OLF 8 Zoning Left to Master Developer

By Duwayne Escobedo, Inweekly

The Escambia County Commission decided to leave the zoning of the 640-acre Outlying Landing Field 8 in Beulah to the master planner.

None of the five members on the commission wanted to hinder future planning on the site they purchased from the U.S. Navy for more than $17 million. The commission has begun seeking bids from organizations interested in helping shape development of the site, which will include a commerce park, among other amenities.

District 1 commissioner Jeff Bergosh, who represents the area, said the master planner should be allowed to come up with its own ideas.

“We need to go out there with a blank slate,” Bergosh said.

Doug Underhill, the District 2 commissioner, echoed Bergosh.

“We do not want to lay any constraints out,” Underhill said.

Additionally, the commissioners agreed to think outside the box on how it could begin to recoup the cost of owning the land until development is ready to begin. For example, mowing could cost the county up to $115,000 a year, county staff reported.

District 4 commissioner Robert Bender recommended finding out if 4-H youth clubs or other organizations would be interested in doing horticultural or other projects there.

Commission Chairman Lumon May, who represents District 3, agreed with Bender. “That’s very doable.”