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Light Up Palm Coast: Petitioning the City Council to Put Safety Before Beautification

| September 5, 2011

Seminole Woods Boulevard, where Kirt Smith was killed, is one of Palm Coast's many dark roads at night.
(© FlaglerLive)

By Dede Siebenaler

Growing up, I learned that the necessities in life come before the luxuries.

The accident that occurred the evening of August 26, claiming the life of 15-year-old Kirt Smith, may have been avoided had the City of Palm Coast’s council members found it within their budget to provide adequate lighting and travelways along the darkened road known as Seminole Woods Blvd. that hundreds travel day and night.

It seems Palm Coast has put such luxuries of a million-dollar tennis complex and re-beautification projects before any attempts at providing its citizens two necessities of a safe neighborhood: lights and sidewalks. If it had not been for federal stimulus dollars paying for the sidewalk along belle Terre Parkway–a roadway already served by a sidewalk on one side–that path would not have been built.

This doesn’t make sense to me, nor would I feel safe in taking to the pathless and darkened streets in areas of Palm Coast.

From a personal standpoint, family and friends who live in Palm Coast have expressed their fear of going outside their front doors after dark, because there are no streetlights in their neighborhoods.

Dede Siebenaler

The Live Commentary

Unfortunately, not everyone is privy to taking a stroll or bike ride in the daylight hours. People have to work to support their families and pay their taxes to the county and city they reside in, namely Palm Coast. In areas as populated as Seminole Woods, it is quite disheartening for me to learn that if they want light, they must pay the utility company for the installation of them, and the monthly cost.

I say to the City of Palm Coast’s Mayor Jon Netts and City Council members–Bill Lewis, Holsey Moorman, Mary DiStefano, Frank Meeker–it is time to light up your city in all populated sections, and provide safe travelways for your bicycle and pedestrian traffic, so that your residents can feel safe, not only in their homes, but on the streets as well. We shouldn’t have to guess, Mr. Meeker, if the child who was taken from his family much too soon would have used the pathway had it been provided, but to be positive and assume that he would have.

I appeal to you, as a resident of a neighboring (and better-lit) city, and as a member of society with familial and friendly ties to Palm Coast, who was raised by the standard that necessities in life come before luxuries. Please, do not let another life be lost in your city, because of the lack of proper lighting and travelways.

You may sign the Light Up Palm Coast here.

Dede Siebenaler can be reached by email at

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25 Responses for “Light Up Palm Coast: Petitioning the City Council to Put Safety Before Beautification”

  1. Donna says:

    First and foremost I would like to commend and applaud Ms. Siebenaler for this very important post. A special thank you to Mr. Flaglerlive (webmaster) for creating a forum for which our community can interact with others and communicate their concerns. Hats off to you both.

    Everyone remembers when they were 13, 14, and 15 and wanting to hop on their bike to go up to the candy store to buy a candy bar and a soda with your friends. Some of us were lucky enough to live in neighborhoods that had sidewalks and street lights. As a parent, at a very young age, you instill within your children the importance of safety. It is tough to do when the odds are against them.

    In this particular incident this boy had no where else to ride his bike, but in the street. There are no street lights, no sidewalk, no bike path and the odds were against him.

    The biggest horror in anyone’s life would be losing a child. My heart goes out to that poor boy and his family. His parents must be saying “why?” Why did this have to happen. The man driving this truck that struck this boy has to live with this for the rest of his life. Why did this have to happen? The parents must be saying, “why my son?” This could have been anyone’s child. We need some answers here.

    I know Palm Coast started off as a retirement community, however, they decided to bring their children and grandchildren. It’s time that we start thinking about them. Yes, street lights and sidewalks are a must. Us parents can’t get around this city without a car, so we need streets. The kids can’t get around the city without their bicycles, so we need sidewalks or bike paths.

    When I moved to Palm Coast, my main concern was not the flowers on the median and the beautiful fountains on the corners, it was when my 12 year old daughter was to hop on her bike where was she going to go? I purposely picked a house close to all the stores because I knew there would be time that she would get on the bike and travel up to the stores with her friends to buy some popcorn.

    However, if you look at sections in Palm Coast like Seminole Woods, and the L section and parts of the B sections, you have to travel miles just to get to a gas station. Maybe we should advocate some mom and pop general stores to be placed in these remote areas. Yes, with street lights and sidewalks. Turn some of those model homes sitting on the corner, into a neighborhood candy store.

    I know that elected officials have the ability to come up with something. If the money is not there, then lets find the money.

    Kids will be kids. Lets put our heads together and make Palm Coast a safer place for them to live.

    My prayers are with that boy, his family, the driver and his family and to all that have been affected by this tragedy.

  2. beentheredonethat says:

    I am all for street lights on Seminole Blvd and especially bike paths. (I was almost hit in broad daylight) Some cars just barely move over. As for street lights on my road, I prefer the darkness so that when I turn my lights off at night, I sleep in total darkness.

  3. Dede Siebenaler says:

    Thanks so much, Donna.

    “beentheredonethat”, the cost of some “blackout” shades for your room are very inexpensive, in exchange for the possibility of saving a human life. Wouldn’t you agree?

  4. blondie says:

    I don’t quite understand the complaints about no streetlights/sidewalks when we all knew full well THEY WEREN’T HERE WHEN WE ALL MOVED HERE. If these were important issues for you, you should have moved to an area where they are available.

  5. Dede Siebenaler says:

    With growth and development, normally comes lighting and sidewalks in populated areas, blondie. The people of Palm Coast have been told over and over again, “they are coming”! Well, they need to be about it, so that more innocent lives are not lost. Period.

  6. PalmCoastPioneers says:

    Reply to Donna;
    Palm Coast was never offered as a ‘Retirement Community’. Perhaps you would like to read the 1972 Publication sometime called ‘…an Approach to a New City: Palm Coast…’ by Dr. J. Norman Young and Dr. Stanley Dea. Most probably you can google that or get a copy from the historical people; we hope you enjoy knowing about the Heritage and History of ‘ The Palm Coast Project’.

  7. PalmCoastPioneers says:

    Perhaps this is helpful info. – Massive amounts, Gargantuan amounts, of ‘Reserved Parcels’ were set aside by ITT when it planned the future City of Palm Coast from day 1. These ‘Reserved Parcels’ were referred to as the color coding ‘Blue Lands’….These were for necessary services as *Build Out* of Neighborhoods occurred. There are State *Agreements’ made with the Department of Community Affairs as to the S P E C I F I C uses of these many ‘Reserved Parcels’ – NOT to be used for housing but for such things as Firehouses, future School Locations, cemetary, etc., and ALL the needs of a Future City as Build Out occurred.
    Perhaps you can get all these massive amounts of acreage again identified…..and go on from there…
    There is also a Federal ‘Agreement’ – C-2854 which clearly specifies ‘…significant areas of recreation…’…..’…significant areas of preservation…’ and ‘…significant areas of Conservation…’ and ‘…community wide Beautification…’ and so much more ORDERED…….and also the Feds required a MAP to be distributed to all prospective buyers so that the prospective buyers could select and choose what Amenities / Features/ Improvements/ Acreage they wished to be near, adjacent to, or far away from….
    Some may want to be near the FOUR Industrial Parks so they could walk to work….or some may not have wanted that etc., but say may have wanted to be near our Oceanside Palm Coast public with Membership Palm Coast Beach Club Oceanside…..or maybe wanted to be close to or far from our TWO Palm Coast Resorts , one Oceanside on the 5 miles of Palm Coast Beaches and the other at the end of Clubhouse Drive…etc..
    We hope this is helpful info. for the suggestions above for the *Reserved Parcels’.

  8. Yogi says:

    I suggest all those that favor lights and sidewalks for the area, dig into your pockets and pay up. I don’t see how any of this will help a teenager that didn’t use good common sense. He rode down the middle of the road at night. No one forced him or made him ride on the left lane with no lights on his bike. Very tragic not to use good judgment especially when you are free to do so. If you put in sidewalks for safety, don’t forget the guard rails to keep the traffic from hitting people, and don’t forget the fence to keep people off the road. Make sure you get all the bikes registered and make sure they all have lights with automatic sensors to turn on at night. Require special protective wear for the entire body to prevent death from collision. Make it mandatory or face a stiff fine. Pass many more laws so you can use the money from the fines to build more fences, guardrails, issue free protective wear, free lights, and free horns that beep while riding. That will do it, then no one will die in Palm Coast from a bike accident. Don’t forget the free money from the Federal government. We can just borrow more to cover the cost and who cares whether we pay it back or not.

  9. Jim N says:

    I agree with lighting at our (taxpayer expense) main roads and through fares, however for the residential streets, it should be up to the individual home owners. They can contract directly with FPL who will install, and maintain the street light for about $8.00 per month. In fact if you check I think you will find that most streetlights in residential areas are likely “Private contracted with FPL” already.

    Excessive light is also a type of pollution.

  10. some guy says:

    As the post says “In this particular incident this boy had no where else to ride his bike, but in the street” true but he was on the wrong side of the road with out proper equipment for NIGHT rideing. It is the worst thing a family can go through to loose a family member but it could have been avoided without untold $$ being spent by Government.

  11. Dede Siebenaler says:

    While I value each and everyone’s opinion, I cannot think of one city, with the exception of Palm Coast, where their major roadways DO NOT have sufficient lighting and sidewalks.

    You can say and or imply all that you want about “carelessness” on the part of the bicyclist, but the point remains, HE DID NOT HAVE A CHOICE as to whether to ride on a sidewalk, bike path, etc. Furthermore, on the petition, there are more and more property owners writing that they WILL NOT even drive at night because of the lack of lighting on major thoroughfares in Palm Coast.

    Whether or not you want to admit it, it just IS NOT A SAFE ENVIRONMENT!

    Thank goodness I live in a city that cares enough about its motorists, home owners, and citizens that take to the roadways for walking and bicycling, to light up our streets! I grin and bear it whenever I have to be in Palm Coast after dusk, because driving in some parts of the city is like, literally, trying to find my way in the dark, and that is WITH the minimal lighting allowed with ANY vehicles headlights in that type of environment.

    And yes, when Palm Coast was first being developed, my father was hired by ITT to overlook several projects, and it WAS being marketed as a “retirement community”. I don’t care what the books say, or the forefathers of the city, or anyone else. I know what I know, and don’t need a “pioneer” to tell me any different.

    It’s nice to know that trees and pretty flowers are more important to some, than lighting and sidewalks that would provide means by which to possibly save human lives. And, darkened streets invite crime, so don’t complain when the rate of crime increases…. it could be your home next! Palm Coast is well above the national average per capita for larceny/burglarly, and lack of street lighting only contributes to the increase.

    Yogi, your suggestions are just a tad overboard, don’t you think?

  12. blondie says:

    Everyone has lights on their garage and/or front porches. Want to bring the crime rate down? Use them! The newer fluorescent bulbs cost next to nothing to operate!

  13. David says:

    Community lighting is a basic component of infrastructure as are sidewalks. Seminole Woods was very unpopulated in the not too distant past, but that is no longer the case. Responsible government recognizes these issues and works to provide safe environments for the area residents. I am assuming some of you live in areas that have these basics of infrastructure and simply do not want to pay for Seminole Woods to be brought up to the same standard. Not only is Seminole Woods Blvd. unsafe to drive at night, it is also a haven for street racers. I have lived in Seminole Woods for 7 years, I was under the assumption as were most that I know that live here, that we were eventually going to be brought up to speed as the population increased. I agree! The tennis courts and other beautifications should come after all Palm Coast communities have basic infrastructure in place. Seminole Woods has always felt like the ‘bastard child’ of Palm Coast in my opinion, but I believe the area has enough voting residents for that to no longer be the case.

  14. Dede Siebenaler says:

    Perhaps, a feasibility study for the necessity of lighting and sidewalks is in order for the areas of Seminole Woods and Quail Hollow?

    And while we are at at, why not do one on your lack of emergency transport via medical helicopter after the hour of 8pm?

    As a sidenote, I received an email from a concerned grandparent that shared with me that her grandson asked the Mayor when he visited his school, “when will sidewalks be put in my neighborhood so I can take walks and ride my bike and not have to worry about getting hit by a car?” To which the Mayor responded, “we will check into it”! As of last night, there has been no response.

    It seems as if Mayor Netts and the City Council just DO NOT CARE about their citizens safety AT ALL! Do the citizens of Palm Coast KNOW what their elected officials are doing? Are they working FOR you, or AGAINST you. Are some of you complacent and truly don’t care? Is it okay that federally mandated projects HAVE NOT yet taken place in your city?

    I take it, with the exception of those that reside in the “dark areas” of Palm Coast, nobody really cares! Oh, that’s because you’ve gotten everything that you want and/or need. You have beautifully landscaped and lighted streets, with walkways….

    It kind of brings to mind the old addage, “what is it like living on the OTHER side of the tracks!” Well, ask someone residing west of I-95, and I am sure they will tell you! Yes, the “red headed stepchildren” of the city of Palm Coast, as I’ve seen them referred. It absolutely nauseates me that because one might live in Seminole Woods, Quail Hollow, Section C, Section K, etc… that their neighborhoods are treated as second class, and not deserving of the same NECESSITIES as… the other side of the tracks, where they line the square and streets with beautiful trees and plants… every couple of months!!

    What an absolute WASTE of your tax dollars!

  15. PalmCoastPioneers says:

    Palm Coast Blossoming as New Hometown
    PALM COAST< Florida This rapidly growing planned community is becoming the 'Resort hometown' planners at ITT Community Development Corporation envisioned ten years ago.
    The "hometown' aspect of life in Palm Coast is evident everywhere. Citizens are involved with community growth; activities and challenges. Local government and ITT-CDC play stong roles in planning for and meeting those challenges successfully.
    The 'Resort' envionment is Florida at her finest. Palm Coast golf courses and all-surface tennis club have earned national recognition. Complimenting these are five miles of beach.., a new beach club with pool, waterways and marina for boating, community-wide landscaping and a waterfront hotel and timeshare resort for vacationers and visitng friends. It is an atmosphere that attracts new industry, stores, services and more than 100 new residents each month to Palm Coast.*
    * The Palm Coaster, Winter 1988, Page 1.

    NEW SCHOOL The first day of school at Lewis E. Wadsworth Elementary wasn't all work and no play.


    , all due for completion by summer, 1988:
    A 7,000 square foot pool with multi-use facility, built by PCC:
    Three tennis courts, two rqcquetball courts, three softball diamonds, two soccer fields;
    A new $ 700,000 community park, designed for the young and the young at heart, is underway on 11 acres between the new Wadsworth Elementary School and Belle Terre Middle School. Financial Support from the state, county and school district made the park a reality, helped by land and in-kind services donations from ITT-CDC and an enthusiastic public.
    Here's what's planned
    Two "play hills," the latest in playground design and equipment;
    Extension of existing jogging/exercise trail;
    Picnic area with gazebo.
    The public will share the park with students and their programs, so it benefits many in many ways, the perfect compliment to SunSport amenities.
    And on and on Palm Coast grows.

    The Band Played on The Belle Terre Middle School Marching Eagle Band's tuba player did his part at park dedication.
    ***The Palm Coaster, Volume 15, Number Two, Winter 1988, p. 13

  16. global3922 says:

    Take care yours kids, teach the safety procedure don’t blame somebody else & that wont happen.

  17. David says:

    To Palm Coast Pioneers:
    That’s all fine, but we need to think in terms of what is best for a struggling community. Things have changed since 1988, and we must adapt.

  18. Dede Siebenaler says:

    So, you’re saying that the City of Palm Coast holds no responsibility to its citizens to provide lighting and sidewalks in its most populated areas?

    Interesting. I wonder how much of a squawk would be raised if, God forbid, it would have been one of your loved ones?

    I am not blaming anyone. What I am doing, is saying that the areas of Palm Coast, that are not “good enough” to have street lights and sidewalks, DO deserve them. Even during the daylight hours, people have been hurt in that area in the past.


  19. David says:

    to global3922 says:
    This is not about blaming somebody else. This is about home owners and tax payers like myself who live in Seminole Woods who want the same safe environment that other communities in Palm Coast enjoy. For 7 years I have been paying taxes only to see other sections, probably yours recieve benefits of this, I have not complained once. Drive down Seminole Woods Blvd and you will see the skid marks, the Crape Myrtles cut down to 12′ with skid marks telling the story. This is a reoccurring scenario on this Blvd. We are not asking for lighting on every street in Seminole Woods, just the main blvd.

  20. PalmCoastPioneers says:

    We recall that in some of the Worldwide Advertising Promos’ I.T.T. stated the ‘Palm Coast Project” , comprised of 93,000 acres of Palm Coast Community Lands would have *sidewalks*. Since the ‘Palm Coast Project’ is a total unique Environmenal Community that makes sense, expecially since the city of palm coast is the *successor* as per Federal Order and Federal Compliance ; just as the *plans* were for electric Vans / Trolleys for public transportation, etc. for us.
    When we have some time we will try to find that information; perhaps others may want to help and check out the FIVE volumes of the C.L.U.P ( Comprehensive land use plan for Palm Coast, Inc. ) located in our Library. Also, if anyone is at the University of Floridas’ Special Collections Library hopefully they can find the plans:
    Here is the information :

    The Comprehensive Land Use Plan for Palm Coast, Inc. was done by the late John Simonds, a partner in the firm of Environmental Planning & Design, offices were located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Miami Lakes, Florida. He/they were retained by I.T.T. Community Development Corporation as a consultant in the development of a comprehensive land use plan for Palm Coast.

    Environmental Planning & Design can be seen today at:

    A Guide to the John Ormsbee Simonds Collection:

    We’ll keep looking and if we find it we will present it to the council for their prioritization and hopeful implementation; may we ask if others find that info. at either Library that they forward it to the council also. Thank you.

  21. PalmCoastPioneers says:

    Reply to Ms. Siebenaler:
    Here it is:
    *** Perpetual Easements***
    listed in the Convenants and Restrictions recorded in the Official Records of Flagler County:

    12. Easements
    (a) Perpetual easements for the installation, construction, reconstruction, maintenance, repairs, operations and inspections of sewer, water, drainage or waterway facilities, for the benefit of the adjoining land owners and/or the /Company, authority, commission, municipality or other agency, supplying water, sewer, drainage, and/or waterway facilities, are reserved as shown on the aforesaid subdivision plat; also, easement in general in and over each lot for the installation of electric, gas and telephone facilities are reserved. No building or structure shall be erected nor any paving laid nor any filling or excavation done within the easement areas occupied by or reserved for such facilities.
    (b) Additionally, easements are hereby reserved to the Company for the construction, installation and maintenance of any and all utilities, inclusive of electricity, gas, cable TV, cable vision, telephone, water , sidewalk, drainage, sewer and waterways. Such easements shall be confined to a five-foot width along the rear and sidelines of every lot and along every street, road or highway abutting any lot. From and after such times as two or more contiguous lots fronting on the same street are used as a single building site, such contiguous lots shall be deemed to be a single lot for the purpose of determining the side lot lines.
    (c) The Company, its successors and assigns, shall at all times have the right of ingress and egress over the aforesaid easements, and right-of-way for the purpose of installing, constructing, reconstructing, maintaining, repairing, operating and inspecting any such sewer, water, drainage, waterway, electric, gas, telephone, cable TV , Cable vision and sidewalk facilities within such easement and right-of-way areas, along the lines designated for such purpose on the aforesaid plat and shall also have an easement in general in and over each lot for access to such easement areas, and the facilities located therein, and for installing, operating, maintaining, repairing, inspecting, and reading any meters appurtenant to such facilities.
    13. Signs
    No billboards, signboards or advertising devices shall be maintained on any lot except with the prior written approval of the Architectural Committee. Such approval …

  22. Dede Siebenaler says:

    PalmCoastPioneers – thank you for your research and extremely valuable information!

  23. Flagler Mermaid says:

    It is pretty simple to me. Do what I do. I do not let my kids ride bikes at night. If they do I’ll take the bikes away. No sporting event, hanging with friends is worth dying for. Because of this the family and the person who struck the teenager will have to live with this for the remainder of their days. I see kids on bikes in the dark in Palm Coast all the time. But you will not see mine.

  24. palmcoaster says:

    What is needed is prioritizing here. Do not add any wider or second set of sidewalks anywhere else to benefit any developer from now on, before building sidewalks where there are NONE.
    That is for our city government to take in consideration right now. No second set of sidewalks in Belle Terre as I hear. No wider ones in Palm Harbor as what we have is enough in those sections.
    Parents please monitor your teens closely please. Coming back from Town Center’s fireworks festival we barely saw a teen on a bike with no lights or reflective clothes sneaking among fast passing cars as he was riding across the canal bridge…we thought was almost hit…. We only have one life, is precious and can’t be brought back lets do not underestimate or take it for granted. Now my question is…can deputies see these kids at night and call their parents to come pick them up or get a warning first time and a citation if they refuse to collaborate or kids repeat these actions? Maybe we need and ordinance along with lights and sidewalks. The ordinance to read that reflective gear and lights at night on bikes is mandatory, for safety! Then Sheriff deputies are provided with the tool to enforce the ordinance. In this manner we safeguard the kids lives and the traumatic tragedy to a driver. Parents will not refuse to spend the extra dollars to prevent a tragedy for a couple or more reflective plastic lights and a vest etc. Just and idea.

  25. John Smith says:

    Palmcoaster you do not need an ordinance for this to happen. It is LAW that riding a bike is obeying all the laws of the road same as motor vehicle which includes lights for night time. It is called enforcement which will never happen today. What is more disgusting is the people at the memorial for Kirk wiping there tears with a napkin and throwing it on the ground and walking away. This is a sad thing that happened but no one is at fault it just happened whether day or night it just happened. The one thing that could have saved him maybe was a helicopter ride.

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