By Lynne Bravo Rosewater
Beachwalk is a proposed development on Jungle Hut Road and State Road A1A calling for for fifty homes on 12.44 acres. Its fate may be decided this evening at a County Commission meeting in Bunnell. The development should be stopped.
In order to have this great a density, the developer requested a PUD, a Planned Unit Development, which allows for greater diversity, only if “The purpose and intent of the planned unit development PUD is to provide innovative urban design, creative and flexible concepts and protection of natural features and open spaces that strict interpretation of zoning regulations would otherwise inhibit.”
Beachwalk fails to meet these criteria for a PUD. Beachwalk also fails to meet the Comprehensive Plan requirement that “The design and construction of a PUD must be in harmony with Zoning District regulations and the Flagler County Comprehensive Plan.” There are eight different requirements–five from the Land Development Code, and four from the Comprehensive Plan–that Beachwalk does not meet. That’s especially the case regarding the need for low density in the coastal areas. Both A1A and Jungle Hut Road are part of the designated scenic highways and byways system.
From the beginning of the plan for the development, Sean Moylan, the county attorney who sits on Technical Review Committee meetings, wrote on January 8 that “Beachwalk as it exists does meet the criteria for a PUD.” The only changes made since the original proposal were to remove four homes and add two cul-de-sacs and allow more trees to remain between both A1A and Jungle Hut. None of these changes meets the criteria for a PUD.
At the first votes on Beachwalk on March 15 the Commissioners unanimously voted “No” on the site plan and “No” on whether Beachwalk met the criteria for a PUD.
The developers then asked for a mediation. This so-called mediation on May 23 had no mediator. There were no notes or minutes. It dealt almost exclusively with the site plan, not the PUD. The commissioners reversed their vote, 3-2, approving the site plan. Jerry Cameron, the Flagler County Administrator, said that this vote was on the PUD as well, although there was no presentation about how or why the requirements of the PUD were met. This was one vote, not two as was the case on March 15.
Then on July 25 commissioners voted 3-2 to table Beachwalk. On August 5th, 2019, Commissioners voted 4-1 to, subsequently voting to discuss Beachwalk on August 13th, but because of time necessary for notification that date was changed to today. At this meeting the commissioners will decide if Beachwalk meets the requirements for a PUD.
Moylan also wrote on February 8 to Sid Ansbacher, the attorney representing the Beachwalk developer (Ken Atlee of Atlee Development Group), that “a PUD cannot be used solely to gain a blanket of variances.” This is exactly how the developers of Beachwalk are using the PUD.
I urge all concerned citizens of the Hammock, to wear a green shirt, show up this evening and oppose Beachwalk for the dangerous precedent it would set in the Hammock for greater density than our codes allow.
Dr. Lynne Bravo Rosewater, a clinical and forensic psychologist, is a 16-year resident of the Hammock.