When it comes to apartment complexes in Palm Coast, three factors decide whether the developments will draw opposition from neighboring residents or not: location, location, location.
The closer the proposed development is to established residential neighborhoods of single-family homes and the wealthier those homes, the likelier and the louder the opposition, potentially spooking the elected officials responsible for ratifying zoning or development applications. The further away the proposed plans are from those neighborhoods, and the closer they are to existing apartment complexes or ugly thoroughfares, the more indifferent the response from residents–and the more grateful from elected officials happy for the new tax revenue and just as happy not to be faced with angry constituents.
That’s why Palm Coast City Council members Victor Barbosa, Ed Danko and Nick Klufas, seldom on the same side of major issues, were gushing at a land-use application to rezone 72 acres on the north side of the intersection at U.S. 1 and Seminole Woods Boulevard to mostly apartment zoning, with 187,400 square feet reserved for high-intensity commercial development.
The rezoned land adjoins the Integra Woods apartment complex to the northeast and U.S. 1 to the west. It is at some distance from residential neighborhoods. And it has an added aesthetic benefit: the apartments that would be built there are single-story “attached homes” rather than traditional multi-story apartment buildings. In other words, picture you average residential street of single-family homes, but without the side lots separating them. The homes are all attached.
The council unanimously approved the rezoning, clearing the way for a multi-phased development that could add up to 650 apartments–the single-largest (eventual) addition of apartments since two apartment complexes changed the look of Palm Coast’s Town Center. Jason DeLorenzo, the city’s development director, cautions that “this property has quite a bit of wetlands and will not likely be able to be developed to full density.”
The Seminole Pointe apartments–the property owners are in Boynton Beach and Los Angeles, the applicant is David M. Trandel of Stonestreet Partners in Chicago–will be built in phases, with the first phase projected to result in between 170 and 180 apartments.
Not a single individual addressed the council during the public comment period.
The acreage is split into three lots, two of them bordering U.S. 1, the third bordering only Seminole Woods. The rezoning changed from master plan development and general commercial to multi-family and high-intensity commercial.
“This really isn’t a multifamily project in the traditional sense of three or four stories. This is really something that we already have in Palm Coast that I draw your attention to,” Michael Chiumento III, the developer’s attorney, told the council. He cited examples such as Lake Forest on Club House Drive, Kings Colony on Old Kings Road, or the apartments on Bridgehaven Drive. “It’s all single-story. It’s not multifamily in the traditional sense. This is the type of product that is being requested to be built on the property.” The housing will be clustered around retail stores and other commercial uses, diminishing residents’ need to drive.
“This project is what I think is a perfect project. They’re putting a high density on the highway. So it’s not bringing no traffic into the residential,” Council member Victor Barbosa said. “This is perfect because it’s not going to bring no hardship, no traffic. And if there is traffic, that’s going to be the state that’s going to pay to open this up, not us.”
“Ideally, I think we can all agree that we would rather push the high-intensity commercial traffic to U.S. 1 for a plethora of reasons, not just because it’d be the state that will fund it,” Council member Nick Klufas said. “But I think it’s just a more suitable fit.” He said the “single-family attached style of housing is something that again, we needed to add to our housing inventory.”
High-intensity commercial zoning would allow fast-food restaurants, bars with outdoor entertainment, automotive stores, tattoo stores, Chiumento said, reading from the city’s code. The proposal would still allow that, but on 187,400 square feet instead of on 375,000 square feet. The rest would be converted to apartment zoning. No wetlands will be impacted in the first phase, nor any other environmental resources.
The first phase’s apartment units of will have one, two and three bedrooms. The high-intensity part of the development is “undetermined” for now, and will be led by market forces, Chiumento said.
“Is there a risk that the high intensity commercial does not develop?” Mayor David Alfin asked.
“We would always have to say that’s a risk but it is the intent to build that once the residents are there,” Chiumento said.
The council will have to approve the rezoning on second reading in two weeks. The developer will then submit a site plan detailing the actual look of the project.