What is Plum Creek and What Does it Mean for the Future of Alachua County?
Scroll down for links to six podcast episodes about this project.
Here’s a David and Goliath fight about a group of citizens in Alachua County Florida going up against the biggest landowner in the United States. Alachua County is home to the University of Florida and numerous world class health care facilities and related businesses. Its charm is enhanced by a mix of forests and water, sprinkled with quaint communities, including Gainesville, famous for its tree lined streets.
It is also home to Plum Creek, about 65,000 acres of completely undeveloped land on the eastern side of the county. Plum Creek’s owner, the nation’s biggest landholding corporation, wants to develop parts of it.
This story pits the public good against maximizing corporate shareholder value and property rights. It tells the tale of how diverse and well organized citizens scramble to protect their community and quality of life. Alachua County’s entire future is at stake. Maybe you’ve seen this play out in your community? It’s the story of how big development happens in Florida.
Proposed Development Area
Episode 1. You May Find Yourself
Off to Alachua County to witness a classic Florida fight: developer vs. citizens.
Episode 2. This Is Not My Beautiful House
Alachua County Commissioner Mike Byerly explains how and why the county’s blueprint for growth–its comprehensive plan– is supposed to balance the common good with growth. What exactly is that elusive, beautiful thing, the “common good”?
Episode 3. Into the Blue Again
Plum Creek makes its move to change the county’s plan to allow massive development on its vast wetlands and forests. It rolls out a charm offensive to sell it. “Heads I win, tails you lose.”
Episode 4. Water Flowing Under
Isn’t “wetlands” another word for “swamp”—why should we care about swamps?
Plum Creek Wetlands map: https://diigo.com/08auc6
Episode 5. How Do I Work This?
There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Plum Creek does an end run around Alachua County by seeking to annex into tiny Hawthorne.
Episode 6. Where Does That Highway Go?
It’s down to the wire for Alachua County’s future. Sprawl vs. nature? How would you vote?
Photo below by Colin Hackley
Epilogue. And Then the County Commission met….
Links and Additional Resources