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There’s Only So Much Palm Coast Government Can Do About Eyesores and Vacant Lands

| May 10, 2012

The dilapidated Palm Coast Players Club, once a showcase of professional tennis, is one of many eyesores or vacant properties around the city that the city government has little ability to affect, argues Frank Meeker. (© FlaglerLive)

By Frank Meeker

I’d like to address perceptions regarding what kind of power city government has and doesn’t have with respect to land use and vested rights—that is, rights of property owners the city cannot circumvent.

frank meeker palm coast city council

Frank Meeker. (© FlaglerLive)

In my district, four vacant parcels of land always come up for discussion: The Palm Coast Players Club, The Sheraton/Palm Coast Resort, Sesame Island, and the forested canopy of Palm Coast Parkway.  The question everyone asks, as stated in a recent letter to the editor, is this: “Why can’t the city council get a grip on what our people really need and miss and should have?”

The short answer is that the city doesn’t own the property. The property is expensive to buy. We don’t have that kind of money, and we can’t raise it without increasing your taxes considerably. The people who do own it also have a “vested” right and expectation to develop the land at some future time.  This last point is key.

The “vested rights doctrine” dates back to an 1898 U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled that “[i] t is not within the power of the legislature to take away rights which have been once vested by judgment.” What that means in simpler language is that once a property right is created in one place, such as a zoning designation, it cannot simply be overridden by a legislative act, including the acts of local governments, which act as the local lawmakers (or ordinance-makers). If you buy a commercial property in the expectation of developing it for commercial use, the city cannot arbitrarily rezone your property to conservation or residential development, unless it’s willing to compensate you for taking away your right to develop that property in accordance with its previous, most profitable potential.

When a city tries to deny an owner’s vested right, they both end up headed to court.  If the case goes to court, the city almost invariably looses the challenge and likely has to pay all legal fees to the prevailing party. The city could go seek out properties under eminent domain if: 1) the city could demonstrate the needed public purpose, and 2) the city has the money to buy the land it is condemning.  Coming up with a valid public purpose is not as broadly defined now as it used to be, making the first part of this test problematic at times.  Road projects work, but just taking a property because the neighborhood would like to have it doesn’t work, although the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Kelo decision in 2005 makes allowances for condemning land on behalf of private development, when economic development is the goal.

The Live Commentary

As for cost: The Property Appraiser’s website lists the Centex Hotel site (the old Sheraton) as having sold in 1996 for $13.7 million, and for $38 million in 2005.  The Players Club sold for $1.7 million in 2005 but the current asking price is either $4.2 million or $3.8 million, depending on who you ask.  Sesame Island is actually two pieces of land having sold in 2003 for $6.7 million, and the Parkway has three parcels on the south side of the road having sold for over $10.2 million.  The city’s checkbook, and probably yours, is just not that big.

Look folks, the current Palm Coast City Council is not responsible for the recession, the housing crash, the national economy, or promises made to potential buyers from past developers. Nor did the council sell the land to these developers.  For those of us who have been here a while, we know that every one of those properties was owned by ITT Community Development Corporation. When ITT left the development business, the company sold the property to other developers.  Those lands, with some deeded exceptions, were never in the hands of “the people.”  Some were mainly enticements to induce people to buy, nothing more.

But we have to play the cards we’ve been dealt and negotiate and push as hard as we can to get something that meets the needs of all.  Would I have liked to still have the Players Club, or the old Sheraton?  You bet. But the city council does not have a magic wand to make that happen anymore than we can come to your vacant, or built lot, and arbitrarily “take” your property because the neighborhood “kind of would like it.”

As an alternative to the perceived lack of community in Palm Coast, I’d like to quickly suggest that you look at what you can do to improve things.  When I last checked a couple years ago, there were over 250 social and volunteer organizations in the county,  trying to make a difference in people’s lives.  Can I suggest everyone start looking around at some of these organizations and join in to make Flagler County and Palm Coast a better place to live by first doing your part?  I did so for many years prior to joining the council, and found the work extremely rewarding.  I’ll bet you will too.

Frank Meeker represents District 2 on the Palm Coast City Council. He last wrote about civility in elections. Reach him by email here.

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42 Responses for “There’s Only So Much Palm Coast Government Can Do About Eyesores and Vacant Lands”

  1. Yellowstone says:

    I live nextdoor to both these sites: The Palm Coast Players Club and The Sheraton/Palm Coast Resort properties. Everyday I think of the potential these sites offer the private and public’s interest.
    I walked through the Players Club yesterday and thought what a great idea it would be to reactivate this area. The Flagler County children (preteen and teens especially) NEED a place to congregate and have fun. All with the hope that these idle youngesters would gain a greater respect for their neighborhood.

    As an idea, how about the city and county put together a plan whereby the costs of reactivating and maintaining the property becomes an on-going expense – with the hope that in ten years, or so, the now re-developed property sells, and the costs then be reimbersed to the city and county?

    This land is too good to waste – it is very distessing to see it as it is – and dream about what it should be.

    “Most people see things as they are and ask ‘how come’. A few others see things as they are and ask ‘why not?’

    • letsgetreal says:

      I’m pretty sure the answer to your “why not” is two-fold:

      1. Tax revenue will be down again this year as real property values depreciate further.

      2. See point #1.

  2. ANONYMOUSAY says:

    How about put liens on them like you do everything else, and than condemn the properties and take them for other useful things . It’s funny how hidden politics and deep pockets scare these guys off. Let those be residential properties and see how many fines and fees they manage to levy against the homeowner to get the results they want.

    • Clint says:

      I agree 100%. This city is TOO quick to fine or put a lien on someones home if they don’t cut their grass for 2 weeks. I have a neighbor who is in the military and had to leave the area for a few weeks. He come home to find 3 code violations taped to his garage. I’m really getting sick & tired of this BS in this town.

  3. meh says:

    maybe the city should stop busting peoples balls about their lawns being over 6 inches tall and focus more at the problem at hand… want to fix eye sores? come redo the swells in my neighborhood so there isn’t flooding.. then you’d only be half useless ;)

  4. JL says:

    I agree with anonymously – let me go a week without watering my lawn, and the code enforcement is out wanting to give me a citation. And these corporations with their millions are allowed to let their land look like this? Enforce the code with them too. And if they don’t pay their fines, put liens on their property. There is a solution. So you can’t just arbitrarily buy the property. That doesn’t mean you throw your hands up in the air and say so what? Make them keept their property up or sell it for a sum that is affordable.

  5. palmcoaster says:

    @Anonymoussay. Your are correct ….city has to enforce the ordinances in a fair way. Not only for the residential owners and small businesses. Enforcement for the big cats too. These private landowners have deep pockets and need to maintain and get rid of the eyesores or loose the properties to liens like we would if done same. Further more city went and wasted $75,000 of our taxes on this Canadian base Consultant to tell us the affected surrounding owners what they are planning to do on those vacant lands all higher, bigger more congested and commercialized and taking away from us the original version sold and documented by ITT. City needs to collect the $75,000 consultant fee from those 3 or 4 land owners benefiting from it, not us the resident taxpayers at a loss with these proposals.

  6. B. Claire says:

    Hi Frank,

    #4 on your list above: the forested canopy of Palm Coast Parkway.

    Not that beautiful area to drive through b4 the Hammock Bridge?


    [this post reminds me of this post … any update FL on Mayor’s/volunteers’ efforts to repair? thnx!]

    • Ferpie says:

      B. Claire, I whole heartedly agree with you on that beautiful canopy over the east end of the P.C. Pky. before the bridge, IF that is the one they are referring to.
      Residing in the southwest part of town, I don’t get up there that often, but when I do I really admire that short beautiful drive.

  7. Linda H. says:

    Cut back on some of the city trucks carrying code enforcement officers who take photographs of entire streets just to harrass one homeowner who writes a letter that they don’t want to see a new city hall built right now to the council.

    Nobody will understand this comment except me, unless you have “been there.”

  8. just a thought says:

    Commissioner Meeker, I have a question.

    What would happen to me if my property looked like the Players Club?

  9. palmcoaster says:

    @ Our Councilman Frank Meeker. I first should have appreciated your involvement . At least you are trying and I agree that those are private properties, sold by ITT and to no fault of the city. But realistically the city could enforce the ordinances that prevent these eyesores seating vacant and with no maintenance at all. The city homeowners are not allowed to do that, then why these wealthy vacant parcels or facilities owners, are exempted? Regarding your good suggestion of involvement in our community organizations, some of us have been there and done that, some of us still do, but at times gets to be frustrating when all the hard work of us volunteers will be completed with tiny grant vital help with the drying donations, for an important event, is flat out denied by some elected officials and the hard working volunteers are publicly spanked, specially if women, for having the audacity to even complete the grant forms…is really discouraging. Otherwise look at your own great Bounty Reward Proposal….why had to be opposed by Mayor Netts and Councilman DeLorenzo and convinced Mr Lewis as well? Is that a wonderful proposal shot dead at the door? Never heard of again…I know you mean well Mr. Meeker, but also the constituents in your district have been deceived many times and feel kind of hopless now. Not your fault as our land troubles started in 2004.

  10. Justice for All says:

    I disagree with the conclusions in the article. ITT had a settlement agreement with the Federal Trade Commission that required them to make certain improvements. They sold people on the fact that this community would be different – environmentally sensitive (after the canals were dug, of course) and well planned and balanced. To now turn around and approve residential development on what had been an amenity is not looking out for we, the people. Nor is approving development on parcels that had been designated as “reserve”, as in reserved for fire stations, schools, libraries, parks, etc. We are going to pay twice – once because we let it get away in the first place by allowing some sharp developers to build, then buying up what is left to have any public facilities.

    The old Sheraton was a wonderful gathering spot, where people came to socialize, play their musical instruments, have a good time, the exact thing that everyone supposedly wants. Yet what did City Council do? Bought into the marketing plan of the developer, ignoring the will of the people and being clueless on what makes a City truly a City.

    • Rob says:

      Who was on the town council when the developer was allowed to demolish an ongoing business and promised such a grand development. And who is still on the town council? That is one of the root causes of what is wrong in this city.

  11. Think first, act second says:

    About four or five years ago the City decided to build a new tennis facility on Belle Terre, at a time when the Players Club was going through foreclosure. The tennis facility was built to pacify a small contingent of residents who showed up at the City Council meetings for a couple of times and to silence this small minority of residents and knowing that they would have to financially support this venture because it would not be able to break even for many years (and they were right it has not), thus our taxes increased. It was suggested at the time that the City negotiate with the lender foreclosing on the Players Club, they wanted a shiny new costly facility. Had they listened, instead of being all knowing, all seeing, all telling this property would be maintained, it would have been purchased for less than was spent on the shiny new one and they would have the additional courts, swimming pool area, handball courts and a more central location. Good job City Council.

  12. K says:

    If my yard looked like the former Players Club code enforcement would be all over me. The city needs to grow a pair and make the owner clean it up and make it presentable. If they don’t, do it yourselves and put a lien on the property.

    Why do those who can best afford it get a break while the families that are trying to get by get harassed and held to “standards?”

  13. palmcoaster says:

    @Justice for all. You are totally right. We were sold a good thing on paper and then given a lemon. Also have all noticed all the huge eyesore colorful or just rusty boxes sprouting up on every other corner. We used to have as sold, underground utilities and non of those unsightly boxes. It used to be East of 95 just like Town Center is now. Whatever happened to that concept sold to us. Just in Clubhouse Drive by the golf course sidewalk seats a new collection of those. Since when the city approved that change? They do not even bother to screen them for us with some shrubbery…even when asked.
    City needs to enforce that the power, phone and cable dig those boxes in and if some belong to our own utility should be in the ground as well or at least screen them with ornamental shrubbery, the least left above ground. This is also and eyesore we endure after ITT left. We are looking like NY city, full of metal boxes around.

  14. says:

    ok linda lets get rid of code enforcement and than see what happens. lets get rid of all the officers and sit back and look at the city a year later or maybe sooner.

    • Linda H. says:

      Let me state this with clarity, Your code enforcement officers are BULLIES and nothing less. They harrass homeowners with their own tax dollars. And they do it without public oversight.

      I wrote a letter to the council opposing the construction of a new City Hall over a year ago. My house is still being photographed because my husband has caught them in the act. My neighbors are on alert. I have a lawn service and have ALWAYS had a lawn service, so what is your point? When I called to complain, I was told the Manager ordered it.

      I am in agreement with the comments above. You harrass homewoners and will not go after the development owners. That’s criminal.

    • Ben Dover says:

      Lets do it , sounds good to me , all their salaries could be used to put in some sidewalks and lighting that they say we don`t need , but then its not their relatives getting hit by cars is it.

  15. ANONYMOUSAY says:

    Those areas should be maintained no matter what. By the City, County if not them, give the contract to local independent landscape companies or whoever, needs a job to get it done and bill the developers. They already do it to the residential property owners, landlords and banks. Why are these guys off limits? Curious to know if any liens, fees or violations have been collected, levied or issued at all. Have to remember this is the same City who has spent over 65k a piece on marble and granite signs, two which are located on PC Parkway, but allowed the old Hardees chicken joint (Dunkin Donuts) along with (Kmart) now Beals to literally be boarded up for a couple of years like old crack house’s and didn’t bat an eye. And they want to drop few million on a new City Hall, hilarious! They need to be urged to have all of their meetings outdoors at the now defunct Players Club and maybe they’ll get the idea that things ain’t look’in so pretty through the eyes of us common folk.

  16. Frank Meeker says:

    Ok, against others’ advice, I took responsibility for trying to help and wrote this article, so without the benefit of spell check, let me respond to a few of these comments. Yellowstone – it’s private property, see costs to purchase above, it would have to go as an enterprise fund and as most people know, the golf course is close to breaking even, but the tennis center continues to struggle. Enterprise funds sound great, but require a user base to fund the operations. If that doesn’t materialize, the choices for these two facilities are: 1) wrap them up into parks and recreation and have the entire operation subsidized by the citizens like any other park, or 2) try to sell them to an outside development operation such was done at Pine Lakes GC and Cypress GC, or 3) Leave them as it is and hope the economy improves and they can increase membership to keep the operation as an enterprise fund, and lastly 4) close them down and abandon the whole thing (not an idea I would embrace).

    Anonymousay – If you have evidence of hidden politics, please present them here, and cc me at my city council address. I’d like to see them. For the most part, code enforcement is a “nuther” discussion for a “nuther” day, but I will say that abandoned homes and abandoned properties are held to a different standard than occupied homes and structures, and yes, that level of service is at a lower bar. Liens have been filed, but are not collected until the property sells.

    Palmcoaster – What ITTCDC did or didn’t do, sold or didn’t sell is moot now. Just so we all understand, they are gone, and aren’t coming back so we do the best we can with what we have and again, I’m sorry folks, but we (the city) do not own these properties, somebody else does and they have a vested right to use the property (see discussion above). Thanks for the nod on the Economic Development plan I’ve been pushing. I brought it up again at workshop this week. Yes, staff has been stalling, but all council comments are in and I’m hoping I’ll get more vocal support on the idea from newer council members. What I like best is if nobody takes advantage of it, I’m not out a dime. I think I already covered the difference between abandoned and occupied standards. I liked underground utilities, and yes, that was part of the ITTCDC plan, but,…they soon found out how expensive it was, were already bleeding money, and scrapped underground and went to above.

    B. Claire, yes that is the same area. As for the Masonic Cemetery, the city did their part during the four laning, but it is private property and relies on the owners to maintain.
    Justathought – answer, code would be out there.

    Justiceforall – Feds agreement with ITTCDC was in the deep and dark past. ITTCDC lived up to it while they were here, lasted for years, ITTCDC is gone, and I suspect if there is an issue with that old agreement, there is nobody for the feds to go back after. The city wasn’t in existence back then and is not part of any agreement between the Feds and ITTCDC. And again, all of the properties I’ve discussed, were owned by developers since ITTCDC created Palm Coast. None were in public ownership. Rob – I think it was our first city council, buy Mr. Carter may have already passed and was replaced by Mr. Lawrence.

    Thinkfirstactsecond – I don’t know what the purchase cost during the booming days was, plus rehabbing the operation (the clubhouse for sure would have to come down, pool structure probably too) but suspect it would have been much more than the cost of the current tennis facility as the city already owned the land, and the new operation is much smaller than the old Players Club concept. Ksays – see notes above.

    Frank Meeker, Palm Coast City Council
    District 2

  17. Linda H. says:

    Mr. Meeker, you are a good man and your article is pretty good, really. However, we all know that developers have been given carte blanche in Palm Coast and in recent years, most are not happy about that. We most likely would not mind so much if there weren’t so many empty developments.

    People with lots of money do NOT or should not have more importance that those who trusted you enough to elect you. And yet, clearly they do around here.

    I understand there is a new condo development waiting to be built in the parking area of the new city golf course. Is this true? I also hear there are plans to bring commercial development into residential areas along that new Matanzas ramp off I-95. Is this true?

    Maybe it is time to have some regularly scheduled townhalls so the residents can speak to you about this? Would you be willing?

    These are items that don’t need to take up time at a council meeting, but it would be a great way for your constituents to get to know you and for you to show them you are responsive to their needs and requests.

  18. palmcoaster says:

    Lets all of us here and our friends and neighbors get together and ask the item of enforcement of maintenance and compliance with permits approved (“Palm Coast Resort not built” ), Players Club and the other vacant properties, be placed in the city agenda by the residents demanding compliance.
    Also be placed in the city agenda the so far shot down, good idea of Frank Meeker for a Bounty or Reward, to be granted to any city resident or business professional that invites a small business to move from out of the county, state or country to open in Palm Coast> The new arriving business rents or buys one of the vacant store fronts and hires the unemployed and after 3 months of opening and payroll on its books, the reward is paid.
    Its okay to waste our hard earned taxes in these supposedly experts consultant and professionals dinning and winning in our pockets while patting themselves on their backs on the county ED or the City BAC , but is not okay to reward the tax payers for doing the real job of inviting and convincing their friends, relatives, business associates to settle in Palm Coast and open shop? How many of us came here and open shop invited by someone we knew from elsewhere? Many as a matter of fact, included the city mayor that now runs the Boat US towing business and was the first one to opposed Meeker’s proposal. Same for another staunch nayer Mr. DeLorenzo that makes his living thanks to the local FCPC Builders Association and his wife as VP of FCC of Commerce. So what is good for them, is not good for the rest of the residents and business professionals…? What is up with that?
    We may suggest all we want here, but if we do not organize and formally demand these suggestions and proposals discussed with taxpayers input on formal agenda items requested on city or county meetings…nothing will be achieved. They do as they please they shove good proposals like the Reward-Bounty under the rag, to the contrary of what they promised while campaigning. If we need to sign petitions lets do it!
    County wants even more money from PC now, even the Sheriff wants his own palace (old court house) …on us. Bunnell wants the court house and pay for it ? Let them have it.
    Some of our elected officials are totally detached of the drastic reality that our residents and small business community are enduring right now.

  19. elaygee says:

    If any of you had bothered to check, you would have found numerous code violations and liens against the properties pictured in the article. Their properties are worth millions and small liens for fines do not mean much as they just roll it into the sale price or deduct it as the price of doing business.

  20. palmcoaster says:

    @Linda. Is that what was done to a city resident that wrote a letter against the city Hall?
    Because looks like WSH302 missed your point with his comment.
    And sure Linda I understand your point …because business owners get witch hunted as well if they have the audacity to speak against issues that also undermines them as residents…saddly.
    We voted down and do not want a city hall, we can’t afford it andf we are getting pretty sick and tired of Palm Coast Lowe’s or whatever Palm Coast Holdings and Devore pushing for it while DeLorenzo, Netts and city manager cheer.
    We do not need a City Hall in Town Center generating business and taxes for a CRA, that does not contributes or benefit our Palm Coast Tax Base and neither the county Tax Base. But only benefits the Town Center owners CRA interst. As a matter pf fact, the county is forced to fund about 900,000/year to the Town Center CRA….Please any official, “document us here” if my data is incorrect.
    We want our City Hall where it is now or about, in the very core of Palm Coast where we have enough large malls and structures foreclosured and vacant allover.

    • Linda H. says:

      I wrote the letter to the council stating that I felt that construction of a new City Hall should be postponed for now due to the economy and more important needs. This was the last time they were talking about building it. In the letter, I mentioned some of the blight we are discussing and the abondoned homes which are part of the problem. If we can’t clean up and maintain our city, we should not expect business to move here. A blighted city is not going to attract business or residents.

      It’s my house they are taking pictures of. When my husband stepped out of the garage to ask code enforcement what they were doing, and mentioned that the abandoned homes were at the OTHER end of the street, he was told that he was instructed to photograph every house on the street. We thought it would be a one-time shot. It was not.

      And yes, Mr. Meeker, even recently.

      I think the upshot here is that it is tough running a city, particularly one that was expected to be so much larger than it is now. There were some excellent points made by readers here. I hope that Mr. Meeker will take them back to the council for review and possible action. It was a great idea for him to write the article.

      Any chance the Mayor and others on the Council would be willing to do the same?

  21. ANONYMOUSAY says:

    Mr. Meeker, you’ve made my point your words – “If you have evidence of hidden politics, please present them here, and cc me at my city council address. I’d like to see them. For the most part, code enforcement is a “nuther” discussion for a “nuther” day”.

    There is aways some invisible force stopping you guy’s from taking on the big dogs but when it come to us puny tax paying homeowners you steam roll us with (hidden politics) red tape explanations like the one quoted above. Now post a good reason to us WHY those properties look like tornado’s have gone through them? If nothing else is at play other than a good clean up, why are they not made presentable?

  22. Frank Meeker says:

    Couple more comments. Linda – Thanks. Re your question on the condo at the golf course. Yes, that was part of the original deal when the city bought the course. Centex wasn’t stupid here. The reason condos sell is usually you have something to attract a buyer. Think Canopy Walk and the ICWW. If you could build a condo next to a golf course you don’t have to pay to have maintained,…you’ve got potentially a pretty good project. On this one, Centex (actually Pulte Homes now) doesn’t have to operate and more importantly fund a golf course and therefore they only worry about flipping the site, or building, renting/selling. But, there is a limited window in which this can happen and it’s almost up (I don’t remember exactly when, but it is reasonably close) and when that “vested right” expires,…..

    As for Matanzas Interchange, I’m not sure what you’re seeing. All of the property around the proposed interchange is owned by Flagler County so I wouldn’t expect any commercial there. As you go east to Old Kings on the north side near the high school, sure, I’d expect something there, but nothing has been brought to council yet. Of course if whatever is proposed is consistent with the zoning, we may not see it, but I haven’t seen anything specific there. Closer to US 1 there’s Palm Coast Forest project south of Matanzas Woods parkway, and on the north side at US 1 the abandoned site where they were going to place a Publix years back. I think Flagler Memorial Hospital owns something adjacent to that old Publix site, and of course the big DRI across US-1 (but that one is years out). I suspect all major land owners in this area are just trying to sell to somebody with deeper pockets and get away from their debt on the land at this point.

    Palmcoaster – The City Hall/CRA issue. Unless some way is found to jumpstart that CRA, it will be years before we can shut the CRA down, and get the money back (4.2 million???) the city loaned the “CRA Board” which is the city council. Further, until the CRA is closed down, the city receives no tax dollars on the property, and importantly, neither does the county. It all stays within the CRA (look up tax incremental financing). There basically is one project remaining, and that is Bull Dog Drive. We’ve dropped it down to a two lane entrance road but we don’t have the funding to do it yet. When that one is complete, the justification for the CRA in my mind will mostly have been met, and it can close down. In the meantime, the project could use a jumpstart to further increase the value of the land for taxing purposes later on. The current belief is the battery needed to make the jumpstart would be a relocation of city hall to that area, and yes, if the jump start works, some developers will make money selling other lands in the area around the central core. How do you fund it? As most recently proposed without any real offers or particulars, it would be done by having somebody with deeper pockets building it, and the city lease it with the lease dollars going towards the purchase. However, before that could happen, because the lease would exceed three years, the whole idea would have to be brought back to the voters consistent with the city charter.

    Frank Meeker, Palm Coast City Council
    District 2

    • Think first, act second says:

      You say “the current belief is the battery needed to make the jumpstart would be a relocation of city hall to that area”. Who is this the current belief of. The Town Center area is 6 miles south of the “heart” of Palm Coast daily needs, shopping, which I agree is increasing in TC, but the library, are we (PC or county residents) also going to have to build a new library to serve the South part of the City. What else will we have to build to satisfy the city council members who want a new city hall in the town center area? Geographically the Town Center area is no where close to the population demographics of PC, so why is the city worried about a developers private ability to grow the area. We have plenty of vacant commercial properties and land in the existing area of greatest population demos. What is the obsession with helping PC Holdings? With the interchange at MW Pkwy and the commercial mentioned here, the two areas of this new interchange and the TC area will be about 15 miles apart, how is this location convenient to the residents of the upper B’s and L areas, and you mentioned the Palm Coast West project being years away, but isn’t that what the council is charged with doing, projecting the future and developing thus?

  23. palmcoaster says:

    @ Our Councilman Frank Meeker. Again, thank you for your reply.
    Your own words verify mine above when you wrote: ” if the jump start works, some developers will make money selling other lands in the area around the central core”. How much should we care for some developers of Town Center making more money than they already have? We have to even loose the magnet and attraction of our city hall as revenue creator in the core of Palm Coast to them, already wealthy developers?
    Lets put it this way ! As we already lent them around 5 million to their CRA not fully refunded yet, then what about they build a City Hall for free, no charge, no cost, NADA,NICHTS? Will be the only way that most of us will approve of it. I like our city charter, too bad that not enough provisions to protect Palmcoasters from the financial demands for more and more money by the BOCC, were stipulated. We will have to continuo making those BOCC seats one term only service, when elections come around.

  24. Justice for All says:

    Council Member Meeker –

    Why wasn’t the Player’s Club designated by the City as a recreational facility? This area will continue to go downhill because of the development that is occurring west of I-95. Yet the best the consultants could come up with to stop it is add more density east of I-95.

  25. Frank J. Meeker says:

    Justice for All – the reason the Player’s Club isn’t designated by the City as a recreational facility is (and I’m pretty sure about this) it is zoned COM 2 meaning there are a number of commercial “projects” that could be built there with commercial recreation one of those commercial activities. When ITTCDC was here, it probably was given a commercial zoning designation by Flagler County. When the City of Palm Coast was created, the Flagler County zoning designations (for the most part) were kept in force (see vested rights discussion at the start of this) and the property maintained it’s zoned use under the city’s revision to the zoning laws in,….2008? Even when the European Village was developed, the guy who owned that also owned the Players Club and the vacant property inbetween. I believe the players club, even at that time, was a commercial operation charging fees for private membership as a recreational facility under the allowed zoning under private ownership. Did that help?

  26. Frank J. Meeker says:

    ANONYMOUSAY – Here’s my good reason, with no hidden politics. There is no invisible force, and I can’t say it any differently than I said it above. Vacant properties, abandoned properties, foreclosed on properties are allowed a lower standard than occupied properties. If we tried the higher standards, they’d flip us off, and we’d get nothing. So as of our current real world, we negotiate to get something. If we can’t negotiate to get something, some work is done to maintain them at all of us puny tax payers expense (and I’m not happy about that as I’m one of us puny guys too), a bill is generated, a lien is established, and the bill gets tacked onto the future sale of the property. Instead of us all wishing these properties looked as if they were occupied (and let’s face it folks, what owner it Texas, or Ft. Lauderdale is going to care about Palm Coast and Palm Coast residents and spend those kind of dollars to have sites like these groomed to the same level of service expected of other occupied properties?), try to imagine what they would look like right now if we weren’t doing anything.

  27. Justice for All says:

    Council Member Meeker – yes, it does, but don’t give up. I appreciate your willingness to engage in this forum.

  28. ANONYMOUSAY says:

    @ Frank J. Meeker. 100% respect for you answering these comments with what you have to work with. Did some more research and must admit you are correct in your facts. I know you have history here and your a fighter. Too bad your not running the show. It is what it is thanks for the professional replies even when not extended to you.

  29. Frank Meeker says:

    Thank you all for your comments, and kindness. This is the way things should work all the time, openess, straight talk, fairness, respect. You guys are the best.

    Frank J. Meeker
    Palm Coast City Coucil, District 2

  30. Howard Duley says:

    Does the city have more power down where the beautiful people live? Just asking.

  31. Nothingsfree says:

    I like Meeker. Brave man to post and engage.

    Another problem is the liens could make the property harder to sell…..but they need to sell first.

    The issue is that soooo many of the people who complain are the SAME PEOPLE that would be against a tax on something to either buy it or maintain it. His first point is the most valid. “We don’t have that kind of money, and we can’t raise it without increasing your taxes considerably”. And even if it wasn’t “considerably” people would fight it.”

    What is wrong is that so many people have NO idea how much government involvement costs. They want everything but don’t want to pay for it. Tell people that we are adding a “Public Space Maintenance Tax”. That tax is $500.00 per household per year and would clean up and maintain (not operate) those properties. The same people that complain about the eyesore would complain even louder.

    It would be the same concept of an HOA. People in communities with HOAs pay $2,000 per year so they don’t have to see eye-sores.

  32. Sarah Martins says:

    They never should have approved so many building permits, the banks should never have approved so many loans, and the companies that own these vacant commercial properties ought to lose them just like so many average Joes did! Politics like this just sucks.

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