The Flagler County Commission at a minute after 11 p.m. Monday approved The Gardens development of 335 homes on the east side of John Anderson Highway in a 3-2 vote, with few conditions, possibly ending the developer’s nearly two-year, three-front battle with county regulators, Flagler Beach government and a community organization that had opposed the proposal. But opponents hinted at litigation several times.
Flagler Beach City Commission
A Flagler Beach City Commission seat and the mayor’s seat are up in the March 2 election, with first-term incumbent Eric Cooley vying to keep his seat and Suzy Johnston, heir of the Johnston political dynasty in Flagler–and Cooley’s partner–seeking to replace Linda Provencher after Provencher’s 15 years of service as an elected official.
False claims, disinformation, made up fears, “fairy tales” and allegations of government threats are hampering the county’s efforts to secure the necessary easements from a small group of hold-out property owners. Without the easements, the U.S. Army Corps will not proceed on its $25 million portion of the fully-funded project to protect 2.6 miles of beach.
Flagler Beach’s city attorney has drawn up a nine-page document that amounts to a roadmap for the County Commission as the county attempts to balance The Gardens’ development on John Anderson Highway with residents’ serious concerns about the plan.
Placing its full weight behind its new approach, the Flagler Beach City Commission will condition its support for The Gardens on more explicit assurances about road, utility, flooding improvements, and more certainty about a “cap” on future development.
The Flagler County Commission on Monday opted unanimously to table The Gardens’ application for a 335-home development on John Anderson Highway, the latest in a series of obstacles the development has faced since reviving a plan first devised by developer Bobby Ginn a decade and a half ago.
Flagler Beach can and will provide water and sewer to The Gardens, one of the more controversial proposed developments on any local government’s agenda. Monday evening, the County Commission was set to hear The Gardens’ development applications in one of the last hurdles before it can start building.
Residents of Flagler County and each of its cities will again see little to no change in their property tax bills next year as governments are adopting tax rates that either stay flat or roll back a little, with the exception of Bunnell.
In recognition of residents’ difficulties with Covid-19, Flagler Beach city commissioners agreed to a net-zero tax increase next year, which will translate to a modest tax decrease for many property owners, or some increase for those who aren’t homesteaded and whose assessed values have shot up.
A celebration of the life and times of the late Larry Newsom, Flagler Beach’s city manager for the past four years and one of local governments’ more colorful personalities, featured a video tribute produced by Flagler Broadcasting’s David Ayres and Rich Savage.