Given the current anti-growth mood, even one developer’s willingness to compromise was not enough for the Ormond Beach planning board.
The 14 residents who spoke and all members of the Planning Council expressed concern April 14 over a request by Plantation Oaks to add 291 homes to an already approved residential development for 1,577 lots.
Plantation Oaks began in 1986 with a regional impact development to build over 3,900 homes.
Parker Mynchenberg, co-owner and engineer, hoped to bring the project home with a series of amendments adding homes after a golf course and school were removed from the project.
He faced a chorus of concerns for more than three hours about traffic, housing density, open space, water, utilities, storm water and schools.
Residents cheered on speakers opposing the project, but were largely civilian. However, a woman walked over to a microphone to interrupt the council discussion and a man spoke loudly from his seat during the council discussion.
Doug Thomas, chair of the Planning Council, summarized the dilemma.
“We’ve made Ormond Beach such a desirable place to live through everything we’ve done with the city commission that we’ve made it a place where everyone wants to be,” Thomas said.
In this election year anti-growth atmosphere, the fact that Plantation Oaks met all of the city’s requirements did not help the Planning Board, which struggled through its own extensive commentary to find a way forward.
“The project is much more important than ticking all those boxes,” said Planning Board member Lori Tolland.
Board members Ms. Tolland and Angeline Shull wanted to file the changes and order Mr. Mynchenberg to revise the plan.
“It’s important to me that this moves forward tonight,” Mr. Mynchenberg said. “As you know, interest rates are rising.”
Keen to take action, he agreed to negotiate at the meeting and a majority of the board agreed to go ahead, making changes on the fly to the proposed changes:
•Phase 1. Reduction of the number of houses from 80 to 40, with the space saved divided between leisure spaces and open spaces. Passed 5-2.
•Phase 3. Reduce the number of houses from 86 to 43 with the space gained dedicated to recreation and open spaces. Approved 4-3.
• Eliminate the age restriction in development. Passed unanimously.
• No modular homes in phase 3. Adopted unanimously.
•Phase 4. The spirit of compromise failed as Mr Mynchengering offered to reduce his request to build 125 houses on a 24-acre site once proposed for a school to 90 houses. Failure 3-4. A second effort to vote on the original request to build 125 failed for lack of a second.
• Authorize public roads. Passed unanimously.
• Disposal of 33.1 acres purchased by Volusia County to protect the Ormond Beach Scenic Loop. Unanimously approved.
The votes are non-binding recommendations to the city commission, which will hold a public hearing on May 17 for a public hearing and again on June 7 for a final decision.
Plantation Oaks covers 1,049.34 acres for planned residential development and is generally found along Plantation Oaks Boulevard, east of Interstate 95, west of the Old Dixie Freeway and north of the US 1.
Prior to the Planning Board changes, approximately 20%, approximately 200 acres, was set aside for open space and each phase of the project was planned with a clubhouse and recreational facilities.
Earlier in the meeting, Thomas said the April 14 meeting would be his last after 32 years on the Planning Council.