RidgeHaven future land use approved by Ormond Beach City Commission

RidgeHaven future land use approved by Ormond Beach City Commission

The Ormond Beach City Commission unanimously approved two amendments to its future land use map, which reduce the maximum density of RidgeHaven, a proposed residential project, by 529 units.

The land use changes, which were previously recommended for approval by the Planning Board, are a result of the annexation of the 103-acre parcel located north of US 1 and east of Plantation Oaks Boulevard. The land was annexed into the city of Ormond Beach, per a previously approved approval to the city’s Interlocal Service Boundary Agreement with Volusia County.

The land use amendments were split into two agenda items. The first addressed about 84 acres and changed its future land use from Volusia County’s “Urban Medium Intensity” to the city’s “Low Density Residential”. It decreased density by 422 units as well as decreased 1.1 million of square feet of non-residential building entitlement.

The second amendment involved the remaining 19 acres to the south of the RidgeHaven property. It changed the future land use from the city’s “Low Intensity Commercial” use to its “Medium Density Residential.” The maximum number of units will remain capped at 153, but RidgeHaven is not permitted to build more than 298 units all together in both parcels.

“Why wouldn’t we do this immediately without delay just to make sure we reduce [density] as much as humanely possible?” Mayor Bill Partington said.

No site plan has been submitted yet.

A handful of residents attended the commission meeting to express concern about overdevelopment in the area, especially in light of a request in the pipeline for more lots by the developer of nearby 1,577-unit-subdivision Plantation Oaks.

Attorney Glen Storch, of Storch Law Firm on behalf of the applicant, said the only promise made so far is reducing density. Residents’ concerns about trees and conservation areas will be addressed during the zoning and development order application process, he added.

“We’re going to certainly preserve large areas of trees,” Storch said. “We’re also going to preserve areas for conservation.”

He mentioned that low impact development standards also encourages clustering of homes, which is something they hope to implement.

At the end of the meeting, during the commission’s final comments, Commissioner Susan Persis said that she favored requiring low impact development standards for new projects, rather than simply encouraging them, as the city says it does now.

“I’m just concerned about what’s going to happen in the future,” Persis said. “I think we need to look at increasing the tree retention area requirement in environmentally-sensitive areas. We need to incorporate low impact development practices and increase buffers.”

Growth is going to happen, she added.

“But we need to be so careful with our beautiful areas in Ormond Beach,” she said.

Mayor speaks on River Bend Golf Club tax dispute

Since June 2018, the city of Ormond Beach and the Volusia County Property Appraiser have been battling a tax dispute in court over unpaid taxes dating back to 2013 involving the River Bend Golf Club, which closed in 2020.

River Bend was considered tax-exempt until 2013, and the county responsible believes the city should be for the owed taxes.

In response of a recent article in the Daytona Beach News-Journal that reported the city has spent over $330,000 in legal fees to battle what is now a $271,000 tax dispute, Mayor Bill Partington said at the commission meeting on Tuesday, April 19, mentioned that a memorandum recently issued by the Florida Department of Revenue argued taxpayer dollars cannot be used for a tax obligation incurred by a former lessee, based on state statutes and former judge rulings.

“A government taxing authority that’s always hungry for tax dollars has the audacity to ignore a circuit judge’s order,” Partington said.

Partington, an assistant public defender, said governments have to “obey the law, whether it’s issued by a judge or by the legislature.”

“I will protect our taxpayers,” he said. “I will stand between an aggressive taxing agency trying to get their hand further into your wallets and say, ‘No, this is not right. We will fight this and we will win at the end of the day.”

The city filed an order to remove the case from the trial docket on April 7.

Votran no longer requires masks

In light of a recent federal court decision regarding the federal mask mandate, Volusia County announced on Tuesday, April 19, that Votran will no longer require passengers to wear a face covering on buses and in transit facilities.

A county press release states that the change is in alignment with the Transportation Security Administration’s decision to lift the mask mandate for all public transportation and transportation hubs.

“We do encourage customers to continue using masks to their comfort level,” said Kelvin Miller, general manager of Votran. “Votran will continue to have masks available to the public while supplies last.”

Planning Board meeting canceled

The Planning Board originally scheduled for Thursday, May 12, has been canceled.

The city stated in an email that this was due to no applications being ready for the board to review.

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