Saturday, March 29, 2008

Floridians Blase' About Reports of a New Nudist Resort

Residents display tolerance toward rumored naturist resort
While many Arcadians are blase about a proposed nude resort, most think it will never materialize.

ARCADIA (FL)-- A day after rumored plans for the proposed Terra Sol naturist resort were uncovered, the attitude of most Arcadia residents was live and let live.

Patrons of Wheeler's Restaurant buzzed about the news all day Friday. Many offered uninhibited opinions on the subject.

"If it's legal within the law of the state of Florida and DeSoto County, it doesn't bother me," said R.L. Dees.

Durwood Smith, owner of Smith's Ranch and Garden, said he's a firm believer in personal property rights, and if there's a fence around it, he wouldn't have a problem.

Several Arcadians said nude resorts were nothing new to the area. Apparently, there was a nudist colony near Arcadia a long time ago.

"There used to be one out in Brownsville years ago," said Jeannette Foley, from behind Wheeler's register. "Everyone knew about it. We used to drive by as kids in high school, but we never saw anything. I'm not going to belong to it, and I'm not in favor of where it's going to be located, but I don't care one way or the other."

Howard Melton, a local DeSoto County historian, could neither confirm nor deny the Brownsville nudist colony's existence.

"I'd heard about it for many years," he said, adding there was plenty of talk about a nudist colony in the 1940s or 1950s in the area, after World War II. "I knew the general direction it was in, but I don't have any firsthand knowledge. I drove around and passed by the place, but never saw anything, and I didn't see anyone that was naked. Either they weren't there, or I was in the wrong place."

And while the prevailing attitude toward the naturist camp was one of tolerance, most said it would never see the light of day.

"It's not going to happen because it's DeSoto County, and too many people don't want it," said Diann Wells. "In the whole realm of things between what is needed and what people want, it's not a need."

Herby Hall, who joked that he'd already bought into the nude resort, said having it here might be good for DeSoto County.

"Show me where it would hurt," he said. "The place would be gated. But it's never going to happen. The commission'll never vote for it."

DeSoto County Public Information Coordinator Matt Holloman said he hadn't received any calls from the public complaining about the rumored resort.

"There's been no approval formally by the county," he said. "I did find out a Realtor, in the last year, had been making inquiries, but it's not a county issue at this point."

According to the resort's Web site,, which was still down Friday, the naturist resort will be coming soon, offering people nude vacation or residence opportunities.
Described as a "family-oriented resort ideally situated on 320 acres in DeSoto County," Terra Sol is said to be located on property located just outside the city of Arcadia, about 1/4 mile east of the intersection of Turner and Roan roads.

But it doesn't exist yet.

Holloman said, as with any project, the resort would require a development plan and would need to go through the Planning and Zoning Department and have a hearing before the DeSoto County Commission.

"It's a long way from 'this could happen' to 'this is happening,'" he said.

County Commissioner Felton Garner said he wasn't aware of any progress on the project either.
"If you've read the paper, you know just as much as I do," he said.

Staff Writer Pam Staik contributed to this article.

Staff Writer


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