BCC approves creation of Sandridge Community Development District

Board also puts school’s half-cent sales tax on general election ballot

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GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The Board of County Commissioners approved the creation of a Sandridge Community Development District at its Tuesday meeting with a 5-0 vote.

This district will be similar to developments like the Fleming Island Plantation. The CDD was pitched by Lauren Gentry of Hopping Green & Sams on behalf of the Wood Development Company of Jacksonville. It will manage the nearly 300-acre district.

“Establishing the CDD today would provide a governing and financing body [to the specified area] that would serve the body of land this is proposed to be over,” Gentry said. “It does not override approvals otherwise left to the county.”

The proposed district covers 290.5 acres near the 2429 Sandridge Road area and the proposed district is anticipated to provide public infrastructure like roadway improvements, stormwater improvements, utilities and more, according to Gentry. She said the CDD would also cover recreational amenities like parks and associated landscaping.

The main advantage of a CDD in this case is to provide governance and special financing to this area as it has access to “tax exempt public bond markets” which gives it greater flexibility and allows the CDD to pay back bonds through a levy of special assessments through the tax roll, Gentry said. This makes the CDD a “great financial vehicle” over a more traditional government body, she said.

The CDD is still a government body in the state of Florida and it’s subject to sunshine laws and all actions must be taken publicly. Public records will be publicly accessible, an annual audit is required and a website that details everything must be created.

“It will be very transparent and accountable,” Gentry said.

The CDD will be controlled by developers with property in the area at first, but Gentry said that once the district has 250 registered voters living within it, the CDD will turn over to residential control. Gentry told the BCC a CDD will benefit the county since improvements will be paid by residents living within the district.

“The county benefits...include...assurance that there is a stable financing source with no financial burden on those outside the CDD,” Gentry said. “It increases the tax base for [Clay County]...and provides a more stable maintenance entity to ensure functionality of the project long after the original developer is gone. It ensures that growth pays for itself.”

Gentry said CDD debt is not disclosed in county financial statements and that the county will retain all zoning and permitting authority in the area, with no administrative cost to the county government. The BCC voted unanimously to approve the creation of this CDD following Gentry’s presentation.

In other business, the BCC approved the school board’s half-cent sales tax resolution which means the resolution will appear on the general election ballot in November.

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