St. Joe Company wraps up Open Houses for Sector Plan

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Tuesday night ended the sixth in a series of open houses the St. Joe Company has conducted in the past year to educated residents on the Bay-Walton Sector Plan.

The proposed plan would ultimately bring a retirement community to the both counties similar to The Villages in Central Florida.

The project would span from Highway 77 in Bay County, to Highway 98 in Walton County; a little over 150,000 acres.

Company officials hope this new community will help bring more of a traffic flow in and out of the airport in Bay County.

As for Walton County, and it’s already higher retiree number, St. Joe Company officials hopes this community just adds to that factor economically.

The past two nights, company officials have been answering questions and concerns residents may have about the plan.

"Tuesday in Bay County we had about 85 to 90 individuals who came out,” said Jorge Gonzalez, Senior VP for the Company. “Just asking general questions about the project and those are the kinds of questions we want them to ask."

Some residents see both the pros and cons of the project.

"The biggest issue would be at the roads,” said Bunker Creek Resident, Eric Akins. “Now we have a lot of dirt roads to get out there. Depending on what they do with the new 388 parkway that shortens out our road quite a bit."

"They are talking about a really important four lane connector I think they are calling it the bay connector,” said Kathy Fraser, a Watercolor Resident. “North of where 98 is and connect back up to the new airport and I see that as critical for hurricane evacuation."

The next step is for the company to request approval from both Walton and Bay counties.

The whole process could take a year.

The retirement community could take 50 years to complete

St. Joe Company officials hope to apply for permits within the week.