Wednesday, July 29, 2009

[updated 9/4/09] EAGLE NATIONAL SECURITY TRAINING CENTER PROPOSAL in Highlands County, FL... Upcoming Meetings

From Highlands Today: "By 2010, if Seth Ellis gets his way, Venus will become known as a live-fire training center for the military, homeland security, local police, even foreign governments. Ellis appeared Tuesday at the Highlands County Commission meeting, requesting expedited permitting for Eagle National Security Training Center, a 7,700-acre expanse near the Glades County border."

Mark your calendars:


The Highland County PLANNING AND ZONING Board voted August 11, 2009 to suggest approval of the Eagle Training Center (ETC).. Their suggestion will be voted on by the County Commission at a public meeting, October 6, at 9am. [Sept 15 meeting ETC agenda item was switched to the Oct 6 meeting]

There is also a Highlands County Board of County Commissioners' (HCBCC) Land Use Change hearing August 18, which people are encouraged to attend. This Eagle Land Use agenda item may be moved to the October 6 meeting, but we feel it is important to attend both and show the HCBCC that there is growing opposition.

So mark your calenders and plan a visit to one of the most beautiful rural areas left in South Florida's greater Everglades watershed, habitat for the last Florida Panther and Black Bear.

The upcoming meetings are to create a new zoning category and land use changes to allow the building of the Eagle National Security Training Center in southwest Highlands County. Specifically, a 6,000 foot airstrip, helipad, 2,000 acre free fire zone, 5 story building, 25 single family homes, a dormitory for 1,000 trainees, 100 multi family residences, 2 - 250 foot training towers and 950,000 square feet of buildings for lodging, recreation, welcome center, operational and administrative buildings up to three stories.

Highlands County Government Center
501 South Commerce,
Sebring, FL (in Downtown Sebring)

HCBCC Meetings start at 9:00 AM
Public Comment will be allowed following discussion on the project..

Online articles at

For details call Planning & Zoning Dept., ask to speak with County Planner Don Hanna: (863) 402-6650
You can also have your comment included on public record by sending an email to Jodie Thayer: and Mark J. Hill:

If you cannot attend meetings, please send emails and phone calls to Commissioners:
Barbara Stewart:
Don Bates:
Jeff Carlson : 863-382-4141
Guy Maxcy: 863-385-7755W 863-385-1484H
Ed Stokes 863-655-0079, 863-402-6515


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gingerale said...

Just a short note on the P.Z meeting on the 11th. 28 people were there to oppose the land use change which would allow the go ahead . Several thoughtful people from various environmental organizations spoke knowledgably as to why this is a very bad idea. We had to sit from 4:00 To about 8:00 but sit we did. We managed to change one vote to N0 ( Mr Walz). We were complemented on our respectfullness. ( I think they had just seen the healthcare townhall meetings ) See you on the 18th Carole. Fields

AuntieAlias said...

First let me say that I am against such a facility in Highlands County because it is not in keeping with the Highlands County’s Future Land Use Plan, Strategic Framework Plan, and Rural Area Plan. I would, however, like to keep an open mind on this. I would like to consider what is best for the county based on the facts. The problem is the facts that have been presented are very vague. In fact I am much more concerned about what I have NOT heard in response to questions than in what I HAVE heard.

At the recent Planning & Zoning meeting the training center’s representative, Mr. Bert Harris, stressed that this facility would be “mainly for emergency first response training – for Katrina-like events.” When questioned about why such a facility would need a 2,000 acre free fire zone using up to 50 cal. ordinance he had no response. When asked why the facility would need a 6,000 foot runway with military style skid pads he had no response. When asked about possible restrictions on weapons fire times re noise problems he responded by saying the county’s noise ordinance would be obeyed. Not particularly reassuring since it would take county officials most of an hour – at minimum – to respond to a complaint due to the remoteness of the Venus area. This question did bring up a very interesting fact, though. Yes – a FACT! From the county’s Code Enforcement personnel. The noise ordinance does NOT include aircraft! I’m no aircraft expert, but I think you can land and take off some pretty big, loud aircraft on a 6,000 foot runway! And then there’s the “stray bullet questions.” Nearby residents are quite justified in their concerns about the mere ½ mile buffer zone around the property. A mis-fired bullet can go a lot farther than that!

Another point that has been raised as a plus for the county is the 200+ jobs this place is touted to be bringing to the county. No specifics seem to be available on what kind of jobs. How many of these would be given to “experts” brought in from outside the area? What qualifications would one need to even apply for these jobs? This compared to potential jobs lost in an area like eco-tourism (which it could easily be assumed would be destroyed by this facility), which many Highlands County residents are well-qualified in or could easily become qualified in?

ANSWERS! Specific, verifiable ANSWERS are what is needed here!!!

Training Center project grounded, but expected to fly
County tries to resolve Eagle Center snafu
Training Center Idea Shot Down In Ocala
Venus neighbors to protest war games facility

County OKs expediting permit process for Eagle National July 16 2008
Commissioners direct staff to work out training center plan 060509
Possible zoning issues for Eagle Training Center

I care said...

Let's be sure that this is not another of the Fema concentration camps that are being built across the
U. S.that have holding cells and gas chambers to
execute our citizens when
martial law takes effect.
See [Denver airport conspiricy] on you

AuntieAlias said...

The September 15 meeting has been rescheduled to October 6. Both issues on this matter will be addressed on that date.