Bergosh Talks Beulah Growth, OLF-8 (And Why Car Washes Are Being Built)

June 6, 2023

From discussion on why new car washes are popping up, to a Beulah master plan, to the latest on the development of OLF-8, Escambia County Commissioner Jeff Bergosh met with Beulah residents during a town hall meeting Monday night.

The county commission voted in April to enter into negotiations with homebuilder D.R. Horton on the $42 million purchase of the 500-plus acre OLF-8 property. Their mix-use plan will include residential and commercial areas, retail, offices and greenspace.

Bergosh said the future OLF-8 developer will be forced to follow an ordinance taken directly from a master plan.

“Give us a mixture of retail, parks, etc.,” the commissioner read from a citizen comment card during the town hall at Beulah Middle School. “That’s what I want,” Bersogh replied. “I live across the street. That’s what I want.”

“Retail, parks, etc., our traffic and infrastructure can’t handle the houses,” he continued reading  from the citizen comment card.

“Yeah exactly. No one wanted houses on that field. I don’t know how that happened, but I did get outvoted on that,” Bergosh said. “We are going to have the housing we negotiated, and not one additional.”

A second developer, Breland Companies of Huntsville, Alabama, had made a cash offer of $35 million for the property, but the company was a no-show to make their presentation at a county commission meeting.

Monday night, the District 1 commissioner said the president of Breland said the day before the meeting that he would be able to attend. Bergosh said he encouraged the company president to send someone else, but they did not.

“They ghosted us. That’s what happened,” Bergosh said.

Other hot town hall topics included traffic and growth in Beulah.

Including a question about car washes.

Several residents asked why Beulah development has included businesses like car washes and convenience stores rather than their favorite retailers and restaurants.

“For whatever reason, they make a lot of money on car washes,” Bergosh said. “When people buy a piece of property, they have property rights. I can’t tell them, hey, you can’t build a car wash. You have to build a Dave & Busters.” images, click to enlarge.


19 Responses to “Bergosh Talks Beulah Growth, OLF-8 (And Why Car Washes Are Being Built)”

  1. Sandy on June 9th, 2023 7:59 pm

    Jeff i iive across the street too and I don’t want it, and I didn’t want any part of the transaction you made without any of Beulah ’s input in order to get that land. I thought you were supposed to represent us. I guess I was sadly mistaken.

  2. dave lamb on June 8th, 2023 10:41 pm

    There once was apiece of land in Beulah Land that was the 4H home where many spent summer days with fond memories. Too bad it is now NFCU and parking lots.
    The new 4H center is no where near as nice as LBC. no lake, no cabins, no activity center, no thriving pine woods and cattle roaming around. I guess this is progress.

  3. James Stafford on June 8th, 2023 2:39 pm

    My wife and I moved to Beulah from S Florida 18 months ago in part to get away from the big city. Have been very unimpressed with the county’s approach to zoning and development. I am 100% for property rights, but good zoning actually promotes economic growth over the long term by making an area a more desirable place to live and work. DR Horton Inc. approach is to buy a chunk of pasture, cram as many virtually identical single family homes on it as possible and repeat. This a hugely profitable company (nothing wrong with that, btw) that has the resources to build something that could be a showpiece not just for the county but for DR Horton. I’m familiar with some of DPZ’s projects in other parts of the state and they are excellent. You have only to visit Rosemary Beach to see it in action. County residents need and deserve a place like this. Commissioner Bergosh says he likes North Escambia News, I hope he’s reading the comments here.

  4. JB on June 8th, 2023 3:32 am

    If all you folks in Beulah think the car washes are bad, wait until they start putting a weed dispensary right across from a check cashing place all in sight of 2 Dollar Generals. That’s what my once nice area of town has become. I’d gladly trade that for a car wash or 2 or 3.

  5. J on June 8th, 2023 3:24 am

    Back when my great grandfather was a commissioner he looked for his people.he made sure what was already there was maintained. Ditches and culverts cleaned out roads taken care way before problems start. Escambia county can not handle what they already have.why keep making more problems commence . Look at box lake road deal where are the business and jobs they promised. Hurricane season here again just take care of what mess you have already made. People of escambia county would respect you more .

  6. JOHN on June 7th, 2023 4:06 pm

    Zoning is desperately needed, but It’s harder to get zoning laws in unincorporated areas than inside cities, towns, and townships.

  7. S. on June 7th, 2023 10:40 am

    “When people buy a piece of property, they have property rights. I can’t tell them, hey, you can’t build a car wash.”

    Attitudes and subsequent zoning polices like that are the reason why we can’t have anything nice. Instead, we just get more low quality, low overhead, and redundant businesses crammed together like car washes and self storage.

  8. RWA on June 6th, 2023 9:47 pm

    Glad other folks are tired of seeing car washes being built one right after another. Pensacola has areas that flood due to the fact trees keeping being removed to build more places that we don’t need. Stricter zoning regulations will dictate what people can and can’t build on property and it is done in other cities. We need city/county leaders that look to the future instead of the here and now.

  9. Fred Pope on June 6th, 2023 4:54 pm

    J you are sooo correct!!!!!!

  10. Olin Schultz on June 6th, 2023 2:11 pm

    The only thing that I got out of the Town Hall Meeting last night were more questions than answers! Repaving Beulah Rd. instead of 4 lanes is throwing away money and this could be used to fund the interchange project. Frank Reeder widened is only there to benefit the Olf project. It is putting the cart before the horse. Remember when NFCU was built how bad the traffic was on the two lane 9 mile Rd? Add three new subdivisions north of 9 mile Rd. on Beulah Rd. Plus a new subdivision in the works with 65 plus houses and we are back to square one! It seems as though the BCC have a lack of communication at the least! If the residents of Beulah want more taxes because their Property value increases then it’s all great! When is enough enough?

  11. Concern citizen on June 6th, 2023 2:10 pm

    I have lived here all my life. I wasn’t raised in Beulah but had a lot of friends that were. I was raised at the North End. Good ole Molino. I ride out there and I see the growth but I am so glad it is not like Beulah yet. My opinion is that these County Commissioners got the keep palms wet. They scared one day its going o be over for them. This isn’t just happening in Beulah. Good luck.

  12. Beulah32526 on June 6th, 2023 10:48 am

    Apologies as I forgot to mention one more thing in support of my watching growth prior comment.
    Using OLF8 as an example, it has a plan of what is to built.
    A company can’t buy and build a Walmart right?
    From the article it sounds like companies are very interested in the land but sticking to a formulated plan is not for them.

    I predict several more companies will send “bids” in for the land but doubtful to buy if they can’t build what they want hence they are just “teasing” the county leaving the land vacant and the county $$ hungry.

    Eventually the county will “negotiate” the master plan more to get a buyer and we loose yet again.

  13. Beulah32526 on June 6th, 2023 10:18 am

    WOW I thought it was just me. I moved here 20 years ago with my 6yo son raising him alone. This community was safe inviting and overall awesome! There are still great people here but many who have passed and family (not from here) just sold the land, it fell into the wrong hands as the NFCU rumor grew and developers bought up every shred of land … to me, that was when I saw beautiful safe Beulah begin to vanish. I’m for growth myself but to a point not unrestricted! What benefit have we really seen? Higher property values = yes, higher property taxes = yes. More local stores, many not wanted from what I understand. Many many many unwanted subdivisions turning Beulah into cement city (extension of pcola). Schools are a plus but wouldn’t be needed if this housing burst didn’t occur. Road infrastructure, a joke.
    Community needs like a small post office, small sheriff substation are REAL needs being overlooked and I’ve heard of no land or space set aside for them in future. Put them in the master plan (if not already). We need the necessities NOT redundant businesses.
    And YES things can be put in place to carefully watch and approve what is being built JEFF! Business must have a permit to even begin to build/operate, who controls business permits? All this re-zoning hasn’t helped.
    I’m not a politician (thank god) nor in the government know on how zoning, permits, etc work but seems to me if a business had to have a permit before breaking ground and Beulah representatives worked with local government on the permit process, business wouldn’t just buy what they could and cram what they want on the property. Beulah would/could be known as the community to “watch out for” to business should they buy land then can’t get a permit to operate. Perhaps I’m naive to much of these politics.
    Growth WITH moderation AND carefully watched IS the key!
    I suppose I’m a bit ole fashioned Beulah guy still young working with hopes to retire on my beautiful land, plans change.

    BTW NFCU, all the local jobs promised is a joke. You’re having to hire from as far as Brewton, AL for jobs that could be filled by locals. Yes I know this to be fact and have the real scoop with the recruiting companies being used to get people here and positions filled.
    I’m not a bitter X NFCU employee, I’m a proud professional educated person who chooses NOT to work at NFCU but with another company, after a year on the inside of NFCU with all the internal politics I can’t mention .. too much NFCU drama!
    Good luck to many of my friends I had to leave behind miserable and struggling there.

  14. ZKR on June 6th, 2023 9:33 am

    With all the attention to OLF8 and housing, no one pays attention to all the apartment housing already approved (one across from OLF8) plus the new apartment housing complexes that are requesting rezoning all along 9 Mile Road west of OLF to build more apartments. I hope our commissioners do the right thing and slow down the approval of these apartment complexes in Beulah long enough for the infrastructure to catch up instead of being glassy eyed over the revenue taxes they foresee.

  15. David on June 6th, 2023 9:26 am

    I apologize if I sound like a stick in the mud, but I surely miss Beulah the way she used to be: a delightful break from all the hubbub of the town, with a peaceful relaxing drive in rural Escambia County. To be certain all the progress is bringing more capital into the county, but at what price does it exact from the residents of the area who have put their life investments into the homes that they made for their own peace of mind and their final years. Now that peace of mind is being shaken to the core, all in the name and the sake of progress.

  16. tg on June 6th, 2023 8:40 am

    Need a drug store on every corner four car washes two dollar stores ten convience stores fifteen strip malls an there you have it. Looks just like Pensacola.

  17. EMD on June 6th, 2023 8:32 am

    All this build up of Beulah is a really bad idea. Many were looking to Beulah for some relief from city and suburban life. Some people want to live in a rural area, but as usual…………the minority rules. Or, at least that is how it seems to me.

  18. J on June 6th, 2023 8:23 am

    Sounds like breland had bergosh number to me

  19. Beep Beep!! on June 6th, 2023 7:52 am

    There are 30K more cars now in his district… Gotta keep them clean!! 2023 traffic w/ 1972 infrastructure.