The Volusia County Council unanimously approved on Tuesday, Feb. 15, an amendment to the county's Interlocal Service Boundary Agreement with the city of Ormond Beach, which will facilitate the possible development of a new residential project.
The city and county entered into the original agreement in 2014, according to the council agenda item summary, with the goal to ensure utilities are delivered to an area that will eventually be annexed by the city. The new amendment involves 103 acres located north of U.S. 1 and east of Plantation Oaks Boulevard in unincorporated Volusia County, a development known as Ridge Haven. A maximum of 298 units could be built, if a development order is ultimately approved by the Ormond Beach City Commission. A site plan has not yet been submitted to the city.
The ISBA would prevent the developer from having to go before both the county and the city for separate development orders, as a portion of the development lies within the existing ISBA, and would result in the annexation of Ridge Haven into the city. This is the second amendment approved for the ISBA; the first involved the development of Plantation Oaks. The City Commission approved the amendment on second reading at its Dec. 7, 2021 meeting.
"The Interlocal Service Boundary Agreement has been a very useful tool in the U.S. 1 corridor, starting back in 2014," Ormond Beach Planning Director Steven Spraker said. "It's led to code enforcement, it's led to infrastructure — new water and sewer lines going through the U.S. 1 corridor — and it's led to partnerships with private property owners for landscaping. So there's been a lot of activity, a lot of positive activity I think, in the U.S. 1 corridor."
While the approval was unanimous, there was discourse on the council regarding concern about the development and whether this project could be altered to follow Low Impact Development principles. But in order to do that, the council would have had to turn down the ISBA amendment and renegotiate a new sub-agreement.
Volusia County Councilwoman Heather Post said she understood that, but pointed out that low impact development is achievable. She questioned at what point should the council stand firm on their view of what Volusia should be doing and what the future should look like.
"We do keep talking about low impact development, but you know, not a whole lot of movement," she said.
Volusia County Council Chair Jeff Brower said he had gone back and forth on how he would vote, but said that ultimately, he believed the county had gotten every concession they could for the Ridge Haven project.
"The public doesn't think we say no enough to how we develop," Brower said. "Not to 'If we're going to develop, if we're going to grow' — We are going to grow. We have to do it responsibly."