

cline

January 08, 2013, 02:25:53 PM
DRI=Developments of Regional Impact (Rivertown, Nocatee, Aberdeen, Durbin Crossing, Silverleaf are some of the DRIs in that area).  Most were approved back in the hey day of development.

Yes, NW SJC= Northwest St. Johns County

It's easy to get carried away with the acronyms sometimes.

fieldafm

January 08, 2013, 02:28:59 PM
Quote
That was not an easy hand to be dealt, and unless you've have a sense of what was started with and have seen in person the commitment to open space, trails, quality design, landscape, and the preservation/celebration of the river and natural landscapes it's a bit unfair to call RiverTown the "same old b.s.". It's not.

In comparison to the other DRIs being build out in NW SJC (clear-cut tract housing), you're right, it is better than that.  But I'm going to go as far as to shower it with compliments about how unique its design is.  It is still a greenfield development serving as another bedroom community to Jax.  Besides with the initial price point they were asking for, they can afford a little extra when it comes to "open space, trails...landscape" etc.  It is St. Joe after all.  They have money (well, they used to at least).

What is a DRI?

I assume NW SJC = North West St. Johns County?

DRI= Developments of Regional Impact

Basically large master planned mixed use communities (like Nocatee, Rivertown, etc), airports, large industrial projects, etc that have a large impact on the local jurisdiction beyond just what goes on within the development's defined borders. 

JFman00

January 08, 2013, 02:34:04 PM
http://rivertownflorida.com/HOA.asp
Quote
Neighborhood Conveniences

The Northeast Florida Regional Airport is only 15 miles from RiverTown. The Jacksonville International Airport is located about 32 miles from the community.

RiverTown offers convenient access to three of the area's most reputable medical facilities. The community is located about 17 miles from the Baptist Medical Center and roughly 25 miles from St. Lukes Hospital. The highly-reputable Mayo Clinic is approximately 31 miles away.

Nothing says pedestrian-friendly, walkable neighborhood like advertising conveniences 15-32 miles away. Nearest grocery 8 or 12 miles away. I can... acknowledge.... the design decision to build "modern" versions of Avondale/Riverside houses (Craftsman, but with garages!), but I struggle to see the difference between this and say... JCP. No mixed-use, no schools or workplaces nearby.

The *right* way to do greenfield development: http://www.daybreakutah.com/ , http://dc.streetsblog.org/2011/10/24/how-salt-lake-city-became-a-leader-in-transit-oriented-development/

Kudos to whoever posted this in the transit thread. The most stunning statistic to me is that 88% of children walk or bike to school.  Considering that in 2009 only 31% of K-8 children lived within a mile of school and of those only 35% walked or bike there, this community is doing something right.



stephendare

January 08, 2013, 02:35:22 PM
Quote
That was not an easy hand to be dealt, and unless you've have a sense of what was started with and have seen in person the commitment to open space, trails, quality design, landscape, and the preservation/celebration of the river and natural landscapes it's a bit unfair to call RiverTown the "same old b.s.". It's not.

In comparison to the other DRIs being build out in NW SJC (clear-cut tract housing), you're right, it is better than that.  But I'm going to go as far as to shower it with compliments about how unique its design is.  It is still a greenfield development serving as another bedroom community to Jax.  Besides with the initial price point they were asking for, they can afford a little extra when it comes to "open space, trails...landscape" etc.  It is St. Joe after all.  They have money (well, they used to at least).

What is a DRI?

I assume NW SJC = North West St. Johns County?

DRI= Developments of Regional Impact

Basically large master planned mixed use communities (like Nocatee, Rivertown, etc), airports, large industrial projects, etc that have a large impact on the local jurisdiction beyond just what goes on within the development's defined borders. 


Thanks Field.

Its very easy to forget that not everyone speaks acronym.! ;)

fieldafm

January 08, 2013, 02:45:29 PM
Quote
Nothing says pedestrian-friendly, walkable neighborhood like advertising conveniences 15-32 miles away. Nearest grocery 8 or 12 miles away. I can... acknowledge.... the design decision to build "modern" versions of Avondale/Riverside houses (Craftsman, but with garages!), but I struggle to see the difference between this and say... JCP. No mixed-use, no schools or workplaces nearby.

Bartram Trail High School is located basically within Rivertown and the master plan for the community does call for a mixed use commercial component.  Virtually all of Joe's master communities have a town center-type commercial component.  The difference b/w this and Nocatee is that Nocatee guaranteed Regency certain financial considerations which is why the Publix got built a few years ago.  That and Nocatee had a different (read speedier) model at the time they broke ground. 

I'll have to dig through my hard drive and find some pictures of Watercolor (which is real nice) and Southwood and maybe post a pictorial.

JFman00

January 08, 2013, 02:57:48 PM
Is the masterplan available publicly? I wasn't seeing it on the website.

http://www.tunspan.com/cutsheets/urban_design_town_planning/RiverTown.pdf Looks just like every other cookie cutter masterplan community out there.

fsquid

January 08, 2013, 03:02:58 PM
WAtercolor near Seaside?

fieldafm

January 08, 2013, 03:16:30 PM
I'd have to do some digging to find it, everything I'm typing is just going off memory as I'm at my home office today.

I think the DRI itself is alloted space for the buildout of I believe 5 schools at capacity.

Lovett probably has all the jpgs at his fingertips.

Quote
WAtercolor near Seaside?

Yes. 

 

CityLife

January 08, 2013, 03:26:34 PM
I'm skimming over a feasibility study that has some interesting data related to the discussion. SJC had 613 new home closing from January 2012-June 2012 which is up 43% over the same period in 2011. Clay was up 20% over that period, Duval down 14% and Nassau down 9%. Nocatee had 354 home closings between June 2011-June 2012. Durbin had 180 closings in the last 12 months of the study (not sure what dates) and Aberdeen had 75. No mention of RiverTown though.

Would be interested to see what the final numbers are for the calender year of 2012 in the metro area and in some of the developments discussed in the thread.

Steve_Lovett

January 08, 2013, 03:44:49 PM
Is the masterplan available publicly? I wasn't seeing it on the website.

http://www.tunspan.com/cutsheets/urban_design_town_planning/RiverTown.pdf Looks just like every other cookie cutter masterplan community out there.

This is the old faux-historic new-urban plan. It couldn't have been more out of context and resulted in massively insensitive clearing of natural vegetation during the early infrastructure development phases. I would think the initial phases of the new plan is available on RiverTown's website, but I'm not sure about that.

Steve_Lovett

January 08, 2013, 03:50:18 PM
^this.

Congratulations on the Cultural Council Board Appointment, btw, Steve.

Thanks, Stephen.

There's a remarkably strong undercurrent of creatives and the arts in the community and it's crucial that our policies allow it to rise to the surface such that it's recognized and cultivated as an integral part of the DNA of Jacksonville's entire community. I'm looking forward to my service on the Cultural Council Board.

Steve_Lovett

January 08, 2013, 04:14:58 PM
I'd have to do some digging to find it, everything I'm typing is just going off memory as I'm at my home office today.

I think the DRI itself is alloted space for the buildout of I believe 5 schools at capacity.

Lovett probably has all the jpgs at his fingertips.

Quote
WAtercolor near Seaside?

Yes. 

 

Unfortunately not at my fingertips, I'm focused on some other things today.

The DRI is a matter of public record and can speak to the particulars better than any of us can from memory. There is a component of the plan that contemplates St Johns County schools and there are school sites quantified and/or identified, but I can't remember the exact locations or number.

In all this discussion I hope we remember what RiverTown was (a mass cleared vacant/stalled development) and look at what it's become. It's a reminder that a project's success isn't just measured in number of sales (such as Durbin/Nocatee), although RiverTown is attracting it's share and growing. It's also about what other values are created or enhanced. This type of community isn't for everyone - but based on where it was three years ago it is a great story.

Suburban development has inherent flaws, but the residents of NW St Johns County have tens-of-millions of dollars in new infrastructure improvements, a beautiful new public park with river access, lots of new trails and open space, and improvements to State Road 13 that will make it more beautiful and much safer for both drivers and pedestrians. Those are all wins that this project created or supported.

Ocklawaha

January 08, 2013, 05:23:52 PM



Weedmans, Orangedale's (Rivertown's) best kept secret.

Actually Rivertown is exactly 1.6 miles from Weedmans Supermarket in Orangedale, granted its not Publix, but it is every bit of a small full line grocery. BTW, Weedmans has an excellent meat market, and many of their prepared foods are shipped out to area C-Stores. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Weedmans-Grocery/119111008140806 Orangedale also has a Sawmill, C-Store w/gas, public pier, Tackle Shop, Pub, and Antique Store. So it's not nearly as remote as one might think, Also Green Cove Springs is within 8 miles of either WGV or Rivertown. 

As for the plan:





CityLife

January 08, 2013, 05:28:38 PM
I'd have to do some digging to find it, everything I'm typing is just going off memory as I'm at my home office today.

I think the DRI itself is alloted space for the buildout of I believe 5 schools at capacity.

Lovett probably has all the jpgs at his fingertips.

Quote
WAtercolor near Seaside?

Yes. 

 

In all this discussion I hope we remember what RiverTown was (a mass cleared vacant/stalled development) and look at what it's become. It's a reminder that a project's success isn't just measured in number of sales (such as Durbin/Nocatee), although RiverTown is attracting it's share and growing. It's also about what other values are created or enhanced. This type of community isn't for everyone - but based on where it was three years ago it is a great story.

Suburban development has inherent flaws, but the residents of NW St Johns County have tens-of-millions of dollars in new infrastructure improvements, a beautiful new public park with river access, lots of new trails and open space, and improvements to State Road 13 that will make it more beautiful and much safer for both drivers and pedestrians. Those are all wins that this project created or supported.

What are the specific positives to the plans that have been added since the project was originally planned? I do know that one of the developments (RiverTown Lakes) has removed rear alleys, on street parking, and a connection to another residential area from the original plans in order to add larger, and more traditionally suburban lots. Of course that is likely due to market conditions, but some may say that is a negative change.

Nocatee was originally intended and approved to be much more of a new urbanist style community, particularly where the Publix (Town Center) is now with gridded street, alleyways, and connectivity between neighborhoods. It also has significant preserve space, trails, recreation, and open space. However, due to market conditions the developers significantly modified the plans and it has become a hodge podge of suburban subdivisions.  Will RiverTown avoid that route and stay truer to some of the original TND concepts?

For the record, while it may have seemed I was being critical of RiverTown earlier. I was merely pointing out that the article was a little fluffy. RiverTown has a lot of long term potential, it just seems to be behind Nocatee and some other SJC developments in demand right now.

 

Ocklawaha

January 08, 2013, 05:33:03 PM
It would be very cool if one of these developers did something with the old Switzerland Naval Air Station. The community of Spruce Creek south and west of Daytona Beach recycled theirs into a fly in ranchette location.








SWITZERLAND NOLF

Steve_Lovett

January 08, 2013, 09:33:14 PM
I'd have to do some digging to find it, everything I'm typing is just going off memory as I'm at my home office today.

I think the DRI itself is alloted space for the buildout of I believe 5 schools at capacity.

Lovett probably has all the jpgs at his fingertips.

Quote
WAtercolor near Seaside?

Yes. 

 

In all this discussion I hope we remember what RiverTown was (a mass cleared vacant/stalled development) and look at what it's become. It's a reminder that a project's success isn't just measured in number of sales (such as Durbin/Nocatee), although RiverTown is attracting it's share and growing. It's also about what other values are created or enhanced. This type of community isn't for everyone - but based on where it was three years ago it is a great story.

Suburban development has inherent flaws, but the residents of NW St Johns County have tens-of-millions of dollars in new infrastructure improvements, a beautiful new public park with river access, lots of new trails and open space, and improvements to State Road 13 that will make it more beautiful and much safer for both drivers and pedestrians. Those are all wins that this project created or supported.

What are the specific positives to the plans that have been added since the project was originally planned? I do know that one of the developments (RiverTown Lakes) has removed rear alleys, on street parking, and a connection to another residential area from the original plans in order to add larger, and more traditionally suburban lots. Of course that is likely due to market conditions, but some may say that is a negative change.

Nocatee was originally intended and approved to be much more of a new urbanist style community, particularly where the Publix (Town Center) is now with gridded street, alleyways, and connectivity between neighborhoods. It also has significant preserve space, trails, recreation, and open space. However, due to market conditions the developers significantly modified the plans and it has become a hodge podge of suburban subdivisions.  Will RiverTown avoid that route and stay truer to some of the original TND concepts?

For the record, while it may have seemed I was being critical of RiverTown earlier. I was merely pointing out that the article was a little fluffy. RiverTown has a lot of long term potential, it just seems to be behind Nocatee and some other SJC developments in demand right now.

Out of curiosity, how is a lot in RiverTown with on-street parking and an alley any more urban or connected than a conventional lot with a front facing garage? They're both 27 miles from the central city, right? The answer, it isn't.

For example, my house in Avondale had an alley. My neighbor across the street didn't. Mine was no more or less "new urbanist" (circa 1907) than my neighbors. We shared the same context. Same goes for RiverTown. It's all a suburban or rural context no matter how the concept of New Urbanism wants to hype it. 

The qualities of a community are worth focusing on. Things like sidewalks, parks within walking distance, open spaces, trails, preservation of sensitive ecological systems, etc.. These things were focused on in every village developed so far at RiverTown and they were taken a step further in that they connected to larger recreational/trail systems that were required along State Road 13, and on through to Riverfront Park and the St Johns River. Whenever the commercial development and schools are constructed, you might expect the same emphasis on pedestrian connectivity to carry on.

You asked about specific improvements. The pace of SR-13 has been slowed allowing safe pedestrian access to the river. The pedestrian connections between the Main Street District and Lakes District are stronger, with the elimination of roads and replacing them with pedestrian trails, and a stronger visual connection to the river has been created with the reconfiguration of the entry and alignment with Riverfront Park. And - we've created a killer playground at the community park, including a 13-foot tall "king of the hill mound". :-) There's nothing like that playground anywhere!

It's true that RiverTown is behind Nocatee and others. They all started development and sales 5-7 years ago. RiverTown has just re-launched (I hate that term) within the past year or so. 

cline

January 08, 2013, 10:02:04 PM
Quote
The qualities of a community are worth focusing on. Things like sidewalks, parks within walking distance, open spaces, trails, preservation of sensitive ecological systems, etc.. These things were focused on in every village developed so far at RiverTown and they were taken a step further in that they connected to larger recreational/trail systems that were required along State Road 13, and on through to Riverfront Park and the St Johns River. Whenever the commercial development and schools are constructed, you might expect the same emphasis on pedestrian connectivity to carry on.

I'm not sure what you're getting at.  Yes, pedestrian features, parks, trails, etc. are all good design features.  All of which are inherent in many of our older neighborhoods.  The point is that this development is in the middle of no where.  It is more of a detriment than it is a positive.  I laugh when you say "preservation of sensitive ecological systems".  Would this development be more sensitive to these systems if it left them as they were or if they destroyed a portion of them like it has done?  You say that this project created many "wins" because the developer contributed millions of dollars in infrastructure but I'll say it again, they didn't pick up the true cost.  Tell me, who will be picking up the tab for the eventual interchange modifications at CR 210 and 95 because of these added commuters?  Or, who is paying for SR 9B that will open up even more of this land?  Somehow I don't view that as a win for me.

ubben

January 08, 2013, 10:09:48 PM
I love living in Avondale, but lets not pretend we have awesome sidewalks here. Well, some of us do. Then they abruptly stop. And start again across the street. Or disappear altogether and you have to walk in the road. Perhaps this is an issue We Love Avondale can tackle. Sidewalks for everyone! Let's put their energy to some good use now that the Mellow Mushroom brouhaha is finally over.

Steve_Lovett

January 08, 2013, 10:34:09 PM
Quote
The qualities of a community are worth focusing on. Things like sidewalks, parks within walking distance, open spaces, trails, preservation of sensitive ecological systems, etc.. These things were focused on in every village developed so far at RiverTown and they were taken a step further in that they connected to larger recreational/trail systems that were required along State Road 13, and on through to Riverfront Park and the St Johns River. Whenever the commercial development and schools are constructed, you might expect the same emphasis on pedestrian connectivity to carry on.

I'm not sure what you're getting at.  Yes, pedestrian features, parks, trails, etc. are all good design features.  All of which are inherent in many of our older neighborhoods.  The point is that this development is in the middle of no where.  It is more of a detriment than it is a positive.  I laugh when you say "preservation of sensitive ecological systems".  Would this development be more sensitive to these systems if it left them as they were or if they destroyed a portion of them like it has done?  You say that this project created many "wins" because the developer contributed millions of dollars in infrastructure but I'll say it again, they didn't pick up the true cost.  Tell me, who will be picking up the tab for the eventual interchange modifications at CR 210 and 95 because of these added commuters?  Or, who is paying for SR 9B that will open up even more of this land?  Somehow I don't view that as a win for me.

My comments were directed at another post from someone other than you, in response to a specific question.

With respect to your comments, out of curiosity, which ecological systems were destroyed? I can't speak to anything about RiverTown prior to 2009, but the new plan improvements replaced hundreds of acres of bare dirt from the projects original clearing that increases runoff volumes, potential water quality/turbidity, soil erosion, etc.. It also includes landscape improvements that are beginning to restore a tree canopy that has value in processing carbon to oxygen, providing shade, and habitat. Waterfront improvements are designed to support the viability and regeneration of seagrass beds that create important Manatee habitat. Taken together, the ecological performance of the site has improved in the past 3-4 years.

You can argue that the property should've never been developed (and I may not disagree) but current land use policy doesn't support that at this time and that cake was baked many, many years ago as RiverTown has long since gone through the public approval process.

Development exists on all sides (North: Julington Creek Plantation, West: Green Cove Springs across the Shands Bridge, South: Heritage Landing/World Golf Village, and East: CR 210 corridor and Aberdeen/Durbin Crossing). Despite all that there is very hardly any public recreation or river access in the area.

In that context, creating a new public access to the river and riverfront park and making State Road 13 safer are positives for the people in St Johns County.

thelakelander

January 08, 2013, 11:01:11 PM
Is there an accessible master plan of RiverTown anywhere online?

fsquid

January 09, 2013, 02:56:35 PM
Is there an accessible master plan of RiverTown anywhere online?

I haven't found one.  I might jet down there this weekend and look around.  I'm interested in that park.

Tacachale

January 09, 2013, 04:25:52 PM
Quote
The qualities of a community are worth focusing on. Things like sidewalks, parks within walking distance, open spaces, trails, preservation of sensitive ecological systems, etc.. These things were focused on in every village developed so far at RiverTown and they were taken a step further in that they connected to larger recreational/trail systems that were required along State Road 13, and on through to Riverfront Park and the St Johns River. Whenever the commercial development and schools are constructed, you might expect the same emphasis on pedestrian connectivity to carry on.

I'm not sure what you're getting at.  Yes, pedestrian features, parks, trails, etc. are all good design features.  All of which are inherent in many of our older neighborhoods.  The point is that this development is in the middle of no where.  It is more of a detriment than it is a positive.  I laugh when you say "preservation of sensitive ecological systems".  Would this development be more sensitive to these systems if it left them as they were or if they destroyed a portion of them like it has done?  You say that this project created many "wins" because the developer contributed millions of dollars in infrastructure but I'll say it again, they didn't pick up the true cost.  Tell me, who will be picking up the tab for the eventual interchange modifications at CR 210 and 95 because of these added commuters?  Or, who is paying for SR 9B that will open up even more of this land?  Somehow I don't view that as a win for me.

My comments were directed at another post from someone other than you, in response to a specific question.

With respect to your comments, out of curiosity, which ecological systems were destroyed? I can't speak to anything about RiverTown prior to 2009, but the new plan improvements replaced hundreds of acres of bare dirt from the projects original clearing that increases runoff volumes, potential water quality/turbidity, soil erosion, etc.. It also includes landscape improvements that are beginning to restore a tree canopy that has value in processing carbon to oxygen, providing shade, and habitat. Waterfront improvements are designed to support the viability and regeneration of seagrass beds that create important Manatee habitat. Taken together, the ecological performance of the site has improved in the past 3-4 years.

You can argue that the property should've never been developed (and I may not disagree) but current land use policy doesn't support that at this time and that cake was baked many, many years ago as RiverTown has long since gone through the public approval process.

Development exists on all sides (North: Julington Creek Plantation, West: Green Cove Springs across the Shands Bridge, South: Heritage Landing/World Golf Village, and East: CR 210 corridor and Aberdeen/Durbin Crossing). Despite all that there is very hardly any public recreation or river access in the area.

In that context, creating a new public access to the river and riverfront park and making State Road 13 safer are positives for the people in St Johns County.

Cline, by and large I agree with you, but I think your view here may be overly cynical. Whether or not there ever should have been a River Town development to begin with, we ended up with it anyway. It looks to me that the River Town of 2013 looks a lot better than the River Town we were on track to get. I think that counts for something.

Steve_Lovett

January 09, 2013, 07:10:44 PM
Is there an accessible master plan of RiverTown anywhere online?

The working Master Plan is still the county-approved document that describes the framework of the overall project, showing major circulation, access points, wetlands, etc. Too often these types of large development projects have overly-prescribed master plans that don't allow them to adapt to changing market conditions or superior planning ideas that evolve over time.

 

NWSJCNINI

July 08, 2013, 08:54:43 AM
While I agree that River Town is far from bursting at the seams they have started to build in there again. I don't agree that it is in the middle of nowhere. Have you been to the area in the last 20 years. There is a Publix about 5 or 6 miles north on SR 13. Granted as city folks who might be within walking distance of a grocery store we who don't live in a large city hardly consider that as being in the middle of nowhere. As far as that's concerned a vast part of Duval county could be considered the middle of nowhere. From what I've seem so far in River Town has been positive. They have created a beautiful park along the river. There are a lot of new roads in the NW area of St John's that will cut down on traffic on SR 13 and as far as anyone coming in and cutting down the beautiful oaks along 13 to widen it that can't be done. Thanks to I believe Governer Martinez it has been declared a historic highway named after William Bartram. I remember fighting years ago to save the oaks. As far as this area being developed on some aspects I hate to see it happen but I would still rather live out here "in the middle of nowhere" than live in Jacksonville anyday!!
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