A 150-day moratorium on small box discount stores was approved 4-1 by the Palm Coast City Council on June 16, allowing the city of Palm Coast to review regulations and ensure that residents have sufficient input on any future stores, such as Dollar General, that may propose building in residential areas.
City Councilman Jack Howell voted against the moratorium, saying that companies he has talked to feel a moratorium is “heavy-handed.” He believes that a moratorium makes the city look unfriendly to businesses, regardless of whether the business is covered in the moratorium.
Howell claimed that two aerospace companies that could have brought 250 jobs, starting at $60,000 salaries, to Palm Coast, backed out once the idea of a moratorium started to be discussed earlier this year.
Councilman Nick Klufas said it was an “outlandish” claim, and he challenged Howell to put him in touch with the companies as proof. Howell declined to do so and accused Klufas of using the moratorium as a campaign ploy. Mayor Milissa Holland defended Klufas, saying his stance on the moratorium has been consistent for months.
The ultimate goal, Klufas said, is to help the residents. “We are going to allow more power and more input into this process, which is a good thing,” he said.
“This is not to do away with small box stores in Palm Coast,” Holland added. “That’s just not based in reality. It’s where it’s to be located appropriately.”
Councilman Bob Cuff suggested that the moratorium may not be necessary, considering so many months had passed since the vote on the first reading on March 17. But he did vote in favor of the moratorium on June 16.
After staff comes up with suggestions, the Planning and Land Development Regulation Board will discuss, at its next meeting July 15, adjustments to the regulations for small box discount stores. The City Council would then be presented with options on Aug. 4.