The Palm Coast City Council today approved the rezoning of one of its largest and longest-planned developments–a 505-acre expanse north of State Road 100, mostly along Old Kings Road, once slated for 2,400 homes and apartments.
With a changing economy and demographics, the new, phased plan is for 750 upscale single-family homes in a gated community much like Grand Haven. It will have entries and exits both on Old Kings Road and State Road 100, but further into the project and away from the right of way.
What was known as JX Properties was part of a massive development plan known as a Development of Regional Impact almost 20 years ago. The acreage was to be covered with homes, apartments, retail and other businesses. The housing bust derailed the project as JX went into foreclosure in 2010.
Heartwood4 LLC of Fort Lauderdale has taken over the planned development, and changed it significantly, starting with the name: it’s now Coquina Shores, a seemingly odd name for an inland development. But it’s emblematic of a central feature in the acreage: large, elongated borrow pit that has become a pristine lake, and that will be an architectural focal point of the development.
Proposed homes will have minimum lot width of 40 feet, smaller than the typical lot in Palm Coast, and a reflection of the relatively recent push for smaller, more manageable properties for older residents. The smallest homes will be 1,200 square feet, with front setbacks of 20 feet and side set-backs of just 5 feet. There’ll be sidewalks and bike paths–the developer wants to connect trails to the Lehigh Trail–and decorative lighting poles. All internal roads will be the developer’s responsibility, and will remain private.
As far as the public is concerned, the changes the council approved today are technical. The council approved changing the development from a PUD, or a planned unit development, to a master-planned development, or MPD. The MPD will also replace the development of regional impact. The designation still gives the city considerable say in what the development will look like. It also caps development at 750 homes.
The previous plans for nearly 1,800 apartments and 80,000 square feet of retail and office uses have been scrapped. The Palm Coast Planning Board recommended approval, and the council today granted approval with a pair of unanimous votes, clearing the way for the development.
As a net impact on the city, the development will go a long way to change the complexion of a largely undeveloped stretch of land between Old Kings Road and Colbert Lane, along State Road 100. It will front directly onto 100, but will be offset from Old Kings Road, ending just south of the Lehigh Trail, a stone’s throw from Hidden lakes. So while it is a huge net decrease, in housing, from what was originally planned, there was no groundbreaking there, and what housing will be built will still constitute a very large net increase in housing and its ripple effects on the region.
Both city staff and Jay Livingston, the land-use attorney representing the developer, focused on the difference between the old plan and the new plan to make the net result more palatable. In other words, they used the old benchmarks as a means of showing to what extent the new plan will “decrease” impacts in comparison, though as far as the public and existing surrounding residents are concerned, they will only see the net impact on current conditions, with neither memory nor much care for what could have been.
Resistance to development in recent years has been driven by the volume and speed of development and its ripple effect on traffic and infrastructure, even though those protesting were almost all, at one point or another, part of a previous wave whose own home-buying was made possible only by previous, similar development.
A city planner said the 750-home limit means that transportation will decrease by 1,300 “person hours traveled,” compared with the previous plan. In fact, the project will add 743 “person hours traveled.” Potable water usage would fall by 519,000 gallons and sewer usage would fall by 339,000 gallons per day, compared with the previous plan. In fact, the development will add the need for 225,000 gallons of potable water per day and capacity for 155,000 gallons of sewer per day. The development will also add 160 school-age children with needs for places in schools (compared to 229, under the old plan).
Still: the development was entitled to the 2,400 units and all that commercial and office usage, and could still have gone that route: a preliminary plat had been approved. So the comparison between old and new plan is not without relevance beyond regulatory language. Not in so many words, city planners and Livingston were telling the council: it could be much worse.
Unquestionably, the new plan will have less environmental impacts than the previous plan, with more wetlands placed in conservation and the lake itself preserved, as opposed to partly covered over, as had been the previous plan. But the net result will still be a vast loss of trees and greenery. The planning department had no issues with the proposed development.
Livingston had been involved in the original JX plan early in his career. He said that plan included some “absolute clear-cutting” in order to build all 2,400 homes. That’s no longer the case. “One of the best features of this site, other than the very beautiful lake in the middle that is crystal clear on most days,” Livingston said, “there are some really beautiful trees on the site that we’ve endeavored to try to protect by limiting density and planning accordingly.”
Council members have been concerned about the elimination of commercial zoning to make room for yet more homes. Livingston said the city has “substantial commercial entitlements, enough to serve the entire county several times over. We have an economic development problem.” In other words, it’s not the developers’ fault, but the demands of the market. For example, he noted, Old Kings Road near the development site had been realigned in 2010 just to allow Walmart to build a center there. Walmart, which still owns that land, never developed. That was out of the city’s control.
“It was those rooftops that were driving Walmart’s desire to develop on that site,” Livingston said. “And whether they ever will just choose to and take the for sale sign down that’s been up for so long, or somebody else will come in and develop, that is the driving factor–is who are the customers going to be.”
As an added bonus, Livingston said, the development will cooperate with the city in its planned road improvements at the intersection of Old Kings Road and Town center Boulevard, which is turning into a problem intersection because of the confluence of infrastructure at that point–not just roads, but a canal, and now development.
Aside from a pair of questions by Mayor David Alfin about trails and cooperation with city infrastructure plans, council members had not a single question about the rezoning before they voted to approve. The pair of votes were both for approval of the future land use map and for the rezoning.
The dude says
That’s 750 inadequate impact fees that may or may not ever get paid… for those keeping count.
That’s also 750 cush retirements needed to support those houses. The kind of cush retirements that getting scarcer by the minute.
I’m currently not even in Palm Coast, I had to meet a home inspector to go over the house I have a contract on.
We’ll be living in another state by the start of next school year. I can’t keep my child in these schools.
Dude: Let me tell you about our “cush retirement” home. It was built on the same footprint as the old 1965 house, and not a singe tree was removed. Blame this joke on the Chamber of Commerce, the commissioners and developers. For them to think they are doing us a favor by 40′ lots, with smaller setbacks, and a borrow pit as a beautiful lake that is clear on most days is telling the locals to bend over while they scoop the cash.
See folks? How your commissioners listen to you?
You’re usually pretty savvy — this ain’t, “… That’s also 750 cush retirements needed to support those houses. The kind of cush retirements that getting scarcer by the minute…”
First, the weight of the money flattening Florida, and the world, is beyond reckoning.
Furthermore, Florida has been a beacon for the worst people in the world, going back to the so-called Age of Discovery.
“Cush” retirements getting scarcer? Apparently you’re confusing the condition of most people with that of an enormous, and growing, group of other people:
millions of these people are on their way here — lead, follow, or get the hell out of their way
The dude says
Not sure exactly what you are saying, but your link seems to support my original thought?
People may be “double dipping” on their SS, but ain’t what’s paying cash for $600k houses in gated communities, $500/mo power bills, $200/mo water bills, $250/mo lawn service, $200/mo pool service et al…
No, the types of retirements that allow all that after retiring are becoming few and far between for myself and my peers. By the time I get to the point where I can consider retirement, benefits will have been cut or the program will be insolvent.
So “double dipping” from nothing equals nothing.
We’re just hoping to be able to eat canned dog food instead of dry after retiring.
But you are absolutely correct that this state attracts the worst type of people.
If you invest the most perfunctory exertion in understanding my comment — your understanding will be totally changed — and improved.
Briefly, “double-dipping” is much more than your understanding of it: the military officer earns a pension, then earns another retirement benefit from the defense contractor she works for next, and another from doing her civic duty in elected office, and with that in hand defers Social Security til the maximum benefit from that is had. Add positions on boards of directors, etc. — it makes a conspicuous lump under the mattress. Now add the spouses’ haul. Millions of examples of this are all around you.
As true as ever:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
This town has become all gas stations and homes and asphalt. Hard to believe this city was know as tree city at one time. Now zero trees or a small park here or there.
Land of no turn signals says says
More and more like Queens every day.
There will be mourning for the destruction this enormous development is bringing. ….we will TRY to save few beautiful trees… Just pitiful. Slowly killing our best assets that brings people here. Creating miserable living conditions and traffic congestions.
I suggest to look into the preserving of nature and that includes many habitats that are taking place on these 500 acres. That is a huge area full of animals, birds, plants …and we will never have them back. People of Palm Coast, wake up!
P.: People complain, but the people they voted for don’t listen. These people are removing every reason for living here, to draw people here who don’t have a clue about Florida, or its wildlife. Just as long as they can fill the river with party boats and be oblivious to the surroundings. Take the money and run. I’ve seen it all my life. I guess the Ft. Lauderdale (my home town) developer can’t even build skyward any more in South Florida, so now they are here going full throttle. What do you figure it will be like when they are done and move on?
I meant to say not a SINGLE tree was removed from our property in my previous post.
BIG Neighbor says
Im glad to see someone talk about protecting those majestic oaks all up in that property. The new trail crossover bridge area on the north side of Hwy 100 will certainly be wasted money if clear cutting takes place. If given the chance to self determine, clear cutting will be a tragedy of everyone except the profiteers.
The Sour Kraut says
Great. A few trees may survive. Maybe. If they don’t get in the way of “progress” and cost to much to work around.
Setbacks of just 5 feet? I am sure the fire department will be thrilled. It’s OK though because they will have sidewalks and fancy street lights.
The current Florida Building Code – Residential allows a three (3) foot setback before requiring any type of fire-resistant construction. With an ASTM 119 rated at one hour rated wall you can build right on your property line. Never seen a zero lot line house? Better yet, when was the last time you saw a residential structure fire?
The Sour Kraut says
Probably 6 years ago. Heartbreaking to see a longtime neighbor watch his house burn.
So we just aren’t going to have any forests left are we?
Another dumb idea. Minimum lot size is 40′, what are they putting on that in a so called upscale home community, a tent that sleeps 6? That is only the with of two 2 car garages side by side, and then they want 5′ easements on both side so a house that is 30′ wide. Pretty stupid if you ask me. People will be living on top of each other.
Simple solution… vote these clowns OUT!
PC because of the over building, empty store fronts, now it will be empty homes. The people that keep elected these greedy officials can be thanked for destroying what used to be a beautiful town, of tree’s, flowers and well maintained road sides NO MORE. Grass on roadways no longer gets cut as it once did. No more painted lines on the streets. City of PC now doesn’t seem to care if home yards are maintained. I sure sign of poor government.
The greed continues by our County managers. Let them build it and get those tax dollars. Heck with the woodland areas, the wildlife its all about the money.
This is what you get when you have a realtor running the show !!!
I agree these developers are raping this city that was once a nice city 20 3040 years ago. It’s greed money they don’t give a crap about the city or the people. when you have the mayor who is a realtor commercial and his wife’s a realtor and they live on old Kings Road with 25 acre lots and an $800,000 home the only thing they give a crap about is making more money, raping the city and moving on.
Jay Tomm says
Again…attend the meetings PC. City & county. No one shows up & why these keep getting approved.
Show PC has a voice to say no!
I agree! People have to be more active in protecting our city assets. When? Where? Give us better access to all the meetings! The only problem some of them might be behind locked doors…
Donald J says
The city approves a potential slum that the don’t have control over. City should never allow streets that can’t be dedicated, sidewalks, gutters and street lights will all be privately maintained. The city will collect taxes and not required to provide any services. I think all gate communities should join together in a class action suit to have taxes reduced by some factor to cover costs incurred by the HOA and reflect the saving to the city. Oh by the way, this fucked up city has been collecting annual taxes since 2008 to 4 Lane Old Kings Road. Where has that money gone? Has it been spent on other projects or squandered away in the form of bribes, city salaries, booze, cruises or hookers?
Just what we need, more traffic and Yanks. Where do you intend to park all these people when they converge on the beach? It’s already strained beyond what it can handle now. What a great combination for a lot of aggravation. Good job, Flagler County for selling out to the developers.
Bill C says
Requiem For Wildlife
Good luck deer!
Houses take your place.
Tall trees worthless.
Crows and vultures
Eat roadkill while
Painted buntings and
Pine warblers turn
to colorful ghosts.
jeffery seib says
Just what Flagler and Palm Coast needs, another apartment complex. The developer, and their hired gun attorney, the county commission, and the Palm Coast city council I’m sure are all very happy, and to hell with the rest of us. Looking at the Corp of Engineers map of the property shows lots of wetlands. These have been acting as storm surge reservoir and aquifer recharge areas in addition to being some of the most productive areas for wildlife and will now be drained and filled in. Come election time we will forget about all of this and get a fancy ad in the mail and there goes our vote and the neighborhood.
Mike Maloney says
The intersection at old kings rd.& town ctr Blvd is a disaster now!! Cars making a left onto town ctr Blvd hold up cars going north . This intersection needs a complete overhaul which is going to be very ,very expensive! We need to know what is planned to correct this problem and how the costs will be distributed.
You are correct this intersection is very dangerous! Cars turning north from Town Center Blvd. onto the narrow bridge cross the white line. Many people on foot and bikes cross this narrow bridge daily. I have asked the mayor twice for a pedestrian bridge and he forwarded my email to the very overpaid city manager who forwarded me on to customer service site. WHEN the new bridge gets built it will have a pedestrian walkway but there is insufficient funding at this time. I guess it will take a tragedy before they do something.
As for the wildlife, where will the otters, bald eagles, deer, raccoons, hogs and gators go? It’s all about the all mighty dollar!
Don’t I wish. Apartments is code for public housing. That means tax payers will be pay for it both in the neck and the pocket.