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Okaloosa to discuss acquiring 207 acres of Eglin AFB land for affordable housing in Niceville

The Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners will hold a special meeting Tuesday, February 13, to discuss acquiring 207 acres of Eglin Air Force Base property west of Northwest Florida […]

The Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners will hold a special meeting Tuesday, February 13, to discuss acquiring 207 acres of Eglin Air Force Base property west of Northwest Florida State College’s Niceville campus for a potential affordable housing development.

  • The 2 p.m. meeting at the county’s Crestview Courthouse will focus on potentially purchasing the land near College Boulevard.

The county sent a letter of intent to Eglin last August stating interest in developing workforce housing on the wooded site once used as a golf course. In the letter, then-Commissioner Trey Goodwin outlined an overview of what the county would like to pursue.

“The intent of this proposal is to expand the opportunity of various segments of our population to obtain practical, affordable housing,” wrote Goodwin. “Though only in the concept stage, the vision is a mix of single-family and multi-family units that would be sold to a blend of owners that would include service personnel, senior citizens, and the general population. The exact mix would be refined as the planning matures in preparation for actual development.”

  • Along with the residential components, the letter indicated that various commercial uses are being contemplated “not only to support the needs of the future residents, but also to provide much-needed, viable office space for defense support contractors and offer new retail options for all of Okaloosa County’s residents and visitors.”

Although a number of issues arose during early negotiations, the County and Military continued to discuss the project. Last week, the potential to purchase the property fee simple was offered to the County. 

According to county documents, any actual sale would be subject to a process involving appraisals and legislative action from Congress. “The process will likely take some amount of time to complete, which would allow some of the other details to be developed beyond any acquisition,” according to the county. 

The property itself is shown as 207 acres and indicates approximately 36 acres of wetland/conservation due to Mill Creek running through the property. The current cost of the property is unknown as of this time.

  • Any housing development would have height restrictions and lighting standards to avoid interfering with Eglin’s missions. Previous mixed-use plans also included potential defense contractor offices and new retail space.

Funding the acquisition remains undetermined, but county documents show potential sources including general fund reserves, affordable housing fees, American Rescue Plan Act money and state housing grants. Each option carries various development conditions and spending timeline limitations.

8 Responses

  1. Please do not allow more of the “shot gun homes” similar to those built in Niceville. Also, a reminder and respect for Okaloosa County’s residential property boundary codes, 20 feet from slab to slab on each side, and at least 10 feet from front slab to.street and 10 feet from slab to back property boundary. Having homes closer together than this, is a fire hazard for multiple homes on either side of the home initiating the fire. In fact, i would like City and County planning committee avoid developers from violating okaloosa County”s property boundary codes.

  2. Not sure why there is desire to destroy 200 acres (36 being wetland) to build homes for the military, offices for defense contractors, and retail space. 1. There is an abundance of vacant buildings, office space, deteriorating building lots, etc near the bases for defense contractors to reappropriate. In fact, the base is looking for somebody to develop 98 acres near the R.E.E.F. 2. If more affordable housing is needed for military personnel, then the DoD should build on Eglin. There is plenty of space still available where housing used to stand but has been torn down in recent years. 3. Incentivize and entice companies to come and use the space in our towns, instead of allowing more storage locker/car wash/oil change companies. If you want to build affordable homes for senior citizens and others, then revitalize ValP and the dilapidated areas of Niceville and FWB. Invest in the already built cities and make them affordable places where people would want to live and leave the trees and wetlands alone for as long as we can.

    1. Gosh you hit the nail on the head! So many of us think the same way you do! I hate all this clear cutting. It makes me sick. What can we do? I especially hate it when I see the old oak trees getting cut down. It’s awful. With all the dilapidated areas around here and they want to destroy more habitat. Words can’t describe….

  3. I am against any funding that involves the Federal government because of the strings that are always attached. The Commissioners might say the target is active duty military and senior citizens now but once the Feds get involved… will not stay that way.

  4. Sounds like some builder has his hands in the pockets of Okaloosa County Commissioners. Why would the federal government “give” Land to a county so they could sell it?!

  5. BSC is spot with thier comments. The other question is why would EAFB be interested in disposing of any land that by definition becomes an encrochment on the working boundaries of the base.

  6. I have actually sent requests for the property to establish a sports complex/ walking trails for the tax payers of this city in 2021. Twin oaks is too small for the growing sports teams. I was told by Eglin AFB Officials that the area is mission essential and could not be leased/developed due to mission requirements. City planners need to consider parks and running trails. Maybe they would consider creating a space like the complex in Freeport.

  7. I really wish we would fix our roads and infrastructure before even considering building more homes. The sewer system is so dilapidated it regularly backs up into people’s homes. The timing of our lights is completely off one turns green as the next turns red. The roads have so many potholes it’s like you are off-roading on a main strip. The only concern for our County Commissioners is bringing in more TDC money, more houses, and not the well-being of the actual citizens living here.

    One thing I always appreciated about living here was that we still had green surrounding us. We complain about interactions with bears now what do we imagine that is going to be like if we take away all of the land they are currently living in? These properties do not need to become more houses especially not now. Fix our issues and put the People First.

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