Palm Coast’s Town Center is finally stirring with sustained development after a decade and a half’s slumber, with generous financial breaks and changes in regulations attracting developers.
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Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon on Tuesday choreographed a presentation focused on a $9 million city hall in Town Center he said can be built mostly with existing dollars–and without a referendum–as the Flagler Chamber of Commerce and the Palm Coast Observer worked on a letter-writing campaign to sway council members, who may vote on the plan next week.
City Manager Jim Landon is proposing a refurbished $6.8 million plan that would use general fund dollars to build a new city hall without raising taxes, even though $5.8 million of that–a repayment from the Town Center taxing district–could be used to lower property taxes or build other capital projects with broader public uses. Residents had roundly rejected a similar plan in 2010 and 2011, when the building would have cost $10 million.
Ajram and City Manager Jim Landon have battled over Ajram’s property on Bulldog Drive for several years, in what became a personal showdown. Rather than acquire the property, the city is now diverting Bulldog Drive, at a cost significantly greater than the difference it was unwilling to pay Ajram in negotiations.
Invoking eminent domain is Palm Coast’s latest plan of attack against an immigrant business owner who refuses to sell his parcels at the city’s price.
In 2004, Palm Coast declared 3,000 acres of scrub and pine forest “blighted” and in need of “redevelopment.” The Town Center “Community Redevelopment Agency” was born.