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Karen Bell
Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Karen Bell.


It was heartening to read about the Keep Liberty Beautiful efforts to organize 800 or more volunteers for the annual Rivers Alive clean up activities.  I smiled when I read “ We like to catch litter where it happens before it ends up in deep rivers and the ocean....”. The reason for the smile is that it is the type of concern that Liberty County  needs to demonstrate to protect its coast for great reasons and according to its adopted Comprehensive Plan.

Coincidently, there is  a proposed zoning change brought to the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission (LCPC) in September which requests a  277 pad RV park to be built on 90 acres next to the South Newport River, as in right up to the shoreline.  This would be basically a 90 acre parking lot with terrible potential for polluted storm water run-off into one of the two estuaries cited for preservation in the county’s Plan.   Please think about that.

The developer applicant’s plan, South Newport Harbor, is terribly flawed, full of misrepresentations, and is still under review, which next occurs on Nov. 19.  I urge residents to ask their Planning Commissioners about the zoning for this parcel.  It should be left as an open space buffer, regardless of its historical zoning for condos (which also would be impossible to be built on the site due to economics, soil conditions, and other reasons).   In any event, I hope by this letter to raise  public awareness for what is proposed for a very much alive river, now.   The development plan runs in direct opposition to being the good environmental steward the County has signed up to be.

Full disclosure, I am a resident of McIntosh County and one of many fellow homeowners across the South Newport River filing a petition with the LCPC that the zoning change is not appropriate for the neighborhood.  We also are the folks who built the floating dock at the Route 17 boat ramp which is used extensively by both counties for fishing, hurrah!  Like us, the  dock is nearby the proposed RV park and would receive polluted water on an incoming tide. Yuck!

Lastly, like Karen Bell, I would like to publicly thank SNF Holdings again for providing some of the cash to pay for the dock which was built to help all folks appreciate the South Newport.  Together, we can keep the rivers alive!

Robert Emerson, president,

Friends of South Newport River, Inc

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