Western Nassau Heritage Preservation (WNHP)

Update: Planning Staff will begin the process of implementing the WNHP

In response to a Fall 2017 Urban Land Institute report on the impacts of growth on Western Nassau, the Nassau County Planning and Zoning Board (PZB) formed a subcommittee, the Western Nassau Heritage Preservation Committee (WNHPC). Five PZB members who live in Western Nassau served on the  WNHPC. The committee was charged with discussing the future of Western Nassau, and to work with Planning staff to determine how they can best assist in planning Hilliard Poultry Assocefforts. The Committee’s logo “Our Heritage, Our Future” echoes the historic Hilliard Poultry Association signage as a nod to the County’s past.

On March 26, 2019, after a year of community feedback to understand the wishes of the community, the WNHPC adopted the following mission statement:

The Western Nassau Heritage Preservation Committee exists because there is a genuine desire on the part of our citizenry to ensure what our name implies--Preservation! We enjoy a rich heritage in Western Nassau County. Through purposeful community engagement, we are driven to gain perspective and insight for inevitable growth. The underlying impetus of our goal is to maintain a high quality of life, preserve rural character, and ensure fiscally sustainable and appropriately controlled development.

Western Nassau Vision Book  COVER Updated

The Committee and PEO staff then translated community input into the Vision Book’s goals, objectives, and strategies to be implemented over the planning horizon through 2045. Objectives and strategies relate to community goals including history, natural resources, health, quality of life, recreation, jobs and education, and public spaces and infrastructure. Community partners and other related planning efforts such as Vision 2032 and the County Comprehensive Plan are also included in the Vision Book.

On October 1, 2019, after a year and a half of community outreach and engagement, the Vision Book was completed. The VISION BOOK was approved by the WNHPC during the October 22nd regular WNHP meeting and adopted by the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners during the December 16, 2019 BOCC meeting.

Past WNHPC Meetings      Collage of Outreach Photos Western Nassau

Learn more

  • Read about development trends facing Nassau County.
  • Review the Urban Land Institute’s Technical Assistance Panel’s work on Western Nassau.
  • Learn from other community planning efforts. 
  • Watch Ed McMahon of the Urban Land Institute talk about the Power of Uniqueness at Tedx Jacksonville.

Please feel free to provide comments about this topic by submitting a via digital comment card, email planninginfo@nassaucountyfl.com, or call (904) 530-6300.

Western Nassau Heritage Preservation (WNHP) Vision Book

On October 1, 2019, after a year and a half of community outreach and engagement, the draft Vision Book was presented to the Planning & Zoning Board. The VISION BOOK was approved by the Western Nassau Heritage Preservation Committee during the regular Western Nassau Heritage Preservation meeting on October 22nd and by the Board of County Commissioners at the December 16, 2019 BOCC meeting.

COVER Updated

Community Outreach

Fall Outreach Calendar 11-5-19

Community Events and Collaboration

The intent of the WNHPC is to seek community input and feedback throughout the planning process. Over the course of 2018, the WNHPC with Planning + Economic Opportunity staff conducted numerous outreach events throughout Western Nassau County. Staff members attended community meetings in Callahan, Hilliard, and Bryceville, participated in community events like the 4-H Open House, Hobos and Hotrods, and the Christmas Parade, and held a large open house forum in the fall in Callahan. 

Outreach will continue throughout the process in 2019. If you have a suggestion for a community event that we could participate in, please let us know at (904) 530-6300 or email planninginfo@nassaucountyfl.com

Click here to see presentations on the project at public meetings:

Community Roundtables

As one of our first outreach efforts, we are convening groups of similarly-situated contributors who have an interest in Western Nassau to inform them of our efforts and to help us gather the best available data and analysis in the early stages of this planning initiative. This strategy is helpful for several reasons: it enables us to meet with and share and gather information with and from multiple organizations at one time, it enables cross-communication among those organizations, and it allows for discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing Western Nassau from different perspectives. 

At each roundtable, the attendees heard about our Development Trends report, expected growth trends for Western Nassau in particular, the ULI Tap Report, and the formation of the Western Nassau Heritage Preservation Committee. We ask participants the following questions:

  • What resources does your agency/department/organization have that may help us?
  • How do you want to engage in this effort?
  • Who do you know that we should talk to?
  • Are we missing any group? What should we be thinking about in terms of data collection?

The roundtables are by no means the only outreach with groups during this effort; we look forward to scheduling follow up meetings with specific agencies and organizations relative to the data and projects they have going on in Western Nassau.

Our first roundtable was held on May 4, 2018 with state and regional government agencies at White Oak. Staff from the following agencies attended:

  • St. John’s River Water Management District (SJRWMD)IMG_2915
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
  • University of Florida Extension Service (IFAS)
  • Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN)
  • Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)
  • North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (TPO)
  • Florida Forest Service (FFS)
  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
  • Nassau Soil and Water Conservation District (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service)

We learned a great deal about state and regional agency work and resources, and participants expressed appreciation for the opportunity to collaboratively come together and be involved with the effort from the beginning.

Our second roundtable was held on June 8, 2018 with County Departments including: School Board, Health Department, Fire Department, Sheriff’s Department, Emergency Management, Property Appraiser, Road and Bridge, Facilities, Building Department, and the Library.

Overall, the meeting was positive and an opportunity for departments/entities to collaborate outside of our silos. There is a recognition that this is not a single-department issue and all departments/entities need to be incorporating future growth in Western Nassau in their conversations.

Our third roundtable was held on June 29, 2018 at FSCJ Nassau with Nonprofit and Advocacy Organizations invited including: 

  • White Oak Conservation  Photo 3
  • Ability Housing
  • Barnabas
  • West Nassau Historical Society 
  • Trust for Public Land
  • Starting Point Behavioral Health
  • North Florida Land Trust 
  • Micah's Place
  • Keep Nassau Beautiful
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation
  • Council on Aging
  • Boys and Girls Club
  • St. Mary's Riverkeeper
  • Nassau Homeless Coalition

After this third roundtable, common themes are emerging among all organizations - especially related to transportation and housing. These two issues touch the work of almost every agency staff has talked to as part of the roundtable meetings.

Our fourth roundtable was held on July 13, 2018 with Business, Economic Development and Education representatives including: Picture 1

  • Nassau County Economic Development Board 
  • Nassau County Chamber of Commerce
  • Small Business Development Center
  • FSCJ Nassau
  • Nassau County School Board

This meeting was very instructive with good discussion, especially in light of the recent joint Board of County Commissioners/Economic Development Board meeting in which it was agreed that a collaborative economic development plan should be pursued. The group discussed how the Western Nassau initiative would fit well with such an effort. 

Future roundtables:

  • Regional Councils and Neighboring Counties 

Western Nassau Urban Land Institute TAP

Public participation and open dialogue are paramount to facilitating proper community planning. Nassau County engaged the Urban Land Institute (ULI) North Florida District Council to convene a Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) for the purpose of facilitating community dialogue and studying western Nassau County. As part of the process, ULI and Nassau County hosted a town-hall style meeting to exchange ideas and serve as the catalysis for ongoing community-based dialogue to ensure the citizens of western Nassau are actively engaged in shaping its future.

TAP Event Details 

Nassau County and the ULI of North Florida hosted the Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) to discuss growth and the future of Western Nassau in Fall 2017. The town-hall meeting was held on November 8, 2017 at the Callahan Fairgrounds. Everyone wanting to engage in the planning process for Western Nassau was encouraged to attend the meeting to receive information, ask questions and provide insight and feedback. Thank you for your participation and input!

The Report

After the event, the ULI North Florida District Council TAP group created a report summarizing information and input, and suggesting recommendations for moving forward. Check out the fact sheet and full report below.

One page fact sheet

TAP Report

Although the TAP panel has concluded their work, the discussion continues. Keep up with the County's efforts on the Western Nassau Heritage Preservation Committee page.

What is the Urban Land Institute

ULI Mission:

The mission of the Urban Land Institute is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.

ULI is committed to:

  • Bringing together leaders from across the fields of real estate and land use policy to exchange best practices and serve community needs;
  • Fostering collaboration within and beyond ULI’s membership through mentoring, dialogue, and problem solving;
  • Exploring issues of urbanization, conservation, regeneration, land use, capital formation, and sustainable development;
  • Advancing land use policies and design practices that respect the uniqueness of both the built and natural environments;
  • Sharing knowledge through education, applied research, publishing, and electronic media; and
  • Sustaining a diverse global network of local practice and advisory efforts that address current and future challenges.

Please visit the Americas ULI website for more information.