The west end of the W Section near U.S. 1 is getting new neighbors as the Palm Coast City Council today approved a proposed 256-apartment community on some 92 acres between Woodfield Drive to the north and Wood Acre Lane to the south. The development is about half a mile north of Whiteview Parkway.
In what may be a first for the Palm Coast City Council, when it considers approval of such a large apartment complex, not a single member of the public spoke (for or against) before the council approved the development in a 4-1 vote this morning. The lone dissenter was Eddie Branquinho. Council members themselves had few questions.
The development has drawn little attention and none of the opposition that traditionally barnacles to large apartment complex proposals in the city.
“Not one person spoke for or against the project,” Bill Hoover, a senior planner with the city’s community development department, said of two previous neighborhood meetings about it, where the developers specified that it was “not tax credit housing.” (Palm Coast residents of single-family home neighborhoods have typically reflected a prejudice against subsidized affordable housing.)
The development is part of Palm Coast’s long-range plan to diversify housing options in a city still dominated by single-family homes on quarter-acre lots, at a time when the single-family home’s ideal is under increasing scrutiny.
The likely reason for a lack of opposition is that the development is upscale and mixes elements of gated communities with that of apartment complexes, including a clubhouse, trails and ample nature preserves.
The site is surrounded by residential neighborhoods on three sides, and by U.S. 1’s more commercial and industrial zoning to the west. The 256 apartments will be concentrated in 12 three-story buildings, each with 20 or 22 apartments, and the buildings will themselves be located at the center of the 92 acres, which will remain surrounded by woods. (The acreage is actually zoned for a maximum of almost 800 units.)
The 96 one-bedroom apartment will be 773 square feet, the 120 two-bedroom apartments will be 1,071 square feet, and the 43 three-bedroom apartments will be 1,226 square feet. None of the buildings is expected to be visible from the houses neighboring the development’s more or less rectangular property.
“Our project is intended to be an upscale multi-family community for residents who enjoy being surrounded by lakes and preserve areas,” John Horan, the Flagler Beach broker for the developer, wrote surrounding residents in an explanatory letter in July. Aviara was incorporated in 2019 by a Delray Beach group, listing three groups of investors–Aviara Florida Inc., JMF Investment Group, and Mag Real Estate and Development, all at the same Delray Beach address, at 933 South Congress Avenue.
“The proposed layout of the project retains existing natural features of the site to maximize privacy for existing neighboring homes, especially the single-family homes located north and east of the site,” a city staff analysis of the development states. “Essentially, the existing large lake in the [northeast] corner of the site will be retained which will allow many neighboring residents to continue enjoying this lake view. A small wetland area is also being retained in the SW corner of this lake and south of the club house that will minimize views of the proposed homes by neighboring homes to the north and northeast.” Wetlands to the west of the property will insulate residents of the new development from sounds or sights along U.S. 1’s more industrial zone.
“The views from the second and third floor of this project will be outstanding,” Joe Pasquale, the architect and site designer of the project, already in marketing mode, told members of the city council this morning, on Zoom. The lakes at the site used to be construction borrow pits in the early days of ITT, the company that originally developed Palm Coast (and for whom Pasquale, now a South Florida architect, once worked). “That small lake is gorgeous., it’s almost got a little sandy beach on it as we went through the site,” he continued.
“MAG has set itself apart from other construction companies in that it’s focus has always been on luxury design and construction,” the company’s About page states. “Currently, the focus is to bring the same craftsmanship and luxury design that MAG is known for to larger multifamily development projects across South Florida. The goal is to offer modern, high-quality and competitively priced rental communities to the masses across Florida.”
Horan says he expects Aviara Palm Coast to begin construction by the end of the year, providing for “hundreds” of jobs, and complete the project “near the end of 2022.”
Some 50 people attended the neighborhood meetings the city requires developers to host ahead of development proposals of this size. Two such meetings were held at the Hilton Garden Inn on Aug. 11 (to allow for social distancing). Residents were concerned about planned fencing along the border of the development. But there as at the council meeting this morning, attention focused on details.
Pasquale says new-home sales have increased 42 percent in Flagler County, though he did not say over what period. In fact, the Flagler County Association of Realtors’ latest report, issued this month, finds that for the past 12 months, overall home sales have stayed flat, compared to a year ago, with a 3.4-month supply of homes on the market, down from 4.9 months a year ago. “I think we’re running out of single-family homes there and can’t keep up with the influx of people,” Pasquale said, “so we believe that the market demands something like the single-family home, so we added garages to these units that are direct access to the units.”
The city’s Technical Site Plan review and building permits will be carried out administratively, so the project is not expected to reappear before the council before construction.
Why would City of Palm Coast council approve apartments in a residential neighborhood? Why does the City of Palm Coast council approve two story houses to be built in a neighborhood where all of the other homes are single story?
Is it just greed, because it doesn’t make any common sense.
Norma Friel says
Why so many apartments? Palm Coast needs places that offer good paying jobs. We have three Rt 95 exits. Amazon could have come here. We need tech companies. Trucking companies would also be a good option. There seems to be no real development plan. I have heard it is not easy to get past the Palm Coast planning board. What is the problem? We need jobs to attract young people with families to this area. A community with a good mix of all ages grows properly. Our current stand out ages are over 60 and above. That is good for the medical industry, but will not give growth in all other areas. We do not need any more communities near the beaches. As it is on a beach day our beaches are too crowded and the parking is horrible.
Katrina Friel says
1. There is a land development code so there is a plan.
2. Amazon wanted at grade with the highway land with quick I-95 access and that was not available.
3. There are sooooooooo many jobs that can’t be filled right now. There is a huge workforce shortage in this country.
4. When you put the 18 – 60 yo populations together, it far out numbers the 60+ population
5. You need places for the workforce to live. Therefore, apartments.
Apartments are residential. Where are they supposed to put them, in commercial zones? And why cant a 2 story house be built next to a single story house? Is there supposed be some type of special 2 story house zone?
Tony Mack says
Well, we have a three-story residence being built on Louisville and it looks like an apartment house with two double car garages…seems as if there is no planning and zoning considerations given to neighborhoods…BTW — this particular home has been under construction for three years with five separate extensions…go figure…
Yes, that is exactly what all other states do.
Not true. Go to any state, you’ll see multi family complexes across the street from single family homes. Single family homes next to project housing, etc. True, some areas do have house requirements, for the section, but its not a whole country thing where such developments are separated from single story homes.
All about the money says
And what about school?? Where are these kids going to go? In an already overpopulated school system.
The commenter is incorrect. Even before covid, Flagler schools had roughly 20 percent of unused capacity, or a bit more, because of the overbuilding of the 2000s.
william guess says
Not under COVID Guidlines!
All about the money says
Have you been in the high schools? Fpc is definitely overcrowded! Grade schools can’t except school choice because of too many kids.
WILLIAM NELSON says
and great thoughts they are!!
The same design as the “Luxury” shitholes behind Publix on Belle Terre.
They just want money no jobs and not enough store’s for this little Palm coast overpopulation already happing greed and stupid
Dennis C Rathsam says
WOW…Speak with forked tonge! For as long as I can remember, the council has pushed for affordable housing, here in Palm Coast.But when push comes to shove,money talks & B/S walks. The rich get richer and they buy what ever they want, lets put a house on every parcel of land then. We can go back, from which the towns & cities we came from, due to overcrowding, & now its happening here…Please vote all the council members, and the mayor out of office, for the sake of our city. Its time for a real change, and stop putting lipstick on the pig!
me to says
The plan shows only one entrance and the as the exit.
In response to “me to says” you observed that there is only one entry and exit. There are a lot of places here that have one way in and out and that to me is the stupidest thing ever. Gad, even plans for a house have to have more than one entrance or exit built in. If there is ever a fire or other emergency people are stuck and possibly in danger. Very rarely have I ever heard of the planning board or council people or commissioners reject a plan due to one way in and out and make them re do the plan.
Concerned Citizen says
I don’t recall hearing about this before now.
Another example of local government doing things in the dark. Then only finding out about it thru local media sources. Or government won’t rest until this city is over developed.
Are you planning on upgrading our infra structure to meet the needs of all this new housing?
Missy Nielssen says
Luxury rentals…hope they exclude these from Airbnb / Vrbo. Why rentals and now outright sales to limit the transient aspect? If you can afford a luxury rental why not own a condo? This project makes no sense. More traffic with the high number of units.
The city will only be happy when Palm Coast looks like Orlando, and as dangerous. Greed runs this city.
The city and greedy leaders wont stop till there is not one inch of land that is not developed here in palm coast. Section 8 housing, strip malls, overdeveloped home areas, roads, traffic, crime. This WILL BE JACKSONVILLE SOUTH SOON!!!!!
I have no problem with the city building apartment’s, house’s or even townhouses. As long as they put them in a proper area. We also have to have jobs for young families, Palm Coast is not just for retirees. If we are going to build then let’s add roads, to accommodate the housing and jobs too, plus add good restaurants. Allowing companies to come into palm coast helps with jobs and taxes. Palm Coast takes forever to get things done. They complain regarding Dollar General stores, but they allow them, so allow companies to come in and help our future generations to work and make it in palm coast and stay here.
I had every intention on spending the rest of my natural born days in that Community. Given the oppurtunity to test drive it so to speak I came to the conclusion that for many reasons its not for me The lack of many new Companies or Corporations coming into the area outside of UNF it seemed to be a Commercial deadzone. Lack of Leadership and You have to travel to do anything ?? etc…Good Luck God Bless You all need a Plan and fast.
Complaints after complaints….. we want more shopping options,we want more restaurant choices, more corporate type jobs….. guess what these only happen where the population can support them. As someone who has been in Palm Coast for over 35 years I wouldn’t have predicted the growth in the ways it has occurred, However; I was not naive enough to think that it would never happen……
Palm Coast Person says
Thank you! This! I grew up here. I want more options that are affordable for people just starting out and for our retail workers, school employees, public servants, and this is a step sorta forward.
I was here when the ONLY think in Palm Coast was a gas station and a Publix shopping center. I remember the grand opening of McDonalds on Old Kings Road and Palm Coast Parkway! People come here in the middle of a developing city and expect it to never change again!
This is necessary. We need population to support job growth. They won’t come here without labor force or consumers to support their business.
I agree greed does run the City of Palm Coast Officials. Why can’t they get industry in Palm Coast? All the City Officials approve are more houses and shopping centers that remain empty for the most part, stores come and they go just as quick.
They are calling this project Luxury Apartments, I doubt that and did you notice they never put what the rental rates are going to be.
I feel we need all new City Officials and Council members we need new idea’s coming into this town the same Officials keep repeating what was done when Mayor Netts was in charge and continue to do the same.
Where are the corporations, where are people suppose to work or as usual the City of Palm Coast just wants to attract retirees. Out with the old and in with the new, that is progress.
For anyone who doesn’t know this, ITT’s plan for development of Palm Coast was designed for a max population of 200,000. So hang onto your hats, it’s going to get worse.
Money talks says
Also, that land was registered as wet lands. The houses on the back of that forest/now development were purchased under the assumption it will never be built. Now this is what will be in their back yards. Money talks.
Patricia S says
John Brady says
Ok if you vote for Mayor Holland, this is was the beginning. She already has relieved $10,000 from one developer in 10 $1,000 contribution, In 2016 she received $46,000 in contributions for a $12,000 a year job and 1o people or companies associated with real estate contributed the maximum allowed $1,000.
“A new broom sweeps clean”
Palm Coast is like the USA as a whole. US was built from immigration, PC was built off migration. Just like the US, people come here from other places and then complain about others who move here afterwards. Then tell them to go back where they came from. The old PC Welcome Center(for those who remember) was the Ellis Island of PC. And with increasing population comes development. But it is true regarding the lots sold backing this proposed complex, the buyers were told it was never going to be developed land.