Ormond taxpayers paying for growth
On Jan. 18, the Ormond Beach City Commission approved a contract for preliminary engineering design for construction of a second wastewater treatment plant on the western boundary of our city. The city commission also approved significant water and sewer rate increases for both this year and next year, higher bills that will bring the greatest impact on low income homes.
Public Works Director Shawn Finley acknowledged that 50%-60% of the need for the second sewer plant is driven by the planned Avalon Park development in Daytona Beach, 3,250 homes and 200,000 square feet of commercial space west of I-95, bordering the south side of Granada Boulevard. Ormond Beach has the right but not the obligation to provide water and sewer service at wholesale prices to this massive development.
Previously, the city agreed to annex and provide water and sewer to Plantation Oaks, 1,500 homes to be built on The Loop. Just south, the city will ultimately annex 103 acres for 298 new housing units in RidgeHaven that will not apply principles of Low Impact Development. Townhomes are under construction at the U.S. 1 entrance to Ormond Lakes while just west future growth in Ormond Crossings will include hundreds of new homes. Meanwhile, the city continues to provide water and sewer service to Flagler County portions of Hunter’s Ridge, with more Flagler residential growth to come. Within the city, a south Florida developer plans to squeeze 318 homes onto the 18 holes of the now-closed Tomoka Oaks golf course.
With each annexation or new development, and during the recent city consideration of extending sewer service to miles of unincorporated county homes on the north peninsula, city commissioners told citizens we had adequate sewer capacity to provide the additional services. These assurances now seem contradicted by the recent approval of plans for a second sewer plant.
Why have our elected officials pursued such aggressive growth policies without a public mandate, public referendum, or campaign promises to do so? Why are we providing water and sewer service to enable the Avalon Park mega-development, after Daytona Beach annexed those acres in direct violation of the service boundary agreement that previously existed between our cities? If Ormond Beach taxpayers are responsible for most of the capital costs for a second sewer plant, are we not funding the problematic growth our citizens do not want or need?
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