The Flagler County Board of County Commissioners approved two requests for a development just south of Marineland on U.S. Highway A1A in a 5-0 vote on Monday, Oct. 17, much to the concern of the local residents.
Initially, the Scenic Cove development’s second agenda item held issues from several commissioners, mainly Commissioners Greg Hansen and Andy Dance. They and Commissioner Donald O’Brien spent two hours going over the language and design in the requests. Several residents showed up in protest, just like at the previous County Planning and Development Board meeting.
The items were eventually approved, with amendments limiting the number of docks and pathways going to the Intracoastal Waterway, adding a 5-foot setback from the drainage easement and requiring a tree survey done before anything is cleared.
“This isn't the final step,” Dance said to the residents who spoke during the meeting. “This is approving the PUD and the language that's in there. They're going to come back with a more detailed PUD design document.”
The land-use, first on the docket, changed from mixed-use low-density to low density single-family residential, according to documents from the Board of County Commissioners meeting. This item was the easy choice for the board and the residents who turned up — no one wanted any commercial in a residential area.
The concern lies with the rezoning for the planned unit development, or PUD. The PUD design outlines 50-foot lots with a 15-foot drainage easement in the back of each lot. Language in the PUD also allowed four lots near the Intracoastal to each create their own pathway through the preserved native vegetation tract to the water.
“We’re held hostage by the language in the PUD,” Dance said.
While the applicant is following through with a lot of requirements from Scenic A1A Pride — the preserved nature tract that holds live sand oak trees, replacing 40% of lost trees, beach access easement for residents — the residents in the area are concerned about other issues.
“If we have a storm now, or hurricanes ... It's a difficult time just to get there and get across the bridges as it is now.” — Robert Matthews, a Beachside Drive resident.
Traffic, water runoff, density issues, losing natural vegetation — these are the concerns of the locals. The added traffic on A1A, an important evacuation route for storms, is especially concerning in the wake of Hurricane Ian’s destruction of Fort Myers Beach.
“If we have a storm now, or hurricanes,” said Robert Matthews, a Beachside Drive resident, “It's a difficult time just to get there and get across the bridges as it is now.”
Clint Smith of Clint Smith Consulting, LLC, representing the applicant, said those questions are typically answer after a PUD zoning is approved.
“At this level right now, without knowing if we even have a project or not,” Smith said, “we're not going to spend the money.”