Photo: Alachua County
” County commissioners voted to designate it as a scenic road, allowing it additional protections and regulations.

Alachua County got its first scenic road designation since 2004 — the county’s sixth overall — Tuesday, with Micanopy’s Tuscawilla Road.

County commissioners voted unanimously to give the designation to the two-lane road between Cholokka Boulevard in the Micanopy town limits and U.S. Highway 441, which brings the road additional protection.

Commissioners also voted on a different motion that would have granted an exception for a planned commercial property, a Dollar General, that would allow trucks weighing more than 25 tons to use the roadway for access. That motion failed 3-2, with commissioners Chuck Chestnut and Mary Alford in favor of the exception.

‘I support the scenic highway, but now I’m not sure of what rights we have to do this,’ Chestnut said of limiting access to the planned business. “So I’m just going to leave my comments at that. I’m not in favor of any other development … but I do feel different about this one because they went through the process and now we’re making it a scenic highway. I just feel fishy about it…’

Tusawilla Road meets several of the criteria for designation, as outlined by the county, including scenic, archaeological and historical significance. Its located about 5 miles south of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, and the location of the Village of Cuscowilla and William Bartram’s visit in 1774.

A Native American preserve is located on the road within town limits and is a protected area, purchased by the Town of Micanopy with state funding. Other research on the Battle of Micanopy documents significant sites on private land in the vicinity, an attraction for tourists.

Whooping cranes, sandhill cranes and gopher tortoises are among some of the wildlife that inhabit the area.

The road has been designated as one segment of a state scenic highway since June 2001.

The designation protects the area along the corridor within 100 feet of the right of way, and any new commercial activity is prohibited within the protected area.

Most outdoor advertising signs and overhead utilities are also prohibited…

There are five other county roads that carry the scenic road designation: Millhopper Road, Fort Clarke Church Road, Crown Road, Old Bellamy Road and Dusty Trail.”

— Emily Mavrakis, The Gainesville Sun

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Citizens for a Scenic Florida