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Palm Coast Approves Zoning Changes to 749-Home Grand Landings Development on Seminole Woods

| May 8, 2014

The Grand Landings development began to sprawl just west of Seminole Woods Boulevard (in the lower-right corner of the image), about a mile or so south of the Flagler County Airport (in the upper-left corner).

The Grand Landings development began to sprawl just west of Seminole Woods Boulevard (in the lower-right corner of the image), about a mile or so south of the Flagler County Airport (in the upper-left corner).

Grand Landings is a 749-home, 774-acre development in Seminole Woods, about two miles south of State Road 100 (and less than two miles from the Flagler County Airport), with an entrance west from Seminole Woods. It is one of the innumerable developments that fell prey to the housing bust before it could get going. About eight homes had been built there before Orlando-based Citation Boulevard Investments took over in 2012 with plans and hopes to return the project to health. With some three dozen permits pulled since and a dozen houses under construction, it is among the more active construction areas in the city, according to City Manager Jim Landon.

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Earlier this week, the Palm Coast City Council unanimously approved a couple of land use designations for the development, essentially replacing county designations with city designations as Palm Coast continues to clean up its future land use and zoning maps subsequent to incorporation: in this case, the development was annexed into the city in 2007. The changes won’t affect the development. But they reminded the council of the potential for commercial and residential growth in the city as some of that potential begins to yield to actual construction.

The county had designated the area of the development as low-density residential (where only one unit per acre may be built) and low-intensity commercial. Under the city’s designation, the development will be split between 747 acres of residential uses and 26.4 acres of mixed-use, keeping the limit of one unit per acre in the residential zone. The mixed-use zone, however, allows for up to 15 units per acre, which could result in an increase of 390 units, for a total of over 1,100 units, should the developer choose to amend its development agreement and go that route. That would be a significant change from land uses under the county’s designation. City officials, however, say it’s very unlikely that the developers will opt for the higher numbers. The 26-acre mixed-use area parallels Seminole Woods Boulevard from a little north of Citation Parkway to just past Grand Landings Parkway. If it’s developed only for commercial uses, it will be limited to 150,000 square feet of such developments.

The reason the development is unlikely to opt for the higher number of units is because it would then trigger what’s called a Development of Regional Impact review. A DRI is triggered when a given development exceeds a certain size. That size, for Grand Landings, is 750 units, which is why it remains at 749 units for now. Once Flagler County’s population passes the 100,000 mark (by some estimates, the county has already crossed that line), then the DRI threshold rises to 1,000 units. Ironically, should Grand Landings develop apace, it would be the very development whose population will push the county past the 100,000 mark, noted City Council member Jason DeLorenzo.

But those triggers raised concerns for council member David Ferguson.

“It appears that Flagler County is on the threshold of 100,000 population, and we’re talking about 749 as if it’s cast in stone,” Ferguson said, suggesting that the number could be more fluid than that in the near future. “I don’t think the development is anywhere close to those numbers at the present time anyway, so I’m kind of making a big deal out of a smaller issue.”

The caution about a DRI trigger, Palm Coast Planner Jose Papa told the council, “was a note provided to us by the regional council to alert the city—just remember, if your population is 100,000, there is this DRI threshold that you’re about to cross, or could cross, if you add additional units to this project, and if you do that, then you might be required to do a DRI review.”

That’s not likely to happen, Landon said, because DRI reviews are complex and expensive, requiring reviews by a slew of local, regional and state agencies, which developers prefer to avoid when they can. The chances of this development going through that process are “between slim and nil,” Landon said. “It’s a comment, but it really is not something that I think you’re going to see occur.”

Speaking briefly to the council, Jeff Douglas, one of the developers, said that Grand Landings is focusing on the 749 units for now, not beyond. Even so, Grand Landings is “years and years down the road” from 749, he said.

More than a decade ago when Grand Landings was first conceptualized, there were plans for some of its homes to be connected to the Flagler County Airport, with small planes taxying back to private properties and having the ability to fly out of the county airport. Those plans were scrapped shortly after the September 2001 attacks, when security concerns changed the configurations of small airports’ interactions with their neighbors.

The city’s actions on Tuesday evening drew no objections and no public reactions except one: a resident wondered whether, as Grand Landings grows, residents’ complaints will also grow over noise from planes overhead as they land and take off. The main runway runs east-west, the project is south of the airport, Landon said. “The planes really don’t fly over this development, coming and going,” he said. “In our opinion you’re actually going to have other homes in existing Palm Coast neighborhoods that are impacted more by the airport than this development will.”

The developers of Grand Landings were also sincerely grateful for the new and long-awaited sidewalks going down Seminole Woods Boulevard.

Grand Landings Presentation

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14 Responses for “Palm Coast Approves Zoning Changes to 749-Home Grand Landings Development on Seminole Woods”

  1. Steve Wolfe says:

    The airport management and Flagler County want expansion of the airport, and that means more flights. More flights and bigger planes. That will result in new runways, which will invite even more air traffic. Expect it. That’s what happens.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Living next to an airport is about as STUPID a mistake as one can make for a residence selection.
    Only fools will buy there.

  3. Outsider says:

    Yep, and then they will complain about the noise and demand curfews and restrictions. It’s so predictable.

    • Art says:

      Outsider, FYI
      There has been a “Material Change In Circumstances” for those of us who purchased homes within two miles of the airport. For example, according to ATADS in 2009 there were 21,589 total operations at XFL. In 2013 the total number of operations increased to 164,027. Certainly people will complain when the county and airport management change the rules in the middle of the game. Out of county flight schools account for ninety percent of this increase. These schools do not contribute anything to our economy; rather, they place a burden on our emergency services who must respond to crashes and emergency landings leaving the tax payers of Flagler County to pick up the tab. Not to mention posing a public safety risk caused by student pilots doing “touch and go” operations until eleven PM at night without the aid of a control tower. This, Outsider, is a recipe for disaster.

  4. Jimbo says:

    Has anyone noticed the amount of noise increase in the past 20 years? Who needs this. Even at night we have Embry Riddle students flying overhead.

  5. Floridiots says:

    Jimbo – yes, I have. The Airport does have a Citizens Advisory Board. I’ve not yet made a noise complaint about the Embry Riddle students flying around overhead past 10:00 pm., but that is where you start, if you are interested in doing so. I live on the “east side” and still hear them later at night than I prefer. One of the reasons I moved here was because it was quiet – not like having MIA , FLL, PBI and expressways everywhere providing a constant din of background noise.

  6. Really??? says:

    will any of you ever be happy? you want jobs to come into our town, but how they do it is not right… argh!

    • Steve Wolfe says:

      Umm, yes, there is a right way and wrong way to do things. And there are as many opinions as, uh….people. It might be tedious, but some very good ideas come from open discussion like this. There are successful counties around us. What prevents ours from following a template similar to theirs? I can’t get an answer for that. But if we don’t improve our tax base with business growth, then all that’s left is homeowners to foot the bills of our ambitious public agendas. It would benefit us to get business growth here to provide good jobs that allow people to buy homes, cars, raise families and help WalMart go vertical, as opposed to the highest unemployment in the state. I think it would even be better to have more than one Chiumento than to be dominated by the landscape of fewer public funds to promote growth, fewer “players” to propose where that money goes. As it is, we can’t even attract more “playas.”

  7. Chris says:

    If they build all these homes… near a airport, one has to wonder how quickly they will sell?

  8. Ralph Belcher says:

    Were there promises made on the number of flights at the airport when we bought our homes? There was the traffic figures, but I’m trying to get a handle on what is in stone. “Well, allright, we won’t let it past 4,000 (or whatever figure). I don’t think there was one. And I’m on Zither Court. Let ’em fly I say. I knew it all along and I used it as a bargaining chip on the price of the house. I don’t think I bought any air rights or mineral rights… just the house and land.

  9. confidential says:

    Really…what jobs are they bringing…? One instructor per so many fly boys rumbling over head and dropping aircraft or parts in our homes or residential areas….? Where did you move here from Jamaica NY next to JFK International or from La Guardia vicinity? We didn’t move here to endure the same littered and noise low standards! Many moving here from the urban areas of the Northeast off those homes that given the location afford them to buy better located and quality homes in Flagler County, come and bring and apply their lower standardized urban behaviors here and make a mess out of Palm Coast and surrounding areas! Furthermore when the city code enforcement addresses those violations other than abiding by the cited codes, these individuals become feisty, aggressive and verbally right out insulting to code enforcement officers and neighbors. If you have any doubts go to the Code Enforcement Board meetings and find out for yourselves. Is pathetic that some of this newcomers rightfully end up in jail. If we all moved to a beautiful place why don’t we preserve, respect it and abide by the local ordinances…after all were created to provide a peaceful, quiet and nice environment were hour homes can keep better their values.

  10. Bill says:

    I guess I totally missed the point of the article?? I thought it was about a development and its plans to build there BUT from the comments it is all about a Airport that has been here some 70 years???

  11. CourtMonkey says:

    Invariably someone will buy a home there, state they didn’t know an airport was close-by..

    Let the lawsuits begin.

  12. NortonSmitty says:

    Can you say “Downscaling” boys and girls? Sure you can.

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