Readers split after blue-house crackdown: Is code too loose or too tight?
Some pointed out the irony that blue tarps remain in the homeless camp.
| 9:45 a.m. April 16, 2019
Palm Coast Observer
I will make a donation to Building Homes for Heroes
I am responding to the Palm Coast Observer article pertaining to the strict city code for house colors. The city’s regulations for exterior house colors is, in my view, one of the many great things about living in Palm Coast. Prior to my retirement, I lived in a city in Washington state which had no such requirements, and a close friend of ours, who happens to be a free-spirit type of person, had her home repainted a color that she absolutely loved — a garishly neon bright purple color.
Needless to say, not one of her neighbors shared her joy, and we couldn’t dare spoil her love of the result when she asked us how we liked it. I do think it makes a lot of sense for a city to have some standards around the exterior appearance of homes, because a home is usually the singular most expensive asset a person or family will have. A home’s exterior appearance will have either a positive or negative financial impact on a neighborhood’s overall value and desirability factor.
Having said that, I really do feel bad for deputy Bryan Denker and what he has gone through. The article said his home was built for him and his family by the Building Homes for Heroes organization, and it was purely accidental that the color he chose for exterior paint was slightly too dark and in violation of the city code.
Despite his mistake, he is taking responsibility for his error and stated in the article that he declined the charitable organization’s offer to fix the problem at no cost to him. Deputy Denker also indicated the mayor offered to seek private donations try to help defray the cost of repainting his house, but he instead has asked for people to donate to Building Homes for Heroes.
Per his request, I will be making a contribution to this worthwhile charitable organization so they can continue the great work that they do for our veterans and first responders. I would like to thank Deputy Denker for bringing the selfless work that this charitable organization provides to the attention of all of us here in Palm Coast.
Opposition to blue house is silly and wrong
When I chose to move here, it was not because of color restrictions on houses. Had I wanted to live in a place where everything looked the same, I would have moved to a gated community with homeowners association rules.
Indeed, when I get bored with the architecture here, I drive to St. Augustine to get refreshed.
Bryan Denker has given a lot to our country. He continues to serve Flagler County as a deputy. He’s right. Why is there no such thing as a variance on house color? Why do neighbors get a vote on what colors are good or bad? Whose eyes are he offending with the blue color he likes? To me, this is silly and wrong — a complete waste of time, money, and energy.
Let the deputy keep his individuality
Bryan Denker, thank you for your military and continued service to the community; we're lucky to have you.
In every neighborhood in every town, there lives a person or persons who appoint themselves the resident pains in the posterior. Like you noted, they're usually too chicken to say anything directly to you; instead they cruise the neighborhood in their golf carts checking to see if your lawn meets their expectation, or that you lawn art doesn't differ from theirs. They will post a comment to the HOA Facebook page hoping for validation of their latest observation. You should be allowed to keep your color and a tiny bit of individuality even in this cookie cutter world being forced upon you. You earned it.
Why not enforce codes on the homeless camp?
My wife and I moved to Palm Coast from South Florida going on four years ago now with the hopes of retiring in small town environment far removed from the antics of big city rhetoric. I haven't involved myself in the everyday ongoings of this city, as that is really not who I am, but, after reading some of the stories that were posted in the recent Palm Coast Observer, I can no longer hold my tongue.
It seems that our mayor, Milissa Holland, is not as connected as she would have us believe, while she boasted, in her State of the City address, of calming tree canopies and miles of pathways and trails, she neglected to even mention our new campground on the property adjacent to the public library on Palm Coast Parkway, or the crowds being drawn to stand on the street corners near Belle Terre and Palm Coast Parkway asking for money, blocking traffic and leaving litter thrown about.
While I am certain life couldn't be finer on the east side of I-95, there is a whole other world lurking on the west side.
One instance mentioned in the paper regarded codes, to which the mayor had another brilliant statement: "They like that you can drive around, and you get a sense of uniformity." Really?
Do the same codes apply to the tents, tarps and general conditions in the homeless camp? Taxpayers and registered voters on this side of the fence don't feel that they do. Apparently the mayor does not drive much, at least on the west side of I-95.
In one story I read about the homeless situation it actually stated that there was a founder of the homeless camp. Really? These people are trespassing on private property.
If our mayor and City Council truly consider this as fact perhaps this guy should run for mayor; he certainly has what it takes to be a politician.
I know this sounds harsh and my intention is certainly not to bash the mayor or anyone else, but if we're going to enforce the codes and truly have uniformity, let's do it across the board.
In closing, I have one idea on the homeless camp: Move it to the east side of I-95. Rest assured, this issue would get resolved in the blink of an eye.
Editor’s Note: The library on Palm Coast Parkway is located not on private property but public property, owned by Flagler County. Also, the city did threaten to cite the county for litter on the library property.
City should enforce codes more strictly in some areas
We have lived in Palm Coast for 20 years. One of the reasons we moved here was because we found it to be pristine, low in crime, easy to get around and nontouristic. Unfortunately many of those qualities have disappeared.
We love the fact that they restrict the color of houses. I would not want a purple or bright orange house next door to us. It is not an opinion, it is good taste. I wish they would also make it mandatory that dirty houses be cleaned up or painted as well as a certain amount of landscape in the front of the house. If people don't like the rules, they should live elsewhere. It's that simple.
As far as the question of variance mentioned by Mr. Bryan Denker: Once you do a variance for one person you end up with a precedent, and eventually the rule is lost. Unlike his statement that the city is too strict, we feel it could be even more strict in many areas.
We love our city but feel it has grown too fast and has lost the appeal which drew many of us here. We don't feel out tax dollars are spent wisely when they are spending $2 million on splash pads which are extravagant frills when we need a decent place for our police officers to conduct their business. Too many parks to maintain and keep lights on for nothing. Mayor Holland has her priorities confused.
Welcome to Stepford, Deputy Denker
The city of Palm Coast assigns arbiters of taste, who create lists of approved colors that they find acceptable and fine anyone who they determine to be in violation. As in Orwell’s “1984,” your neighbors spy and turn you in to the “taste police” simply for choosing a color not to their liking. I thought the color you painted your house looked beautiful.
As a five-year resident of Palm Coast, I must tell Mayor Holland that I did not move here because I liked the restrictions or because I liked the uniformity. I moved here because homes were less expensive and taxes were low. My first impression of Palm Coast was that the landscaping was lovely but it looked like Stepford: homogenized and boring. I seem to remember the city’s own survey last year showed that 70% of the respondents disliked the overly restrictive codes, rules and regulations. Perhaps Mayor Holland needs to read the city’s survey results and stop assuming what other people are thinking.
Most of us moved here without knowing that living in Palm Coast was almost as restrictive as living in an HOA, but at least with an HOA they are up front about their rules and you actually get to read them before you move in. There is no room for self expression in Palm Coast, just boring uniformity. There is no shortage of “old biddies” who think they are the font of all knowledge when it comes to design and color and what everyone else should and should not do.
Editor’s Note: According to the 2017 Citizen Survey, 44% of respondents rated code enforcement as “excellent” or “good,” which is similar to the national benchmark.
More compassion for Deputy Denker
After reading Mr. Denker’s paint color dilemma and Ms. Holland's reply, I literally checked the Palm Coast Observer's published date that it wasn't the April Fool’s issue! After months of reading her personal divorce issues, one would think she would be compassionate to other folks’ issues, especially one who served our country. In a year with Florida sun, the color will be pale blue.
I asked our neighbors, and all went into gales of laughter about the "sense of uniformity."