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  • Natura Resort Plans Unravel

    Natura Resort Plans Unravel

    By CHRISTIAN M. WADE The Tampa Tribune
    Published: Feb 8, 2007

    HUDSON - Bill Martin arrived with deep pockets and dreams of building a modern-day Eden.
    The self-proclaimed Quaker nudist bought plots in Florida Naturist Park, founded in 1959 by white segregationists, with plans to transform the area into a Christian nudist resort with a church, town houses and a restaurant.

    He called it Natura.

    "At Natura, you will be able to freely raise children to feel good about their bodies and themselves," a promotional leaflet proclaimed at the time.

    "At Natura, you can feel more connected, whole and free."

    Five years later, the plans appear to have fallen apart amid a tangled web of legal challenges and opposition from the park's residents.

    Martin's nonprofit organization, Venice-based Continuing Care, recently declared bankruptcy and put the property on the market.

    The largely undeveloped 14 acres off Hudson Avenue that was supposed to become the centerpiece of a 200-acre project is listed for $695,000 by Fruits Real Estate Services.
    Meanwhile, plans to build Martin's nudist resort in a small South Carolina city appear to have disintegrated over fierce public opposition.

    Martin could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but Florida Naturist Park residents say they've been told the Hudson resort plans are dead.

    "He [Martin] has declared openly that he is not going to do anything with this park," said resident Mike Thompson. "He wants to sell it."

    Last year, Martin approached officials in the rural western South Carolina community of Belton to build a Christian nudist subdivision on 100 acres near the city's outskirts.

    Residents opposed to the proposal started gathering signatures on a petition that called for a public referendum.

    Martin withdrew his plans to buy the property in October, but members of a group he founded, Natura Christian Fellowship, still want to build it.

    "There was tremendous opposition to this proposal," said Belton City Administrator David Watson. "We're a very conservative community."

    Martin's quest to build a utopian settlement started in west Pasco, on a corner of Old Florida between State Road 52 and the Hernando County line, where cattle graze in sprawling fields and migrant workers toil in orange groves under the hot sun.

    Florida Naturist Park was one of the county's first nudist colonies, founded more than a half-century ago by Ward and Dorothy Gulvin.

    Ward Gulvin opposed integration and wanted to create a religious haven for nudists seeking escape from a rapidly changing world.

    To buy property, you had to be a nudist, and you had to be white.

    Gulvin died in 1994, at 90, and his settlement of sugar-sand trails, wooden street signs and mobile homes fell into disrepair.

    Tall grass swallowed pristine fields, roads became impassable and the three small lakes dried up, collecting bags of decaying garbage.

    Squatters took over abandoned and burned-out buildings. Teenagers desecrated the woods with trash and broken beer bottles. Convicted sex offenders moved into the neighborhood without being monitored.

    That's when Martin came into the picture.

    The land on which the Gulvin family raised seven children had become increasingly desirable as surrounding property values skyrocketed.

    Martin bought several small park plots from the Gulvin heirs and unveiled plans to convert the park and the undeveloped land surrounding it.

    But shortly after, Martin imposed new rules, including "mandatory social nudism," and hefty membership and maintenance fees.

    Infuriated, the park's 70 or so residents staged protests against Martin and his group and posted dozens of homemade signs on chicken-wire fencing surrounding the property: "No Natura. Bill Martin, Keep Out."

    The dispute soon moved from the neighborhood to the courtroom as residents and the Gulvins sued Martin and Continuing Care.

    Several lawsuits have been settled. Others remain in litigation, leaving open the question of who has management rights to the park.

    T&T Management, based in Stuart, owns about 115 acres surrounding the park and plans to develop the property as a regular subdivision. Plans for the nudist resort are no longer part of that project.

    And Martin hasn't been seen around the park in months.

    That's good news to Ray Cotton, 62, a retired state corrections officer, former Marine and a nudist who has lived there nearly a decade.

    He was one of several residents who fought the resort plans.

    "We'll be happy if he never sets foot on this property again," Cotton said.

    Reporter Christian M. Wade can be reached at (727) 815-1082 or [email protected].

    Link to full article.

    [Everyone was warned not to get involved with Bill Martin over and over again.]

  • #2
    It sounds to me like he wanted to start a new cult. I think that if he wanted to start something like that he should have considered the residents that lived there, and talked to each one prior to buying the property.

    I am very happy that I didn't buy in to it.

    Your friend,


    • #3
      Bill Martin was in trouble and litigation on most every nudist and naturist project, investment, or properties he was involved in.

      AFAIK, everything he got into or thought of ended up in litigation and a loss to the investors.


      • #4
        Bill Martin was banned twice from CFI and CFF Forums.

        Previous mention and posts about Bill Martin:

        Links to posts about Bill Martin


        • #5
          I hope that JonMarc did'nt get caught up or taken in with his dealings. I know or think I know that he was in contact with him.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Nudeinbama:
            I hope that JonMarc did'nt get caught up or taken in with his dealings. I know or think I know that he was in contact with him.
            He was...but as far as I know he distanced himself from this in time.


            • #7
              Not Billy, again!!!!!!!!!!!!


              • #8
                Seriously though, I am overcome with joy with the way the fraud that was "natur-something" has turned out.


                • #9
                  It is a shame one bad apple spoils the bunch. i hate that this makes the news and not very many positive nudist articles will ever run in the papers. It is Truly a shame that most only get to read about the negative and negative people in Nudism.


                  • #10
                    It's a shame that Mr. Martin had good intentions, but bad business dealings. As far as Jon Marc goes, I too, hope he didn't get too involved in any of Mr. Martin's shananegins(sp). I know he retired in Michigan and has moved to a nudist resort in Florida. Hopefully it wasn't any that was ran by Mr. Martin.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nudeM:
                      It's a shame that Mr. Martin had good intentions, :
                      Not quite sure his intentions were all that great...IMO


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by nudeM:
                        Hopefully it wasn't any that was ran by Mr. Martin.
                        Well originally that is where he was far as I know that DID all is well


                        • #13
                          By 'intentions', I meant he wanted to set up a nudist community where everyone would be able be nude, but also be Christian as well. But as far as bad business dealings, the investments required were quite amazing, to say the least. I can't remember the dollar amount, but it was very high, almost a life savings.

                          Not only was the investment required monetarily, it was also 'required' that everyone would pitch in and help 'build' this community. Just too many 'if's' involved.

                          As far as Jon Marc, I'm glad he didn't get involved, or anyone else in that matter. It's hard to imagine that there are those out there who will try anything to get into the pockets of others for their own personal agendas.



                          • #14
                            Originally posted by nudeM:
                            By 'intentions', I meant he wanted to set up a nudist community where everyone would be able be nude, but also be Christian as well.
                            That is already reality in just about any family nudist resort around the world.


                            • #15
                              I cant speak to what kind of man this Martin guy is but sounds to me the place was in horrible shape and he wanted to do something about it. Also seems to me the "residents" there were more pi__ed off over maybe being fined then upset with his concept. Maybe fines arent such a bad thing, I mean whats so bad about nudists being nude and if it takes strict rules to get it done then maybe thats ok. It would soon separate the nudist from the wannbe's