Lakeside By The Sea is a subdivision in the Matanzas Shores area at the northern end of Flagler County, on the barrier island. Residents there are largely opposed to a proposed development that they say will surround their properties and intensify the sort of flooding they experienced during hurricanes Matthew and Irma.
The development, put forth by Singhofen & Associates on behalf of the landowner (who goes by the enigmatic identification of LR5A-JV, a company registered to David Allen, a managing partner with the investment firm Reality Financial in Needham, Mass.) is actually a pair of developments, one called Los Lagos (The Lakes), the other Las Casitas (The Little Houses). The two developments are named after the two streets, named long ago, that they will straddle. The first would build 88 single-family homes on 23 acres, the second would build 97 single-family homes on 25 acres, the two combining for 185 homes on the north and south end of the Lakeview By The Sea development, and from a bird’s eye view would appear to be the extension of the Lakeview development.
Lakeview residents don’t see it that way. Rather, many argue, the two developments will cover in concrete permeable ground that will reduce drainage in an already drainage-challenged area, thus sending floodwaters cascading down on the existing development and resulting, ironically, in what one of the proposed developments is named after: little lakes.
The two developments go before the Flagler County Planning Board for a variety of land-use approvals at 6 p.m. Tuesday in board chambers at the Government Services Building in Bunnell. Lakeview residents have been writing the county administration and planning board members to speak their opposition. They plan to attend the planning board meeting in large numbers and block a planning board vote approving or recommending the proposals, which would still have to get County Commission approval at a subsequent meeting. The administration is recommending approval, noting that the developments will be less intense than current land rules allow.
Below is one of the variations on a prepared form letter residents have submitted to explain their opposition.
We are Florida voters and a full-time residents of Matanzas Shores. We have some serious concerns about the development of Los Lagos and Las Casitas at Matanzas Shores brought before the board Tuesday evening. We are opposed to the approval of these applications as submitted for the following reasons:
A primary goal of the Planning Board should be the health and safety of citizens first and economic development in cooperation with developers should be subordinate to that goal. Many of the homeowners within the Lakeside parcel are elderly retirees on a fixed income who have lived here quietly and harmoniously for decades. The proposed plans will seriously impact their quiet enjoyment of their retirement homes and potentially make them homeless if the development is allowed to progress as presently envisioned and catastrophic flooding occurs as a result.
The single-family homes within Matanzas Shores narrowly escaped flooding during Hurricanes Matthew and Irma. This Planning Board will be severely criticized and ultimately held responsible if they allow a developer to move existing structures meant to alleviate flooding in order to maximize profits to those developers, many of whom will be gone before the full damage they have done will be apparent. Surrounding properties at Marineland and Washington Oaks have not yet recovered from the combined effects of Matthew and Irma. This planning board knows, or should know, that this development is not acceptable for the area.
The plan calls for the developer to use existing Lakeside by the Sea roads to access certain facilities. This will cause major safety concerns. The roadways are already overcrowded and in many instances there are no sidewalks, so pedestrians need to walk in the street to get around the development. In addition, the Lakeside roadways are often crowded with bike riders, dog walkers, and service vehicles such as landscaping trucks. The developer should plan to access facilities such as the Boat House and the Sports Club from its own parcel and not overburden the Lakeside parcel. It is also imperative that there be construction roads that do not utilize the existing roadways within Lakeside by the Sea. Asking Lakeside residents to put up with prolonged construction noise, traffic, and dust is unconscionable.
The proposed development is not harmonious with the existing Matanzas Shores architectural standards nor does it comport with Scenic A1A standards. There will be inadequate buffer zones and greenspace especially in the areas where the developer wishes to put houses directly backing up to Route A1A and the waste water treatment plant (WWTP). The height and design of the proposed structures are not in keeping with natural beauty of this area which is the prime reason people buy in this area. Moreover, the sample floor plans show 6 and 7 bedrooms which would seem to indicate that the target market is absentee owners/investors interested in short term vacation rentals which will undoubtedly increase the burden on the existing parcel owners and adversely affect their ability to enjoy the common elements.
The proposed plans call for housing with elevations that exceed those of the existing Lakeside homes, i.e., 11 feet versus 9 feet. Additionally, the developer proposes to move existing retention ponds and substantially reduce them and replace them with “massed” homes on paved streets with 60 percent impermeable surfaces. Perk pond 3, which flooded during Irma, will be covered with dense development. The proposed development does not adequately consider, and plan for, the combined effect of ocean surge and terrestrial flooding on the existing neighboring communities. Any plans should be reviewed more thoroughly with those contingencies in mind. Granting approval to proceed with the plans as submitted will almost assuredly result in catastrophic property damage or personal injury to other Matanzas Shores parcel owners due to the area’s existing propensity to flood.
The developer is piggybacking onto existing Matanzas Shores’ facilities and amenities but doesn’t want to pay for that right until sometime in the future. The developer wants to take all of the rights and benefits of a declarant with no corresponding obligations. At a minimum, the developer should be required to install adequate retention ditches and drainage infrastructure improvements and post a bond with Matanzas Shores as a named insured to assure that these obligations do not hereafter become the responsibility of the existing non-developer homeowners.
While legalities need to be further explored, it appears that many of the provisions within the Development Agreement and the Amendment to the Covenants are not in compliance with Florida Statutes governing homeowners associations and non-profit corporations. Matanzas Shores is a not for profit corporation. As presently structured, the non-developing members of Matanzas Shores are being asked to accept the risk that the developer will ultimately be successful with its development. The non-developing members of Matanzas Shores should not be asked to subsidize the profit making purpose of developer.
It is premature for the Flagler County Planning Board to recommend approval of these proposals until many of these important issues are clarified to the reasonable satisfaction of all parties concerned, especially the Lakeside homeowners who will be the parties most seriously affected by the proposed development. Accordingly, We respectively request that you do not recommend the proposals to the Board of County Commissioners.
The full application background for the developments,, including more residents’ responses, is available here (in a heavy pdf file).