5 letters: Ormond Central, impact fee increases and opinions on upcoming election candidates

What are your neighbors talking about this week?

  • By
  • | 8:00 p.m. September 26, 2022
  • Ormond Beach Observer
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Ormond Central 

Dear Editor:

On Sept. 13, a neighborhood meeting was held to discuss plans for a climate-controlled indoor storage facility to be located at Ormond Central, on the corner of Old Kings Road and West Granada Boulevard.

As the landowner with Mr. Paul Holub, we’re excited about the prospect of having a low intensive use at Ormond Central. A number of years ago when we initially worked with our neighbors located in the Reflections Village neighborhood, we carefully took into consideration their concerns on how our project may impact their neighborhood. We took several measures to protect and insulate this community such as, no semitrucks down Old Kings, a wall along Old Kings, and an increased landscape buffer. 

Currently, we have the opportunity to develop this property with a low impact type use of a climate-controlled indoor storage facility. Traffic will be significantly less than the currently approved use, no semitrucks will be allowed, very little noise will be generated, and it will be a well maintained, clean environment.

One voiced concern at the neighborhood meeting was the height of the proposed climate-controlled indoor storage facility. At the next neighborhood meeting, we will address that concern and present a shade plan that shows that the natural light is not hindered by the proposed building, along with showing a decreased building height. Compared to the previous three-story structure that occupied the site for many years (Omega 40), we know that this building will be a great addition to the project. 

The planned use of a climate-controlled indoor storage facility is an excellent prospect that will be a compliment to the neighborhood with its appealing style and architectural flow. I hope that our neighbors located in Reflections Village will support this use as a positive low impact use for Granada Boulevard.

Lewis Heaster

Ormond Beach

On Increasing Impact Fees and Consultants for “Common Sense”

Dear Editor:

As reported in the Sept. 15 Observer, “Ormond Beach is looking to significantly increase its impact fees in the near future.” The mayor and commissioners discussed this issue at their public meeting on Sept. 7, during which they were given an overview of proposed impact fee increases as calculated by Raftelis Financial Consultants. At a cost of $99,000, their consultant study examined the city’s current impact fees for water, wastewater, parks and recreation, stormwater and local roads. It is noteworthy that the city last updated its municipal services impact fees in 1996.

The consultant’s proposal recommends an impact fee increase on residential home over five times the current fee, from $162.61 to $864.59. Multi-family units would increase from $162.61 to $548.32, and manufactured homes from $162.61 to $740.33. The impact fee for convenience stores would go from the current $1,355.44 to $26,948.94, and restaurants would see an impact fee increase from $881.26 to $5,593.44.

There’s an urban myth that growth pays for itself; that’s false, we as taxpayers pay for it. Developers have been getting virtually a free ride since 1996.

Here’s the bottom line. While Volusia County and its municipalities have spent the past five years publicly pointing to low impact fees as a major factor contributing to over-development and problematic growth, the city of Ormond Beach has continued to offer bargain, 25-year-old impact fees. Now our waffling mayor and commission have spent $99,000 on a consultant who told them that impact fees should be increased enormously. That’s quite a price for common sense.

The update process will stretch into 2023 to allow public input. Why did our city government drag its feet on the important impact fee issue?

One can only guess how developers will react to the proposed increases, and let’s hope the city can avoid a flurry of new development applications, trying to beat the deadline for the new rates, whatever they turn out to be.

We need common sense governance. We don’t need to “keep an open tab” for consultants.

With $99,000 for the impact fee consultant; with $57,000 for a consultant to advise on what to do with the abandoned River Bend Golf Course; with $340,000 for outside legal counsel to fight the property appraiser on the River Bend property tax bill; and with $440,000 for a transportation consultant (now in the fourth year of a five-year, $48,000 annual contract).

How many other consultants has the City Commission hired to provide common sense answers? Why not ask citizens for free consultations? Why not ask the people you’re elected to represent?

Rob Bridger

Ormond Beach

Editor's note: Rob Bridger is running for Ormond Beach mayor in the Nov. 8 elections. Additionally, per Florida statute, government agencies must have a "demonstrated-need study" to justify an impact fee increase greater than 50% of the current impact fee rate. 

Thank you, FAA

Dear Editor,

It is good news that the Federal Aviation Administration has halted (at least temporarily) the city’s push to expand the airport.

The city’s claims that the runway extension will make it safer for the current air traffic is simply untrue, as the 2015 Airport Master Plan update states “…the existing runway length is satisfactory for aircraft below 12,500-pound maximum gross takeoff weight." The only rationale for extending the runway is to bring in larger aircraft. Extending the runway might also increase air traffic by allowing for more take-offs and landings.

The Ormond Municipal Airport is embedded among many residential subdivisions. A larger airport among all these houses makes no sense. To boot, the city is considering a new development, Tattersall at Tymber Creek, within the 2.5-mile radius of the airport. This is a head-scratcher, considering the expansion plans.

Just google “living near an airport” and you will see report upon report of the health hazards of living near an airport — from noise pollution to toxic jet fumes to possible fuel dumps. Given this negative effect on the quality-of-life, why would neighboring Ormond residents want an expanded airport? Thank you to the FAA for withdrawing the drug from the power-hungry few, which are the only ones who would benefit, at the expense of most Ormond residents.

Mary Anne Andrew

Ormond beach

Sierra Club endorses Rob Bridger

Dear Editor:

As hundreds of thousands of people relocate to Florida annually, development is inevitable, so it’s critical to ensure it’s done responsibly. We must ensure that development does not destroy the natural beauty of Ormond Beach or create unbearable traffic congestion, and certainly that it does not poison our water supply and the environment in general. Unfortunately, Ormond Beach is currently on the path of irresponsible overdevelopment.

Rob Bridger, a military veteran and long-time resident of Ormond Beach, is determined to change that; he’s committed to guiding the city on a path of conservative and responsible development, a path of healthy growth.

The Sierra Club is pleased to endorse Mr. Bridger for mayor of Ormond Beach. We applaud his commitment to protecting the city’s health, beauty, and resources.

All too often we’ve been surprised by green spaces suddenly wiped out by clearcutting. We frequently see proposals of developments that would endanger sensitive wetlands and our water supply. It’s essential for the city’s comprehensive plan to have the long-term health of the city as a non-negotiable goal and that we do not make exceptions to that plan to accommodate developers without strong and logical justification. Exceptions, in the forms of exemptions or waivers or rezoning, should be just that, exceptions; the norm should never be to rubber-stamp them.

Mr. Bridger has not waited to be elected to fight for Ormond Beach. For example, he has been vocal in his opposition to the proposed runway extension at the Ormond Beach Municipal Airport. The runway extension was a bad idea — a costly, unnecessary project which would not only have resulted in more noise as larger and heavier aircraft began to use the airport, but would also have required rerouting a portion of Airport Road, endangering the Tomoka River ecosystem.

Mr. Bridger, as a private citizen, is already fighting for Ormond Beach.  He will continue that fight as mayor. 

Founded in 1892, the Sierra Club is the nation’s oldest and largest environmental organization.

We vetted candidates using an extensive questionnaire and panel interview process and found Mr. Bridger to be the best suited to serve as the public steward of our environment, fight overdevelopment, and control growth.

Steve Wonderly

Chair, Sierra Club Florida

Truth be told

Dear Editor:

I am a 51-year resident of Ormond Beach and every two years I watch our political campaigns generate misinformation, a twist of the truth, and in some cases, simply outright lies to generate attention to a candidate or get extra clicks on social media.

First, the Riverbend golf facility was not closed as a result of the City Commission. It was unfortunately a failing operation that did not have enough revenue to support the daily operations and reserves. In addition, the capital expenses to bring the course back to acceptable conditions when it was in operation I believe required an investment of more than $5 million — a huge challenge for anyone to accomplish if revenue does not support the investment. The company that operated the golf course closed the facility, not our City Commission.

Next, we have some candidates screaming from mountain tops as to why our City Commission let the only emergency medical facility beachside leave. Again, this was a corporate decision by AdventHealth after significant hurricane damage to the facility. I believe that every single commissioner and the mayor supports re-establishing an ER on the beachside. Regardless of where you live in Ormond Beach, we want convenient medical facilities for all residents especially an emergency room facility, yet some candidates falsely promote that our mayor and commissioners were the cause of this hospital closing and that is furthest from the truth.

Then, there is chatter about the Avalon project, which by the way our past City Commission tried to have that land annexed in the '90s so that Ormond Beach would have control over it. It should have been Ormond Beach that would enforce our regulations and also collect impact fees, real estate taxes, utility income, permit fees and so much more. The annexation went nowhere because there were three like-minded commissioners that voted against it, so now that land was annexed into Daytona Beach. Those commissioners did not have the vision and wisdom to support the annexation and control the development, instead they passed it over to Daytona Beach and left our city exposed to impacts that we now do not control.

Ironically, the lead commissioner that was most vocal against the annexation and caused our city to lose all control appears to still be the leader today of the CAVE group — Citizens Against Virtually Everything —  and those keyboard warriors flood social media with misinformation and ignore the facts. Let’s hope that such an enormous judgment error is never repeated in our great community that I am proud to call home.

Barbara Hayes

Ormond Beach



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