John Clark stood before the Palm Coast City Council Tuesday and held up a sketch of his home, to scale, superimposed on a lot to be developed nearby at a 95-home development called Ryan’s Landing, in the heart of Palm Coats’s R-Section.
Clark’s home wouldn’t fit.
“I along with a number of concerned residents in the R Section are appealing to the city council to reject the current plan before you for Ryan’s Landing,” Clark told the council Tuesday. “First is the density of the homes in this development.” Only five of the 95 lots are to be similar so quarter-acre lots. “When asked about the lots at the previous planning board meeting, the applicant stated that lots were consistent with the neighborhood, which is just not true. Their calculation of 3.42 acres per home includes non buildable areas such as roads, swales, retention ponds, tree buffers, and that community center. The actual acreage for buyers of single family homes is 16 acres. That’s how much their lands are using for houses, and that equates to 5.93 homes per acre, if approved.”
The council voted 4-0 to approve the development’s rezoning. The plan is for a gated community restricted to people 55 and over.
It was not a surprise, and the council had limited grounds, if any, to reject the proposal, especially on acreage that has already dragged the city through litigation.
The new lots Palm Coast has been approving for building single-family homes have been smaller than the usual quarter-acre lots that were the signature of ITT’s platting of Palm Coast. It’s been a recurring complaint of existing residents: proposed developments on the old Matanzas Woods golf course, at Eagle Lakes off Old Kings Road, a recently approved 48-home subdivision off U.S. 1, and now Ryan’s Landing, to name a few, are all going the way of market demand. Incoming, older residents as much as less affluent residents are demanding smaller homes, smaller lots to take care of, and more amenities. The homes are selling.
“There’s a reason the applicant is requesting rezoning, simply because 95 Homes is more profitable than 65 or 50,” Clark told the council. “And your responsibility is to the community at large, and this is your one chance to get it right.” But Clark was simply making the developer’s point: those smaller homes on smaller lors are precisely what’s selling. So developers are providing them, often to the displeasure of existing residents, who argue that their property values will fall–so far without evidence: values have been rising steadily–that traffic will increase beyond the capacity of local roads (a potentially more valid concern when talking into account that existing roads were built with larger lots, and therefore somewhat fewer people, in mind, though traffic studies so far do not point to a problem) and that quality of life is being affected (a more intangible and less arguable claim).
Ironically, the property along Ryan Drive previously could have been developed at a much higher density of up to seven units per acre. In 2004 the city designated the property as greenbelt, limiting development to one unit per acre. The development sued. In a settlement agreement in 2009 the city and SeaGate Communities agreed to a Master Planned Development deal that limited density to 65 single family homes on 6,000 square foot lots, with amenities and a 5-acre park. For a dozen years the development went nowhere. It was one of the consequences of the housing crash.
The developer–SeaGate Management, represented by Palm Coast attorney Jay Livingston–was now asking the city council to replace the 2009 Master Planned Development agreement with a new one. The new plan is to have 95 homes. The park is no longer in the plans. The proximity of Ralph Carter Park makes that unfeasible for the city, Ray Tyner, the city’s deputy development director, said. Instead, the developer would donate 4.5 acres elsewhere in the city–land adjoining the Seminole Woods Neighborhood Park–to make up for the loss. But in the previous plan, the developer would have developed te park. There are no such plans right now for the donated land; if that donated acreage is to be developed, it’ll have to be at the city’s expense.
“That was one of the sticking points was a demand from the city for the developer to build park amenities for a park that far exceeded the developer’s impact to the system for parks,” Livingston said. “The ask of the city at the time was patently unreasonable and probably illegal, and that’s why we went to litigation and settled the case. “As it is, Livingston said, the developer will still be providing more acreage for park use, overall, than is required by the comprehensive plan.
The subdivision will have a 50-foot buffer on much of its its perimeter on the side of the development that parallels Ryan Drive, and a fence between the new development and existing duplexes along Ryapple Lane. The lots would front on an internal roadway, not on Ryan Drive. (That internal roadway will be maintained by the homeowner association, not by the city.)
Still, other residents, like Jody Soto, argued to the council that the proposed development was not providing appropriate recreation so much as doing so for residents in Seminole Woods. “Driving 5.5 miles or more to a wooded lot somewhere else does not satisfy the recreation requirements,” she said. Even if the residents are over 55, another resident said, many of the people in that age group are still working and many will have two vehicles in each household, Palm Coast having no public transportation.
A small percentage of the homes may yet be owned by people under 5, the resident said. Yet another resident raised the issue of a single entry and exit point from Ryan Drive as a safety issue. she said there’s a school bus stop at that very spot, with children standing there and parents lining up their cars at the spot, all of which could, with the addition of drivers coming in and out of the single Ryan’s landing subdivision, could create problems. “We believe this is both a public safety concern and a traffic flow issue and can be alleviated with dual entrances and exits,” the resident said.
Those issues resonated with some of the council members. Councilman Nick Klufas said he’d want the possibility of a second entry and exit point addressed before the second reading of the ordinance, while Councilman Ed Danko wanted the matter of the school bus stop addressed and th subdivision’s accessibility to fire trucks. Tyner said the city will consider either moving the bus stop or the entrance.
“There are a large number of steps that have to be walked through before the development order, which is really the trigger for a project to begin,” Mayor David Alfin said, “and there were several different comments which are correct and well said that have yet to be addressed in the development order in the build up to the development order process.” That said, Alfin called for a motion, got it, and the council voted 4-0 to approve the rezoning on first reading. It is expected to approve it on second reading in wo weeks, by which time some of the residents’ concerns are to be addressed.
David S. says
What a joke.
Darlene L Shelley says
Wow- This Mayor and City Council will approve anything! Such a direct conflict with the opinion of the citizens, the safety of the residents, and the vision of the founders of Palm Coast. Truly reprehensible.
It’s all about tax money. They don’t care what you think.
It’s called affordable living but most just like to say what is will hurt. Poor people need homes too!
With all respect, Seagate does not build ‘affordable’ housing, they are not geared towards that market. This will be an over 55 gated community similar to Park Place off Pine Grove. Off hand guess is $275K minimum.
Is 275k for a home not lower income in this climate? Yes things have changed a but but that is Def affordable housing for seniors .
Mischa Gee says
And 275K is someone’s guess, not necessarily the least expensive home price Seagate will charge.
ULTRA MAGA says
More BULLSHIT CORRUPTION in Palm Coast by RINOS!U
Reply to Whiners says
who’d you vote for that’s on the board Ultra? My guess is that you voted Danko and his group and will vote for braintrusts like Lowe too
ULTRA MAGA says
Yes, we believed RINO Danko when he talked big about keeping Green Spaces and limiting growth because of the limits of the water and sewage systems! Time to DUMP Danko!
Dennis C Rathsam says
STUFF EM IN ALVIN…The hell with people, who cares about more traffic, more kids who gotta go to school…more water, will it ever end???? When the buldozer rips the heart out of all those animals that call them lots home. Mr Mayor, & councilmen be there to watch the destruction, watch the animals run for their lives. What goes around gentlemen, comes around…Have U no civic pride…GREEN SPACE IS GOOD…..
Diane Ramirez says
Ryan Drive has gotten ridiculously busy over the past two years as it is. Letting this developer rape the land by squeezing in more homes than was previously approved is unconscionable but not out of character for the Palm Coast City Council. This is the band of geniuses that have screwed up waste removal contracts and bought buildings that can’t be used. Palm Coast was a nice quiet community with lots of green space and friendly neighbors. Now, you hear screeching tires, mailboxes are being run over by cars who can’t bother to slow down on curves, people waving knives and guns at each other in road rage incidents. It has become an unsafe place to live and I, for one, am looking to get out.
Bill C says
That’s what you get when you elect a real estate agent as mayor. They can’t see the forest through the trees, so knock them all down.
Jeff Miller says
Money, enough said. All about money…
I guess this is what happens when the mayor is pro real estate by profession. Vote him out in November before he benefits from the raise the council gave themselves too ? Drive along FL-100 and get a good look at the land that was leveled for the Sam’s Club/Wal-Mart or whatever it is that’s going there that is East of the FPC HS & Wawa. Their vision is running over the community.
Kim Olson says
IMPORTANT HEARING at Palm Coast City Council at City Hall on June 7 at 6 PM. Issue is whether Seagate Homes will be allowed to build 95 homes in a section which at one time the city zoned as a greenbelt. The lot size will be only 50 feet rather than the standard 80 feet and certainly will cause more traffic problems on both Ryan and Rymfire Drives. PLEASE HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD AND ATTEND.
***IF YOU CANNOT ATTEND SIGN PETITION*** Kim Olson 151 Ryberry Drive Palm Coast FL 32164 619 517-0338
Mischa Gee says
Anyone who lives off of Belle Terre Parkway knows that all developed land on either side of it eventually empties on to it. I have lived here since 2003 and watched as more houses have been built without addressing ingress/egress throughout the city.
There was a deadly crash on Belle Terre by Pine Cone Dr about a month ago. Instead of being able to travel from Whiteview Dr ( a left hand turn out of my development after exiting via Princess Rose because it’s too dangerous most of the time to try to go left out of Pritchard due to traffic ), I was forced to go straight across Belle Terre. I had to follow other vehicles round about through the “R” section at least 2.5 to 3.5 miles out of the way to get to the Publix Shopping Center to pick up a pizza that night.
If we ever have a situation which calls for an evacuation, get ready to sit in your car, burning gas while going nowhere. This town does NOT have enough through roads heading north/south or east/west and the approval of apartment and condo complexes along with shrinking single family house lots, while not including wide enough roads for on street parking is only going to add to the frustration and road rage that now exists in this, once easy to get from one part of town to another, city!!
The water pressure is so bad, that when I spoke yesterday, with a representative from a construction company that is building a home across the street from mine, he stated that Palm Coast has a real water pressure problem. That they are building $400 – $500K homes with 3 – 4 baths, which can’t be used at the same time. He also said, if the home has a sprinkler system on the City water, you get no water indoors when it’s on. I agreed, since my water barely trickles out of the kitchen faucet during high usage hours like, breakfast, lunch and dinner time. Let’s not even get into the swales not running properly everytime new construction occurs, because the city does not inspect the grade from an existing home matching new construction next to it.
If the city council is going to continue to ignore the idea the we need more through roads, let development continue without multiple exits/entrances into developments within an existing development, shrinking lot sizes adding density, things will go terribly wrong during an evacuation, especially if there is a fast spreading fire.
Not having ample space for cars of visitors is an actual problem if you have company. Neighbors become angry when the sides of swales they have to maintain get rutted by someone else’s company, and traffic in neighborhoods makes it unsafe to take a walk.
Palm Coast is turning into an ugly mess which will only make the already escalating crime worse. We need leaders who through critical thinking and deductive reasoning STOP APPROVING greedy developers VARIENCES, unless they are to add neighborhood parks, increase parking and improve ingress/egress and future water and sewer needs, and start thinking about the future of this city. We don’t need to be the next Miami, Orlando or Jacksonville, another unattractive high crime area people flee.
ULTRA MAGA says
I Totally agree with you! Danko talked Big about keeping Green Space and limiting growth because of the limit of the water and sewage systems! Dump Danko because he has SOLD OUT to the Greedy Developers! Time to End CORRUPTION in Palm City!
Enough with the increased housing. This is absolutely ridiculous!!!!! PC is crowded as it is. Once again GREED. Wish I never moved here. It will be another Daytona, crap hole very soon.
People feel that small lots/ zero lot line homes are a detriment to the area. I drive by a small community on CLubhouse drive that have zero lot lines. These homes are lovely and offer a single family home without the maintenance of a big yard.
Jay tomm says
So you’ll going to have a min of 95 new cars driving in this area….
so I will now wait 15 minutes at the Rymfire traffic light instead of the 10 I wait now because of the traffic.
It’s nice to know the residents are just completely ignored, yet the PC signs I am seeing all over the R section wants us to vote for them.