The Palm Coast City Council this morning agreed to postpone consideration of a controversial rezoning application that would result in the addition of 483 apartments and housing units near Palm Coast Resort’s 72-unit apartment tower.
The city’s planning department is recommending against approval of the application, considering the number of requested units double the allowable total, placing the project outside the parameters of the city’s comprehensive plan. The applicant, developer Jim Jacoby’s JDI Palm Coast, disputes the city’s analysis and the way it’s calculating density.
The proposal has twice gone before the city’s planning board, an advisory body. It has twice faced near-unanimous opposition from throngs of residents in and around the Harborside area. “All or nearly all speakers had concerns with the project and their concerns primarily involved: project density and number of units, building height, traffic, stormwater and flooding issues, utility concerns, and lack of specific development plans by the developer,” a briefing memo on the item states.
The Planning board postponed a decision the first time, hoping that the city and the applicant could reach a compromise. They did not. The planning board then unanimously recommended against approval, sending the matter to the City Council.
“We received a request from the applicant to continue this matter to a date certain in the future but the city council dates have not been fully set yet,” City Attorney Neysa Borkert said this morning.
“We intend to resubmit a revised Master Planned Development Agreement to you and your staff,” Jay Livingston, the applicant’s attorney, wrote Jason DeLorenzo, the city’s development director, on Monday. “The continuance will provide time for you and your staff to review the revisions and for any additional discussions needed before it is finalized this week, well in advance of City Council’s consideration.”
That suggests the applicant may have become convinced that the proposal as presented to the planning board would fail before the council, and that it is now considering a set of conditions the city proposed, making the application more palatable. It is also possible that the election played at least some role in the delay, because two new council members will be seated then: Cathy Heighter and Theresa Pontieri, replacing John Fanelli and Eddie Branquinho. It isn’t known how the new members will see the proposal. But it was almost certain that Branquinho would have voted against it, as he has every proposal he deems too intense.
The new council members are sworn in the evening of Dec. 6.
In her Live interview before the election, Pontieri spoke of development in ways that could give both sides reason to think she’d vote one way or the other. “The price of housing today is putting that dream out of reach for too many people, and the main issue is supply and demand,” she said. “As supply goes down, prices go up. So, we need to provide a little more supply to temper those prices, using the county’s Comprehensive Plan as a guide to reflect future housing, land use, transportation, and infrastructure needs. We must always consider environmental and quality of life implications that come with population growth as well.”
Heighter did not take part in the interview, but she is, like Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin, a Realtor.
Despite the postponement, some members of the public addressed the council today again to voice concerns about the proposal, like one owner of a condominium at Palm Coast Resort. “The majority of of our owners are really concerned about safety,” the owner said, citing worries about what she estimated would add up to 700 vehicles bottlenecking in and out of a single entrance. “How this amount of cars can go in and out of the area, that’s absolutely impossible. I know all of you are really concerned about safety of our people, of our residents in Palm Coast. So the [company] needs to revise the plan, that’s for sure.”
- Harborside Tower in Dispute: Palm Coast and Developer Still Far Apart Over Allowable Number of Apartments
- Plan for a Massive Apartment Tower at Harborside Draws Opposition, Accusations and Delay
Please no more apartments.
Clubhouse Drive has too many cars already.
I’m surprised the city didn’t recommend that the developer changes his plans and applies for storage units rather than his original plan. If he wants to build storage faciilties I guarantee our deaf, dumb and blind city officials would approve it.
Amen, Gary. The concerns of the public are quite valid here. Whatever happened to that hotel we were promised? More broken promises from the City of Palm Coast?
C. J. says
If Palm Coast City Council and Flagler Co. Commissioners continue to approve this level of building in Palm Coast and Flagler County, you will find most of the current population leaving. We did not INVEST in Palm Coast to be overrun by the density of this irresponsible expansion of development and the sacrifice of building codes that place all the rest of us at risk during storms. The public needs to ride through these developments during construction and see the shabbiness.
As a person who is very concerned about safety in the built environment, I would ask that you elaborate on your comment about the “sacrifice of building codes”. Thank you.
More will definitely come, but double what is allowable? Ridiculous!
NO to zone change. Clubhouse Drive has enough speeders as is and our water, sewer system is from the 70’s and caving in…We do not have enough roads or wide enough for all these traffic and growth and we maybe supportive of growth but with a common sense plan not like is done now via open pockets. Stop all these zone changes allowing more units per acre or also allowing 150 ft tall 5G towers undermining the value of our homes and our health besides the eyesore from only about 160 ft (#7 Clubhouse Drive) from our homes to serve others miles away!
Yup, that’s the “marina” all right… seen better days in my opinion. Again, I say scale back the apartment or hotel plans (either one or the other… you can’t have both) and revamp/expand the marina.
Also sounds like they plan to control the existing marina and incorporate it into the new complex completely. What of the current boat owners that dock at the marina? I’m sure they pay rent to do so… and judging by what I’ve seen over the years many of them are “long term residents.” Why jeopardize an already existing income stream? And that property is not as big as it may appear, it’s an odd longish strip really.
No, I wouldn’t go along with this developers existing plan either, so “kicking the can” to the next council was a wise choice… this council has done ENOUGH this year. Let the decision be on other heads.
Just my opinion.
Michael Cocchiola says
If it takes a change in zoning to allow the developer to add enough housing units to turn a profit, I say go right ahead. Preserving the Palm Harbor Marina is worth the extra traffic.
The marina must be preserved. Local boaters and Intracoastal travelers need it. It’s the only fuel stop between St Augustine and Daytona Beach. It offers overnight docking for travelers seeking refuge from inclement weather, to get needed repairs, or to just get some rest and resupply for the next leg of their journey.
Another compelling reason for preserving the marina is that it’s the waterside gateway to Palm Coast. In my eight years working at the marina, I witnessed countless travelers decide to relocate to Palm Coast because they fell in love with our city and they are thrilled that they can buy homes on the canals and dock their boats.
This deal must be done.
“… The marina must be preserved. Local boaters and Intracoastal travelers need it. It’s the only fuel stop between St Augustine and Daytona Beach. It offers overnight docking for travelers seeking refuge from inclement weather, to get needed repairs, or to just get some rest and resupply for the next leg of their journey. …”
Is this deal going to really preserve the marina as you envision? The success of a “mixed use” project with apartments, townhouses, ships store and a hotel seems questionable. One only need consider the Tidelands development up the road from the marina… is that a resounding success? Is it a solution to the “affordable housing problem” here in Palm Coast?
Despite Pontieri’s “supply and demand” prattle, I don’t think a rezoning, leading to a large development project on the property will ultimately help with affordable housing. What I see as evolving there with this developer is either a Tidelands type development, with “high end” apartments if any, and townhouses… which would ultimately close the marina to the public (the boat slips being assigned to townhouse owners much like parking spaces). Or the other possibility, the hotel and ship store plan which might work out to preserve some public access to both the boat slips (as long and short term rentals) and a fueling/repair depot, and perhaps an additional free public access boat ramp, etc, etc. But this latter scenario is doubtful, since we don’t have strong council members with vision, only self-serving rubber stampers.
But a hotel, ship store, townhouse and apartment development? Who would want to live there?
Again, just an opinion.