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Blueprint Clears Way For Welaunee Comp Plan Amendments, Agrees To More Public Meetings

Jessica Yeary
Jessica Yeary being sworn-in virtually as public defender

The Intergovernmental agency, Blueprint 2000 is moving forward with plans to grow Tallahassee’s urban services area by another 2,800 acres. The move puts more of the Welaunee Plantation within city services.

The decision comes amid criticism of a lack of time for people to comment on the proposal. In response, Blueprint is planning a series of public meetings.

Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor raised the issue of what’s called the “southern strategy” in debate over an amendment to the comp plan that places more land in the northern part of the city and county into the urban services boundary. The strategy encourages investment in the area’s south side.

“I’m unable to reconcile my commitment to the southern strategy in the comp plan and recognize the continued growth, Proctor said, describing his concerns with continued development in Tallahassee's northeast corridor.”

The urban services area delineates where services like transit and utilities fall under the duties of the city. While Proctor’s comments addressed a small parcel of land near Chiles High School, the issue also forms the foundation of arguments against a bigger shift of the boundary to encompass more of the Welaunee Plantation. The move has been highly controversial and critics have raised concerns about not being able to comment publicly on the proposal. Several commissioners, including Proctor and City Mayor John Dailey, openly clashed over who will foot the bill when it comes time to construct additional utilities and transit in the area. Proctor argued residents in his district would be forced to pay for services they won't use.

“I continue to object to the colonization of the southside. Taking our money, and spending it with the mothership somewhere beyond us," he said.

That earned a sharp rebuttal from Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey.

Commissioner Proctor, I could not disagree with you more but I appreciate your participation," Dailey said.

Efforts to reschedule the hearing for September failed.

Blueprint received more than 500 written comments—most aimed at the Welaunee issue. County Commissioner Mary Ann Lindley’s proposal to have at least two public conversations—one in-person and one online—was accepted. Those hearings will take place as the state considers the county’s changes to the comp plan. The convos would have to be done before September, when a final vote on the changes is expected.