Maintaining Rural Densities in the Red Hills

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Tallahassee-Leon County’s urban service area directs future growth and helps protect rural areas.

Issue Overview

(Updated May 2014)

Periodically, efforts are undertaken to increase rural development densities in portions of the Red Hills. In Leon County, this has happened on a number of occasions over the past 20 years. Maintaining very low residential densities in rural areas is one of the best ways to protect rural landscapes, forest resources, and farming while encouraging growth in urbanized areas where it is more appropriate and cost effective.

Efforts to increase rural development density threaten the rural character of the region and are inconsistent with the intent of the Tallahassee-Leon County Comprehensive Plan. Most recently, in 2011/12, a comprehensive plan amendment was proposed on a rural tract of land in eastern Leon County. The amendment would have provided a significant density bonus in return for conserving a portion of the property. This significant density bonus provided an incentive to build in rural areas, outside the established Urban Service Area boundary.

How would this affect the Red Hills?

Low densities (one unit per 10 acres) help protect rural landscapes in Leon County.

Low densities (one unit per 10 acres) help protect rural landscapes in Leon County.

Incentivizing development in rural portions of the Red Hills would fragment rural lands, change rural character, and potentially create conflicts with the use of prescribed fire, which is an important land management tool. In addition, higher densities far away from urban areas increase costs for providing infrastructure such as roads, water, and sewer systems. Providing services such as school transportation and law, fire and emergency medical services is also more costly as communities spread out and consume more land.

What can you do?

Following recommendations for denial by the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department, the Planning Commission, the Leon County Water Resources Advisory Committee, several advocacy organizations (including Tall Timbers), and many members of the public, the applicant’s representative withdrew this amendment. The public can stay informed about other proposed comprehensive plan amendments by clicking on the following link www.talgov.com/planning/planninghome.aspx. In addition, this site will be updated accordingly should any amendments or development proposals emerge that could affect the Red Hills Region.

For more information

Contact TTLC Planning Coordinator Neil Fleckenstein at 850-893-4153, ext. 335 or e-mail Neil Fleckenstein.

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