A public hearing by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Acquisition and Restoration Council concerning a 1,200-acre property in Ormond Beach was postponed due to Hurricane Idalia.
The hearing for the Tomoka/Ford Marsh property, according to a county press release, was being planned to gather community input on whether or not the land should be considered for purchase by the Florida Forever land acquisition program.
The hearing was going to be held on Tuesday, Aug. 29, in the County Council Chambers of the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Center in DeLand; a new date and time will be announced in the future.
In April 2022, the Volusia County Council had approved the Tomoka/Ford Marsh property as a priority for acquisition after it was identified as such by the Volusia Forever program due to its high-functioning coastal and estuarine wetlands, the press release states. But, the county needs a funding source to move forward, as detailed in the application to Florida Forever, the state’s conservation and recreation lands acquisition program.
“After the property is added to the Florida Forever list, then the Volusia County Forever program to add their support to buying of this property,” the application states.
The Tomoka/Ford Marsh property can only be accessed by water or through Bulow Creek State Park.
It also lies within the Ormond Beach Scenic Loop and Trail, a national and state scenic byway.
“The Ford Marsh parcels are a beautiful intact portion of uplands and wetlands surrounded by State of Florida owned land,” the application to Florida Forever states. “... Historically, the Ford Marshes were mainly saltmarsh but due to mosquito control efforts in the 1950’s, some of the marsh was lost.”
If purchased, the lands are proposed to be managed as part of Bulow Creek State Park and the process to restore the marshes would begin.
Since it was created in 2001, Florida Forever has bought more than 897,785 acres of land, using $3.3 billion dedicated to land acquisition, the county press release states.
City creates fuel farm survey
Hoping to convince the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to reopen its comment period for the permit it issued Belvedere Terminals, the city of Ormond Beach opened a survey on Monday, Aug. 28, asking residents within a specified radius of the proposed fuel farm if they have ever, or currently receive the Hometown News.
This is because Belvedere advertised its pursuit of an FDEP air construction permit in the local weekly newspaper.
“As we explore legal measures against the proposed fuel farm coming to our city, this data could prove to be crucial,” the city wrote on its Facebook page.
To see if you qualify to take the survey, visit bit.ly/3PeGEXQ.
Officer saves choking student
Last week, Ormond Beach Middle School’s new school resource officer, Marc Pedevillano, saved a sixth grader who was choking.
Pedevillano, who started at the Ormond Beach Police Department in 2021, was alerted to the incident and successfully performed abdominal thrusts, according to the city manager’s weekly update. The student was seen by the school nurse and there were no further issues.