New Plan Presented For OLF-8 As BOCC Continues To Review Behind The Scenes Emails

February 19, 2021

A new preliminary plan for OLF-8 was presented to the Escambia County Commission Thursday, but commissioners are not making any final decisions as they continue to look into emails involving the design firm.

In January 2019, Escambia County acquired OLF-8 in a land swap with the U.S. Navy for property in Santa Rosa County. The county hired DPZ CoDesign to develop the best plan for OLF-8, and the firm presented four plans ranging from a commerce park based concept to designs with a mix of commerce, residential and green space on the 500 plus acre site along Nine Mile Road in Beulah.

The new plan presented Thursday by DPZ is a combination of commerce, residential and amenities (click or tap image to enlarge).

The “Adjusted Hybrid Plan” allocates 271 acres to commerce and industrial; 61 acres to residential including duplexes, townhomes and multifamily; 47 acres to a mixed-use center such as residential over retail and office over retail; and 45 acres to trails and public amenities such as a post office, school, day care and community garden.

“This is moving in the right direction,” Commissioner Jeff Bergosh said.

But Bergosh said he is still skeptical DPZ after more emails have come to light between DPZ and others including Navy Federal and the “Beulah Coalition,” some of which were disparaging toward the commission.

“I certainly feel we were undermined, and we certainly were not treated like the client,” Bergosh said.

While DPZ had provided dumps of external emails, commissioners will want to see internal DPZ emails and text message about the project.

DPZ wants to charge the county, their client, $189 per hour to fulfill the request, according to County Attorney Alison Rogers. She said she is working with DPZ in an attempt to lower that rate.

“It is highly unusual that one of our own vendors would charge us to give us records on our own project,” Rogers said.

“Whatever it costs, it costs,” said Commissioner Steven Barry. “I want to see the stuff too.”

The county commission will discuss OLF-8 again at their next meeting on March 11. In the meantime, DPZ is expected to hold some type of town hall meeting on the new plan.


12 Responses to “New Plan Presented For OLF-8 As BOCC Continues To Review Behind The Scenes Emails”

  1. John Reading on February 23rd, 2021 9:13 pm

    …whatever it costs…it costs! Said…?

  2. Charlie on February 22nd, 2021 6:59 pm

    @Serape—Thanks for the update. I haven’t been that way in ages. I used to fill in on the contractor fueling crew (based at NAS Whiting Field) when someone needed time off. I don’t know if that huge dirt & sodded mound is still there or has been used as fill dirt for another location. It was built to use for simulated hilltop type landings.

  3. serape on February 22nd, 2021 2:46 am

    @charlie – Agree it was and needed to be posted when it was an operational Navy field. The signs have been replaced with county signs though.

  4. Charlie on February 20th, 2021 3:08 pm

    @Serape—”BTW – why is the land fenced and posted?” I worked there a few times fueling the helicopters that used it. As far as I remember, it being an operational Navy airfield, it has ALWAYS been fenced & posted by the Navy, so it is most likely the original Navy fencing & posting, unless something new has been added.

  5. Serape on February 20th, 2021 11:04 am

    “This is moving in the right direction,” Commissioner Jeff Bergosh said. In other words “in the right direction for me, screw what anyone else in Beulah wants.” How do these commissioners substitute their judgement and desires for what the design team THEY hired and the citizens showed approval for?
    This is an 18 million dollar land investment – already spent – in a county with a 600 million dollar budget. Maybe not so important to rush into this debacle the BOCC if fixing to saddle Beulah with.
    BTW – why is the land fenced and posted? Citizens can’t even walk on it? Use it until a decision is made.

  6. Charlie on February 19th, 2021 11:59 pm

    @MR REALITY—I think all or most of the money went to replace the Navy OLF-8 (out-lying field) to build the similar new one OLF near Brewton, I think called Site X, unless they have renamed it. It was sort of a land swap. In exchange for OLF-8, Escambia County had to BUY (near Brewton) land & build the new nearly identical size wise land, along with necessary setup of equipment, buildings, etc. OLF. Not cheap! So now you know how all or most of that money was spent. The County got a great deal at a fair price for a prime piece of property, & the Navy got a new practice field farther away from a now populated area & away from noise complaints & low flying aircraft. A win/win, I would think.

  7. retired on February 19th, 2021 6:49 pm

    @ ensley boy

    You are correct,,what was i thinking (slap on side of head)????????????????????????????

  8. MR REALITY on February 19th, 2021 2:45 pm


  9. Just a thought on February 19th, 2021 11:47 am

    Just a thought ! If they build more houses where are these people going to work. Navy fed already has 8500 + or – a few there aren’t many jobs in pensacola that will pay enuff to make a 2000+ a mth house payment . We have seen covid and the bubble busting has tourism is not the answer… we were lead to think that it was going to be a high tech industrial park

  10. ensley boy on February 19th, 2021 9:16 am

    ( retired )…..You have to figure in the special interest and kickbacks that will follow the money.

  11. retired on February 19th, 2021 8:52 am

    this was bought with tax payers money. Then it should be made into a activity park for all tax payers.

  12. Rufus Lowgun on February 19th, 2021 8:39 am

    Once again I have to ask, do we really more “commerce park” space in Escambia County at this time? Has Elyson Field EVER been at capacity? Is there not a new “commerce park” being built north of the UWF campus along the river? Who benefits from this?

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