Plum Pudding Podcasts

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.

Proposed Development AreaHere’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.


Mike Byerly, Chair - District 1

Mike Byerly, Chair – District 1

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:


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.


Hawthorn Annexation Area Map

Hawthorn Annexation Area Map










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

Stand By Our Plan

Alachua County’s Comprehensive plan 

Future Land Use Map 2030 Alachua County

Alachua County Growth Management

Plum Creek’s Envision Alachua

Story by WUFT on Plum Pudding and the Plum Creek Development



The Price of Sprawl

Florida has more than enough housing for decades to come and much more is already approved in our local growth plans. Explore the map to see what is this over-development is costing YOU.