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Leaders approve another 5,600 homes for St. Johns County project that's already approved for 10,700

St. Johns County commissioners give Silverleaf development the okay to expand even after listening to dozens of residents plead to slow down development

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla — A massive development in St. Johns County just got the go-ahead Tuesday to get even bigger. It’s the Silverleaf neighborhoods.

This, while people stood in line to plead with county commissioners to stop approving so much development. New houses and cleared land are almost everywhere you look inside one of the Silverleaf neighborhoods in Northwest St. Johns County.

"We are overdeveloped," Jacqueline Leblanc said. The St. Johns County resident has seen the county rapidly grow. 

County leaders already approved Silverleaf to build 10,700 homes off of 16A in northwest St. Johns County.

On Tuesday, Leblanc pleaded with commissioners to not give Silverleaf developers permission to build 5,600 more homes. She told them, "There comes a time when the cork must be put back in the bottle."

Leblanc was one of dozens who lined up, asking commissioners to vote "no" on this project. 

They cited already overloaded roads, not enough schools and classrooms, and environmental impacts. 

Frank Oliva sees another problem.

"Wood frame houses are potentially vulnerable to hurricanes and that’s what this county’s building code allows, wood frame houses. We could have a major catastrophe in the making," Oliva said. 

Once built-out, Silverleaf could have 13,000 to 16,000 residents. One man said in Tuesday’s meeting that’s like putting a Palatka or an Atlantic Beach in Northwest St. Johns County.

The total land use would be about 10,000 acres or 17 square miles.

The developer is the Hutson Companies, a company that Senator Travis Hutson and his family have. They say they aim to soften the impact of the project by setting aside three school sites, creating a regional park and building infrastructure before building more homes.

However, that’s not enough for Tuesday's packed commission chambers, full of people asking for a "no" vote.

Leblanc's message to St. Johns County commissioners was, "If you stop approving, the word will get out, and the developers will stop buying land."

In the end, the voices of the people were not enough for commissioners, who voted 4-1 in favor of Silverleaf. It's a project that could likely change northwest St. Johns County.

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RELATED: Leaders approve another 5,600 homes to St. Johns County housing project that's already approved for 10,700

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