Lynn Haven to hold off on approving new Mill Bayou housing development

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LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB)–Residents, stakeholders, and commissioners went back and forth Tuesday morning as they defended their views on the future housing development to potentially be located next to The Villages of Mill Bayou. Arbor Properties is looking to construct a 462-unit development north of State Road 390. Residents in the area fear it will cause a public safety problem.

“My concern is that even though this looks good on paper and it passes the code and is compliant with the law, just because we can doesn’t mean we should,” said Lori Ubowski, a Mill Bayou resident.

Ubowski and her neighbors say the project needs to go back to the drawing board. They believe there’s not enough infrastructure to support the heightened traffic from more residents.

“How can that be a good idea? It only takes two cars to have an accident and if you have one during school time when someone’s exiting that apartment complex, you’re going to back up all of 390,” said another concerned resident living in Mill Bayou.

Some suggested North Bay Haven Charter Academy find a solution to the school traffic already causing congestion in that area. But school leaders say there’s nothing left to do. They already have staggered dismissal times among grades.

“We’ve done everything we know humanly possible and logistically possible to minimize the traffic situation,” said Larry Bolinger, the Chief Education Officer for North Bay Haven Charter Academy.

The developer’s agent, Jim Slonina with Panhandle Engineering, was in attendance to further explain and defend the project. He remains optimistic that it will encourage residents to move to the area and that it is completely feasible.

“I’d like to put in the record that we’ve met all requirements for land use, we’ve responded, we’ve built what we said we were going to build and we’ve met all the levels of services and requirements from the city code,” Slonina said.

Others at the meeting said the future Titus Road connector project being carried out by Bay County may help to alleviate the traffic that residents are citing as a concern. That project is currently awaiting permitting with the Department of Environmental Protection. Once it’s approved, the county says they will be ready to proceed with construction. But there is no timeline yet.

After hours of debate, the city decided to hold off on further discussing the issue until they meet with the county and the state. Then the commission plans on holding a workshop with citizens to further discuss their concerns.

Arbor Properties declined an on-camera interview regarding the future development.

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