Last week, the Flagler Home Builders Association and the Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber signed proclamations strongly supporting The Gardens, a proposed new development in southeastern Flagler County. Our boards of directors have decided to raise our voices now to urge our county commissioners to vote on approval of this project at their meeting next week.
The residential community of 335 homes will be constructed by a distinguished developer that is well- established in our community with an impeccable track record for responsible and sophisticated development. Here are a few important numbers to note:
The 335 homes in The Gardens will account for: local income of $68 million, local business owners’ revenue of $20.2 million, local wages and salaries of $48 million, local taxes and fees of $12.5 million and an astonishing 1,136 jobs.
In spite of this contribution to our economy and real estate, the county commissioners are facing unfortunate backlash from a small faction of residents who have campaigned against the project, armed with a slew of misinformation and untruths, and we recognize this group and all groups like them, to be a threat to the construction industry.
The alarming NIMBY (not in my back yard) phenomenon demonstrated here is not only an assault on our way of life, but an assault on our local jobs. With the future of our community at stake, it is our responsibility to stop it before every proposed development in town faces failure and jobs are lost at a critical level.
So, while it could be easy to become distracted by this miniscule percentage of our population making noise at public meetings, our organizations agree this is the time to encourage the commissioners and the community at large to instead focus on just what real estate development can do to support and strengthen our local economy.
According to a study by the National Association of Home Builders, in 2019, construction in Flagler County generated the largest source of local income, local business owners’ income, and local wages and salaries. With a total local income of $91,144,100 last year alone, this is not an industry that should ever be in jeopardy in our community, but rather fostered and supported.
Construction is not just composed of home builders, but also tilers, roofers, plumbers, electricians, interior designers, cabinet installers, framers, insulation suppliers, concrete workers, landscapers, the list goes on. These jobs pay the wages of our residents, who then send their kids to our schools, support our local retailers and restaurants, and pay taxes. These jobs are no less important than any other job in the local economy.
We talk a lot in this area about economic development and bringing in new business, but what about caring for the business that is already here? We should care deeply about protecting all local jobs and helping our industries thrive with a healthy and strategic approach to growth and development.
It is predicted that Flagler County will gain 30,000 new residents by the year 2040 as part of an influx of new residents migrating to the state, seeking to reap the many benefits of Florida living. Contrary to what some might hope for, we cannot stop this from happening. Instead, from the point of view of our local business community, we believe it best to be prepared for these new residents in many ways, including the development of a wider selection of housing options.
With that view, we assure our commissioners that The Gardens will be an incredible addition to our residential housing selection, as well as our economy.
Ultimately, we feel it is critical at this juncture — in this moment of growth and possibility — that we define clearly what real estate development offers our community and strive to be more open to ideas and opportunities that will ultimately benefit the county as a whole. We cannot allow ourselves or our local officials to be influenced by a small crop of residents living (in homes constructed by our very own members) on their own piece of paradise, who would prefer to close the doors to Flagler and keep it all to themselves. This is the time for change.
Flagler Home Builders Association
Greg Blosé II, MBA, QAS
President & CEO
Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber of Commerce