St. Joe Eyes Mexico Beach Property, Again

Bay County's largest private landowner is reviving plans to develop more than 400 acres of land east of Tyndall Air Force Base.

The St. Joe Company's previous housing development proposal was rejected by Bay County citizens over three years ago.

Back then there was concern that any development near Tyndall Air Force Base could affect the base's future. The Base Realignment and Closure Commission weighs "encroachment" as one of the variables in deciding if a base remains open or is to be closed.

Tyndall did not make BRAC's final list, so now St. Joe is moving ahead with those original development plans, and that has some Mexico Beach residents upset.

Residents like Jackie Spann say it's just a waiting game until the 400 acres of waterfront property is developed.

“I mean, look at it; that's the last there is. There isn't anymore and they're going to cover it up with condos, money talks."

Back in 2002 St. Joe looked into building on this land but pulled their rezoning application saying it wasn't in the best interest of the community to build at that time and in that capacity. Now the company will try again, this time asking for permission to build only low density resort residential housing.

St. Joe officials told News Channel Seven they have no plans to build high rises.

Concern over the site stems from the fact that it is located directly underneath the landing and takeoff flight path for Tyndall's main runway and is also close to several locations where explosives are stored and tested.

Larry Dantzler of the Bay Defense Alliance says this poses safety and noise concerns.

"In that east end of Tyndall is a place called Silver Flag and they do a lot of things out there. One, they blow up bombs, 2000 pound bombs, and you will certainly hear explosives when they go off in that general area."

There are still military concerns. Air Force officials are worried the development may impede operations. There is no word on whether the air force or the state has looked into purchasing the land themselves.

The City of Mexico Beach will hold two public hearings on February 7 and 14 at 5 p.m.