Landon: Land deal could stop Sawgrass

The yellow parcels represent areas that could be developed in the L-section. COURTESY RENDERING
The yellow parcels represent areas that could be developed in the L-section. COURTESY RENDERING
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Approximately 200 neighbors met with Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon Nov. 3, to get the latest update.

Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon presented several options, at a Nov. 3 meeting, that would result in the proposed Sawgrass Villas project not being erected in the middle of the L-section, in Palm Coast.

In one scenario, the city would become the owner of the land in Matanzas Woods. The plan is complicated, Landon said, and it’s definitely not a done deal.

Putnam State Bank owns the land between Lee and Leidel drives, where the 50-unit, multifamily complex would be built.

The only branch Putnam State Bank has in Flagler County is in Bunnell, and Landon said the bank wants a branch in Palm Coast.

And so, one plan is to sell the corner lot on Bulldog Drive to a developer who could then sell it to Putnam State Bank. The City Council, acting as the Community Redevelopment Area Board, bought that particular parcel along Bulldog Drive for about $1.2 million in 2010. The bank’s asking price for the land in the L-section is about $450,000.

Therefore, Landon stressed, this would not be an even land swap, but the city could use a portion of the money to purchase the land in the L-section and convert it to a public space.

Linda Spilling-Markey, who has led a group of Matanzas Woods residents to oppose the project, said the residents of the neighborhood are protecting their investment and quality of life. Though Sawgrass Villas isn’t the only possible multifamily housing project that could be built in the neighborhood, Spilling-Markey said “it was the dynamite that blew up the problem.”

She added, “The neighborhood will continue to be active in the process.”

When asked the chances of this deal becoming a reality, Landon said: “I think there’s a good chance that we could get this accomplished ... There are still many challenges, and it’s going to be a complicated transaction.”

If this deal does happen, Landon said the city would work with the residents to determine how they want the L-section land to be used.

“First option would be to do nothing with (the land),” Landon said. “If the neighbors have other ideas, we’d be happy to discuss those other possibilities.”

Landon also said the Nov. 3 neighborhood meeting was a product of City Councilmen Holsey Moorman and Frank Meeker reaching out. The L-section used to be in Moorman’s district, but now is part of Meeker’s, following the redistricting done earlier this year.

The L-section group battling the project will continue to meet monthly, with the next meeting being 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28, at the Flagler County Public Library.


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