Palm Coast’s aggressive annexation spree ebbed two years ago with the 950-acre acquisition of the Bulow Creek area south of State Road 100 and east of I-95. On Tuesday, the Palm Coast City Council gave its approval to a new annexation more than three times as large: the 3,300 acres of Graham Swamp along Old Kings Road, south of Palm Coast Parkway.
“None of the area that’s included in the annexation has any development potential,” City Manager Jim Landon said. (The proposed annexation ordinance, however, says that the city has determined that the land “is developable for urban purposes.”
So why annex?
“Makes the lines look pretty,” City Council member Frank Meeker said. He spoke only half in jest: squaring the city’s boundaries is part of the motivation. The greater motivation, Landon said, was what he termed “housekeeping.” The city’s Graham Swamp Trail was just finished earlier this year. The city wants to “protect its assets,” the city manager said.
At the moment the northern portion of the Graham Swamp area forms a county enclave carving into the city, with Grand Haven, which is inside Palm Coast’s boundaries, hooking around the Graham Swamp area to the east. (See map below.)
There’s a third, unspoken motivation: by annexing Graham Swamp, the city lengthens its boundaries along the southern end of Colbert Lane, making future annexations east of that road easier. Those areas are rich in land with development and tax revenue potential, which Palm Coast would love to have on its books.
Most of the acreage belongs to the St. Johns River Water Management District. Private land owners, including ITT Community Development Corp., own smaller portions, as does Flagler County. Flagler County’s three parcels totaling 44 acres are not being annexed.
The council barely discussed the annexation, giving its verbal approval. The annexation will be formalized at a subsequent meeting.