By Lynne Bravo Rosewater
Beachwalk is a proposed development on Jungle Hut Road and State Road A1A calling for for fifty homes on 12.44 acres. Its fate may be decided this evening at a County Commission meeting in Bunnell. The development should be stopped.
In order to have this great a density, the developer requested a PUD, a Planned Unit Development, which allows for greater diversity, only if “The purpose and intent of the planned unit development PUD is to provide innovative urban design, creative and flexible concepts and protection of natural features and open spaces that strict interpretation of zoning regulations would otherwise inhibit.”
Beachwalk fails to meet these criteria for a PUD. Beachwalk also fails to meet the Comprehensive Plan requirement that “The design and construction of a PUD must be in harmony with Zoning District regulations and the Flagler County Comprehensive Plan.” There are eight different requirements–five from the Land Development Code, and four from the Comprehensive Plan–that Beachwalk does not meet. That’s especially the case regarding the need for low density in the coastal areas. Both A1A and Jungle Hut Road are part of the designated scenic highways and byways system.
From the beginning of the plan for the development, Sean Moylan, the county attorney who sits on Technical Review Committee meetings, wrote on January 8 that “Beachwalk as it exists does meet the criteria for a PUD.” The only changes made since the original proposal were to remove four homes and add two cul-de-sacs and allow more trees to remain between both A1A and Jungle Hut. None of these changes meets the criteria for a PUD.
At the first votes on Beachwalk on March 15 the Commissioners unanimously voted “No” on the site plan and “No” on whether Beachwalk met the criteria for a PUD.
The developers then asked for a mediation. This so-called mediation on May 23 had no mediator. There were no notes or minutes. It dealt almost exclusively with the site plan, not the PUD. The commissioners reversed their vote, 3-2, approving the site plan. Jerry Cameron, the Flagler County Administrator, said that this vote was on the PUD as well, although there was no presentation about how or why the requirements of the PUD were met. This was one vote, not two as was the case on March 15.
Then on July 25 commissioners voted 3-2 to table Beachwalk. On August 5th, 2019, Commissioners voted 4-1 to, subsequently voting to discuss Beachwalk on August 13th, but because of time necessary for notification that date was changed to today. At this meeting the commissioners will decide if Beachwalk meets the requirements for a PUD.
Moylan also wrote on February 8 to Sid Ansbacher, the attorney representing the Beachwalk developer (Ken Atlee of Atlee Development Group), that “a PUD cannot be used solely to gain a blanket of variances.” This is exactly how the developers of Beachwalk are using the PUD.
I urge all concerned citizens of the Hammock, to wear a green shirt, show up this evening and oppose Beachwalk for the dangerous precedent it would set in the Hammock for greater density than our codes allow.
Dr. Lynne Bravo Rosewater, a clinical and forensic psychologist, is a 16-year resident of the Hammock.
Keep Flagler Beautiful says
There seems to be no end to the number of developers intent on ruining one of the last unspoiled places in Florida. Counting on our commissioners to represent the taxpayers and residents. Our position is overwhelming and very clear.
Wow, how can anyone think this is a good idea for the coastal area, or precious resources, and the quality of life for the residents who are already there!! The ONLY parties to benefit are greedy developers licking their chops at their profits by this overcrowding. Counting on our elected officials to protect us from this abuse!! PLEASE!!
It’s time for our commissioners to step up and say they will enforce their own documents. It that too difficult a thing to ask?
We are happy with the number of houses that the current documents allow; no need for variances to cram in more houses! Keep the Hammock beautiful and unspoiled and enforce the existing documents.
I’ll be there in green tonight. Hope there are lots of people there to let the commissioners know how the residents feel on this issue. Please attend.
Andy Montgomery says
Where did all the condos go?
One of Flagler Beach’s fantastic blessings remains just not many folks for miles and miles of beautiful beach. From Gamble State Park to Marineland, except for holidays, residents enjoy the beauty without congestion and stepping over each other. Away from the pier we locals enjoy no crowds, look for turtles and shells, walk our dogs with privacy and enjoy our single family residences. Just bliss at the beach and a real rarity on the Atlantic coast of Florida. No place most of us would rather be, this side of heaven.
In the late 1970’s, Wildcat zoning was sticking fourplexes into residential neighborhoods and if you love privacy, our sparse community was headed for disaster. What to do?
The McKnights who owned Flagler Abstract Company and a few neighbors took on the City Commission demanding strict zoning, to no avail. Together, they started a citizens group to protect our little town, expecting maybe ten people at the first meeting. When seventy-five homeowners showed up, the preservation movement took off.
Jesse McKnight told the group that the only way to accomplish their goal of strict adherence to Zoning requirements was to run candidates to replace City Council members who somehow overlooked zoning violations.
Jesse volunteered, but no one else would come forward. He finally prevailed upon an old friend, the mother of two of his best friends from Bunnell High School, Betty Steflik, to also run. After getting elected, these two partners in crime were able to reason with the remaining commissioners and the mayor to go along with the residents’ desire for above-board zoning. Jesse‘s special mission was saving the wetlands from becoming another Venice Park. They succeeded.
Betty’s great achievements were the dune walks and saving the old school, the Wickline Center, from the wrecking ball. She voted with Jesse on the conservation and preservation planks and was later instrumental in getting CARL Funds to save the northerly most 350 acres of wetlands abutting the southerly border of the Moody Boulevard and bridge corridor. What breathtaking beauty was preserved! She richly deserves having the little park and boat slip named for her. Betty was a great lady, committed to her community, who at first very reluctantly came forward from the shadows. Thank you Betty!
As Chairman if the Flagler Beach City Commission, Jesse’s contribution was the drafting of our zoning ordinances and land use plan which has proven bullet-proof and now enjoys nearly universal consensus. So if you ever see my very private friend, Jesse McKnight, cowboy boots and all, please quietly thank him for his contribution, standing up for the will of the people of Flagler Beach to preserve our community.
I would be willing to sell the swale next to my house, based on their projections you could put 4 more houses there.
Ron Huxtable says
This is a ridiculous proposal for the use of land in the Hammock. Please stop this!
Stop the developers
This is wrong on all levels…sounds as if someone was working on the sidelines to change the minds of the commissioners.
Vote the right way…and keep the Hammocks the way it was fought for all these years…
Randy Jones says
“. . . one of the last unspoiled places in Florida” and not in my/their back yard. Common complaints. If the developer meets the current requirements of the laws, codes and regulations he/she/they cannot be stopped.
That’s the point, Randy, if no variances are permitted this cannot happen. We want our elected officials to STOP expanding the existing zoning and density that the residents have already approved.
Keep Flagler Beautiful says
Maybe you’re one of those people who will roll over and take it, Mr. Jones, but there are many of us here in Flagler who are not cut from that cloth, and we don’t want the beauty of this area to be destroyed for the sake of yet another housing development in a county that is loaded with unsold homes. Nor do we want the potential for flooding to be unnecessarily exacerbated by more toilets, bathtubs, washing machines or dishwashers. You are wrong in your impression that a developer “cannot be stopped” if they meet current requirements of laws, codes, etc. If it can be proved that a proposed development is detrimental to the environment or wildlife, it most definitely can be stopped.
Linda Hansen says
Yes, they can. You can vote out those voting for and supporting high density development.
Concerned citizen says
Where is Commissioner Hansen on this? Isn’t this his area?
Working Class says
Be careful of what you wish for. Under the current zoning houses can be built on this property with no buffer requirements and driveways exiting onto A1A. Is this what you want? If you don’t want the property owner to develop it at all then why don’t you all with the Green shirts ban together and buy the property. I’m sure they will sell it.
With what density per acre?
A Concerned Observer says
Do the math. 12.44 acres divided by 50 homes. That works out to .2488 Acre lots and that’s with zero space for any common area else whatsoever.
Ken Kimberlin says
We are a NO vote on the Beach Walk regarding the “rezoning” efforts (36 to 50 home sites). It sets a dangerous precedent. “If” approved, would threaten “both” the natural serenity and the ecological surroundings.
The total destruction of the Hammock area by developers. These people could careless about the trees, the peaceful area, they only care about the money. This area already has traffic issues with speeding and lost tourist pulling out in front of others. . So what’s another 100 cars ( average 2 per NEW home). 100 more cars = more congestion.
This area floods. Has flooded. Will flood. They may not care but it’s irresponsible to build there.
Hammock Bear says
Greed is the problem. Please do not allow this land to be developed. It often floods and deer and other animals consider it their home.
Linda Hansen says
Commissioners Hansen and Ericksen voted NO. Commissioners O’Brien, Sullivan and Mullins voted YES.
People Care says
O’brien, Mullins, and Sullivan must go. Voting has consequences.
People Care says
Greg Hansen can go also, it is his job to protect his district and influence others…
Regan Hansen says
They are not allowed to “influence” each other by law. Speaking to each other about any issues or votes would get them removed from office.
Save Palm Coast says
But we all know – Hansen is terrible. Maybe he can go back and lobby for Hillary.
Regan Hansen says
Go research Sunshine Laws. Educate yourself.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
Oh no! I am so surprised at Commissioner Sullivan. Thank you Comm Hansen and Charlie – you always vote with common sense . Mullins? Whaddaya ‘xpect?
dennis mcdonald says
SULLIVAN VOTES YES..did any of us expect anything different from Dave Sullivan. Consider his Voting history for another property on the barrier island. It was YES for Bings. Remember what he said at the Bings Vote where he said he would have liked more information BUT he votes YES. I hear Sullivan has hired a consultant for his 2020 campaign but unless it’s “Putin” odds are slim he will survive. Sullivan is the same Commissioner that states publicly that he will ” kill you ” and be allowed to get away with it. A truly despicable example for our children.
Save Palm Beach says
Agree 100%. He will definitely be out in 2020. He has no support. He has done nothing for our district except raise taxes and spend. Our district is feed up with him.
Save Palm Coast says
Did anyone attend the meeting last night. Or should I say the debacle. The “Failing Five” have done nothing to protect Palm Coast.
Property taxes have gone through the roof (someone said the Hammock has 10% the people and pays 25% of the taxes), traffic is out of control – and they continue to side with developers for low income housing. Sullivan embarrassed himself multiple times last night and Mullins I think he fell asleep if he wasn’t on Facebook (Ed Danko is a great replacement). And of course we know O’Brien runs a terrible meeting.
Time to get these guys out.
I feel privileged to live and to have purchased an existing home in the Hammock. I never would have considered building a new home in this very special area. How the developers can justify building 50 homes in an ecologically sensitive area is beyond crazy. Aren’t The 100+ homes being built in the Mantanzas development off A1A enough to convince the commissioners (who voted yes) that building the Jungle Hut development is WRONG on every conceivable level?
C’mon man says
Let’s face it. In time, all of Flagler will be built up. This town is slated for what a couple hundred thousand residents?
The city/county will continue to build in order to fill what it can hold. Eventually all the land on US1 where cows graze will look like US1 in St Augustine. It will be home to shopping malls, car dealerships, homes and restaurants. Make my words
Name (required) says
It’s hilarious watching you “developers” build in flood zones; hope you’ve made the provisions for an incoming ocean during almost any major weather event.. you haven’t. Nor care. Lolol. Hey, future residents of “Beachwalk,” build on STILTS!!
Business as usual. What DEAL did the developers make to get the 3-2 vote?
We are not as stupid as you think we are.
Down With Duval says
It was the same, suspicious 3-2 vote when the Commissioners approved the Matanzas Shores developments by the very same developer, Duval. Hansen, who is no hero by any stretch of the imagination, and O’Brien voted for that one. Mullins was not on the Board at the time but probably would have voted for it.
If you folks on and near Junglehut want to preview what is coming your way, come and visit Las Casitas at Matanzas Shores, just to the north of Washington Oaks. It is one of two Duval developments that will bookend Lakeside. Wildlife habitat was clear cut and destroyed to be replaced by 200 ugly, stick shacks on tiny lots will be crammed in for maximum profit. Check out the models under construction. I sure hope that the neighbors like each other because they will be very intimate. I’m sure that the builders won’t tell the buyers that the ocean surge from Matthew came roaring through the Las Casitas property, flooding it and killing all of the oaks there. All they have to do is look at what Matthew and then Irma did to the house across a1a to understand what their fate will be as well. These new developments will make a great Airbnb communities. I can’t wait!
Unless Flagler County formalizes laws that discourage developers like Duval from raping the Hammock as they are, there will be no hope for us. many jurisdictions throughout the country protect their communities from the likes of Duval but not this one. Why do you think that Duval is here? What is needed is a total overhaul of our county government. As to Mr. Cameron, take a good look at what he did to St. John’s County and draw your own conclusions.