A proposal to develop a small, planned RV park on Colbert Lane that the project’s attorney compared to “12 school buses on five and a half acres of land,” caused a small uprising from neighbors who don’t want to see that sort of development in their area. The proposal was before the Flagler County Commission Monday evening, where opponents filled the commission chambers.
It failed. The commission voted 5-0 to deny it.
The proposal was to be located on 5.63 acres about 1,300 feet north of Lakeview Drive, on the east side of Colbert, across from Graham Swamp and south from Palm Coast Plantation. But numerous issues arose aside from popular opposition, which is not supposed to play a role in the county commission’s decision on such land-use matters: the only things the commission may consider are whether the proposal complies with local land-use rules and the county’s comprehensive plan, its long-term blueprint for development in the county. In County Attorney Al Hadeed’s words, “The popularity or unpopularity of a land use proposal has nothing to do with the quasi judicial hearing, doesn’t matter if it’s popular or not. It’s whether it’s legal or not.”
But county commissioners are not automatons, and they don’t call such proceedings a “public hearing” to entirely ignore the public, especially when the public speaks from Palm Coast Plantation and Grand Haven, two of the most voter-heavy precincts in the county. So the proposal was facing some steep obstacles, legally justified or not.
But the legally justified reasons to turn down the proposal were numerous enough.
To begin with, the proposed RV park, dubbed “an upscale RV park in the woods,” wasn’t going to be just an RV park. Richard G. Gurell, the owner of the parcel and currently a Palm Coast resident, wanted to build his retirement home there and oversee the property from that home. Opponents say the rezoning to allow residential development would be contrary to the county’s rules on two grounds: first, the parcel was assigned a commercial zoning designation in 2004 for a reason, they say—eventually to enable shops to residents in the area. Second, the rules don’t allow for any residential density on the parcel. The RV park may be OK, but not the house. But Gurell intended to build his house first.
There was the issue of septic tanks. Gurell didn’t want to hook up the property to Palm Coast water for fear that he’d be forced to annex, as state law allows municipalities to do with properties that use municipal sewer and water. County commissioner Nate McLaughlin pointed out that a 2007 agreement is supposed to protect county residents against such forced annexation. But as Palm Coast Plantation found out in 2010, Palm Coast will still do battle, and Palm Coast Plantation, its namesake aside, had to take the city to court to use city water without being annexed. Palm Coast Plantation won, but it took a while. Less wealthy property owners may not be ready to do battle likewise.
The problem for Gurell is that even though he got clearance from the county health department to be on septic systems, commissioners were not thrilled by the idea, nor were residents of Palm Coast Plantation and Grand Haven, who say the fewer septic systems, the better. “I can’t get past that,” Commissioner Don O’Brien said. “I have a real problem with it being where there’s water and sewer lines close enough.”
And there was the matter of compatibility with existing land use. Commissioners saw none.
Tom Conner, the attorney for the project, portrayed himself perplexed by the opposition. He was seeking to have less development on the property, not more. His client, he said, “can’t imagine” why neighbors would want “a commercial development instead of low impact high wend camp park. Not a trailer park, a camp park.” He kept showing pictures of strip malls and concrete-heavy developments, puncturing his pictures with the question: “Is this what we want for Colbert lane?” He contrasted the concrete with images of what would be a lush, tree-lined RV park, with RVs the size of school buses. McLaughlin would later somewhat sarcastically congratulate him on his clever marketing, but he didn’t bite.
Charlie Faulkner, the development consultant working with Conner and Gurell, made his own pitch in favor of RVs, trying to break the comparison with “trailer parks” and stick to the notion of upscale transient travelers. “To have them be able to come and stay near by, near your family, is a positive, not a negative, for our community,” Faulkner said, and it’s a less intense development than anything that could be built there, with less asphalt, less water usage, less traffic and lesser other impacts.
But the residents of the two nearby developments who spoke wouldn’t let go of the comparison of the RV park to a trailer park, nor of their fears that septic tanks would leach pollution into the ground, nor of worries about traffic and claims of incompatibility.
The applicant was requesting a rezoning: from neighborhood commercial, where shops and strip malls could be built, to Planned Unit Development, a regulated development that could accommodate a mix of residences, businesses and recreation. One commissioner wondered why Gurell hadn’t just asked for a residential designation. Asking for a Planned Unit Development may have hinted at future uses that could have nothing to do with an RV park—if not Gurell’s own, then a future owner. That, too, was something commissioners worried about.
Commission Chairman Greg Hansen toward the end of the public participation portion of the hearing misapplied Hadeed’s statement about commissioners’ responsibility to stick to the facts as he curtly judged one woman’s presentation “inappropriate,” because she had asked the commission not to take away her dream set-up in Plantation bay with an RV park nearby. While commissioners are required to stick to legal issues in their decisions on land-use matters, they’re not to proscribe or prescribe what members of the public may or may not say during the public participation portion, beyond the reasonable parameters of an agenda item, let alone judge mere comments–even about one’s dream property–as “inappropriate.” (Hansen had also overstepped his bounds when he told members of the public not to comment merely to say they liked or didn’t like the proposal.)
But that misstep aside (which the county attorney did not correct), commissioners then moved to explain their own votes–only McLaughlin and O’Brien did–and voted 5-0 to deny the application for rezoning.
Wishful thinking says
We don’t need RV or mobile homes in Flagler County for many reasons
Mobile Homes on rented land pay only a vehicle tag fee – about $100 a year. Landowners pay about 1/5 the amount we homeowners pay for the same services
Do we want to be another sanctuary area or do we want real homes and real jobs.
If only all Police and Politicians were Automatons this world would be a great place
Will Camp says
What I find funny is some of those RV’s are worth more than the houses in that crappy faux rich development. If it was to be a high end RV park, most of those folks have a lot more money than those who raged against the proposal. Sad how you “Trumpers” Talk freedom and Murica, but when it comes time to put up or shut up, you all act like Nazis trying to keep the dirty Jew from your place of imagined happiness.
‘Tis a Privilege to Live in Central Florida
Preservers Applaud Palm Coast
By Peggy Poor
Dramatically changing the damaged image of usually damned developers, ITT Levitt Corp., now building Palm Coast, the country’s largest housing project in Flagler County, is winning kudos instead of kicks from conservationists.
More than that, with long-range environmental planning and careful study by staff
ecologists, the mammoth venture may not only set an example for future would be despoilers but come up with some urgently sought answers to pollution problems.
——————>For Example, ITT Levitt scientists are investigating why St. Johns and Flagler County shellfish harvests had to be prohibited because of contaminated waters. The hope s to reverse conditions that required the ban, if possible.
Preliminary findings indicate sewage dumped principal culprit, according to Dr. Stanley Dea, the firm’s chief ecologist.
Therefore, in order not to aggravate the situation, ITT Levitt is making a detailed engineering analysis of sewage disposal possibilities to come up with designs new for Florida, and cheaper, Dr. Dea said.
Because Florida’s flat terrain and high ground water level have made gravity systems costly, developers have tended to use septic tanks. But septic systems have become a serious factor in the pollution picture.
America’s biggest conglomerate, therefore, is exploring feasibility of pressure and vacuum systems which may be tried for the first time in the Florida venture.<——————————–
Meanwhile, in the first section now under construction, 20,000 acres of the total of 100,000, sewage will get secondary treatment, prior to storage in a polishing lagoon, providing tertiary treatment. Effluent thus purified but still nutrient rich will be used to irrigate an 18 Hole golf course.
This recycling, by an adaptation of nature's own system, is a relatively new concept in sewage disposal developed at Pennsylvania State University and now in use in several California communities and in one near Tallahassee.
Much of the pollution and "murder of streams, and lakes, such as Apopka, is the result of eutrophication or over-enrichment by nutrients, which are not removed by treatment plants.
As most plants discharge into some body of water, pollution results. If , however, the treated effluent is sprayed on vegetation, as was demonstrated at Penn State and is planned for Palm Coast, it irrigates and fertilizes crops and even raises the ground water table. The vegetation absorbs the nutrients that would eventually destroy streams, lakes, and estuaries.
Palm Coast ecologists plan to plant Florida vegetation and particularly high absorption qualities, such as willows.
Engineers have devised a mechanical apparatus which can fit in a residential size and style building, so the neighborhood view will not be spoiled by an unsightly treatment plant. A chemical has been developed that eradicates the odor, according to Dick Beidl, Palm Coast public affairs officer.
The University of Florida's famed coastal engineering department, whose $1 million facilities are now considered unexcelled in the United States, is advising how best to lay out the system of canals for waterfront property so that tidal action will keep them flushed clean, Beidl said.
A brief flurry of local fears that the big dredge churning inland from the Intracoastal Waterway channel to scoop out a yacht basin would increase turbidity in the estuaries has been set at rest.
Although the dredge is operating in a man made cut not subject to provisions of the Randall Act, ITT Levitt will still 'plug' the opening into the Intracoastal with a dike until its earth stirring digging is completed and settled.
"It's the cleanest operation I've seen. No problems", said Larry Shanks, of the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission at Vero Beach, who inspected the site last week.
The Operation is pumping the material removed by a 1 1/4 mile pipe line that crosses the waterway and runs under highway A1A.
With a 1100 horsepower booster pump the excavated sand is being hoisted up and down over this uneven course to fill a depression just behind the sand dunes which rim the ocean shore.
The hole will be filled to a height of about 20 feet above sea-level about even with the dunes; and this will be the site of a motel, probably to be operated by Sheraton, another ITT subsidiary.
Shands had nothing but praise also for this beachfront plan which contemplates leaving the natural dunes as a stabilizer against erosion.
Palm Coast experts are also studying the whys and wherefores of erosion and exploring preventative treatment, according to Dea.
Palm Coast has also handed its brain trust the choking problem of weed eradication, he said.
At the display site, where six model homes and four story office building with viewing tower are under construction, bulldozers wove an intricate path around trees marked for salvation instead of knocking everything down.
This more costly method has won approval of forestry officials, and Palm Coast expects it to pay off in long-run appeal of attractive landscaping to prospective purchasers.
In the master land use plan, thousands of acres will be preserved in the natural state, Dea said.
Additionally, there will be parks and artificial ribbon lakes, Studies are being made to ascertain optimum factors for maintaining maximum sport fish populations in these.
Palm Coast's planning advantage, Beidl said, lies in having control of the entire 100,000 acres. To get this vast land area in focus, it can be compared with the area of all five boroughs of Greater New York City, for example, which cover only about half that territory, or with the city of Detroit which spreads over about 88,000 acres.
Projection is for an ultimate population here of only about 750,000 as compared with New York's 11.5 million and Detroit's four million.
An area comparison closer to home is with the Disney's 27,000 acres.
The assure adherence to this careful planning. Dr. Dea said is a model zoning and building code is being formulates, which will not merely meet, but 'exceed' in stringency all federal state, and local regulations, including those necessary to control air, water, solid waste, radiation, noise, and vibration pollution.
This will cover not just major regulations affecting industries which might be attracted to the area, but also folksy questions such as when and even whether residences may have trash incinerators in their back yards.
Even one possible future doubt raised apparently will be resolved in favor of conservation, according to Harold 'Burrows, and engineer on the project.
Question arose at a recent country commissioners meeting about a bulkhead line
for Longs Creek, which branching off the Matanzas River, meanders through the tract a few miles north of the first 'Five Year Plan' development now under construction.
some 3,000 to 9,000 on the creek, are submerged public lands under control of the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund.
Burrows conceded that prior to recent legislative action, this would have been 'prime development property'.But under present law 'we will sit down with the Department of Natural Resources and do what they tell us we can."
Palm Coast ITT LEVITT DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
There really should be Official State of Florida Historic MARKERS for this including , with what is going on in Austin, Texas for our Community Protectors , and also James Gardner, Third I.T.T. Community Development Corporation President, etc.
James Gardner Sr. was with I.T.T. Community Development Corporation from 1978 until late 1999 / early 2000's and at the Helm for the Community Development for Palm Coast.
We hope this advertising promotion gives the newer Palm Coasters a '…sense of place…' and a ' …sense of identity…' for the Palm Coast Project.
What was he thinking! Did he really think that people in Flagler county are THAT stupid? Good call by the commission regardless. His proposal was NOT legal period. If he had presented a proposal without having HIS residential house on the property AND chose to be connected to water, sewer, etc. chances are the commission would have at least passed the first stage of his proposal based on it not being illegal. Rightfully shot down regardless of the opinions of the local residents.
Wishful thinking says
JUST WAIT .
A DEVELOPER HAS APPLIED TO TAKE 202 ACRES OF PRECIOUS LAND ADJACENT TO EAGLE LAKES PRICEY SINGLE FAMILY HOME COMMUNITY AND ROLL IN 820 MOBILE HOMES – WHICH MEANS OVER 1,900 NEW ‘RESIDENT’ WHO PAY NOT A DIME IN PROPERTY TAX.
FLAGLER COUNTY WILL LOSE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS PER YEAR SINCE LANDOWNER PAYS ABOUT 1/5 OF WHAT WE PAY BUT THE RENTERS – MOBILE HOME OWNERS GET ALL THE SERVICE WE PAY FULL PRICE FOR !
PRECIOUS LAND ABUTTING I-95 COULD BE WASTED IF THE COUNTY GRANTS THE LOWEST POSSIBLE USE INSTEAD OF THE HIGHEST USE!
LETS HOPE THAT THE COUNTY GIVES THE SAME IMPORTANCE TO THE REQUESTED 820 MOBILE HOMES TO THE LACK OF CONSISTENCY AND LACK OF COMPATIBILITY WITH THE SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES OF EAGLE LAKES, FAIRCHILD OAKS, SUGARMILL PLANTATION , ACROSS THE ROAD FROM ‘THE RESERVE’ AND PLANTATION BAY -ALL SUPOPORTING FLAGLER COUNTY. WE VOTERS AND TAXPAYERS WILL BE IN FULL FORCE TO PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT FROM A DEVELOPER WHO IS OPENLY TRYING TO VIOLATE A PUD WHICH PROHIBITS MOBILE HOMES AS WELL AS TO NEGATIVELY IMPACT OUR LIVES.
**** TUNE IN TO HEAR ALL ABOUT THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF MOBILE HOMES ADJACENT TO SINGLE FAMILY SATURDAY MARCH 24TH, 930am WNZF RADIO, 106.3 FM WHEN THE FORMER PLANNING DIRECTOR FOR FLAGLER COUNTY AND OTHER EXPERTS DISCLOSE THAT MOBILE HOME PARKS ARE LONG TERM PARKING LOTS WHICH ARE CASH COWS TO THE LANDOWNERS AND NOBODY ELSE. DON’T BELIEVE THIS ‘SENIOR CITIZEN ‘ OR GOLF COURSE ‘ B.S. THE DEVELOPER IS TRYING TO PULL OVER ON US! ANYONE WHO SAYS 820 MOBILE HOMES ON TOP OF OUR HOMES IS POSITIVE GROWTH FOR FLAGLER COUNTY SHOULD RETIRE FROM PUBLIC SERVICE OR BE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE
Born and Raised Here says
Sooner or later all that land along Colbert Lane will be developed it’s all part of the Counties CLUP ( Comprehensive Land Use Project} So residences get use to it. Sooner or later it will all be develope for commercial use.
@ Will Camp, hate much?
Percy's mother says
Does it have to turn into a political attack? I don’t recall any mention of Trump, Nazi’s or “dirty Jew” (your term) in this article.
Legal arguments are one or a combination of ETHOS, PATHOS,LOGOS. This means that stats and facts are not necessarily presented if this is an emotional argument. If you haven’t personally observed this in a courtroom, then watch the TV episodes of Law and Order.
How about the new trailer park/mod-homes plans on Old kings south next to Eagle Lakes and across from Sugar Mill,West Polo club and halifax plantation?Here that sound that’s property values going down the drain.
Keep Flagler Beautiful says
If you think this is bad, imagine what the impact would be on some of Flagler’s most beautiful communities (Sugar Mill Plantation, Fairchild Oaks) and neighboring Halifax Plantation (right across the Volusia County line), if the existing zoning is changed to allow a proposed 825-unit mobile home park to be built right across the road. as Phase 2 of Eagle Lakes. What a blight on the landscape, which is currently unspoiled land with native vegetation, zoned for regular houses and specifically forbidding mobile homes. As usual, it’s carpetbagger venture capitalists coming into Florida and looking for large pieces of land they can desecrate for a quick killing, then move on to the next victim. We have smart commissioners serving Flagler. They’ll put two and two together. Mobile homes are trailers. Its residents pay NO property tax, but they use all county services. Existing taxpayers in the area would not only see their property values plummet, but they’d also have to pay higher taxes to make up for the new horde of non-payers. And when a hurricane or other big storm sweeps through, by law trailer residents are supposed to be the first to be evacuated. Good luck with getting that operation off the ground and onto Old Kings Road. The developers would only have to pay tax on the net revenue they make from trailer park rentals. You can bet your last dollar they’ll have their army of CPAs in place to make sure their tax is crunched down to ZERO so our county gets NOTHING. It’s a horrible, sucker deal for Flagler County and its taxpayers — but a beautiful deal for get-rich-quick land rapists. There’s a gargantuan mobile home park already approved for a very commercial area of Ormond Beach. It will tip the number of Florida mobile home park spaces to over one million. We don’t need any more such spaces in our region, and certainly not across the road from some of the most expensive homes in Flagler County.
This area Is very beautiful. Let’s protect it.
I don’t blame Grand Haven residence 4 voting against the RV Park it could turn into a big parking lot for bikers during Bike Week and all the Riff Raff they bring with them. There will probably be bars down that street if they decide to build a trailer park of any kind. And don’t forget the noise that motorcycles bring! Let’s not turn this city into another Daytona!
Brian Smith says
I am going to laugh my ass off when they build a dollar general in this location. Expect drug dealer to be selling crack out in the parking lot. Careful what you reject, you may get something worse.
mopar wizard says
i am a resident of.eagle lakes. my wife and i worked our whole lives to move out of the ****hole in south florida.we chose this location for the open spaces east of I-95-the wildlife and the beautiful beaches-low taxes low insurance rates-not a penny to park- free parks-free boat ramps-we feel like we moved to heaven- if county government keeps allowing trailer parks you will wind up like miami,fort lauderdale ,tampa or orlando-a concrete and asphalt jungle.not to mention the crime,drugs and other problems that come with a large city.there is not one benefit to this plan of low income housing-sounds like some entity (venture 8) is trying to build a FEMA camp. the voters of flagler county are watching. county commissioners-all you have to do is DO THE RIGHT THING-vote NO to the criminals of venture 8…….