Please help prevent injuries in Tomoka Oaks
Traffic is already a big public safety issue in Tomoka Oaks, the Trails, Escondido Condos, Tomoka Oakwood and Talaquah. If the Ormond Beach Planning Board, Ormond Beach commissioners and the Rubin/Barshay/Velie Development Group are not careful, they will be responsible for more traffic accidents and additional deaths and/or injuries with their new development in the old Tomoka Oaks Golf Course off of North Nova Road.
1) Rubin/Barshay/Velie and OB must conduct another traffic study with high season, non-COVID traffic counts since the earlier car count occurred during COVID. The Planning Board, commissioners and the general public are sensitive to traffic issues. The golf course's single exit connecting North and South St. Andrews Drive and running past Escondido Condos' only exit was never designed to support over 600 additional cars, utility, service, delivery and construction vehicles (about 2,700 daily trips).
2) At a Dec. 1 meeting, the developer indicated that FDOT reported the Nova signal would take about two years to install. Without a traffic light, all the construction vehicles on Tomoka Oaks Boulevard, plus new electrical, sewage, water lines installed will paralyze Tomoka Oaks Boulevard. Ormond Beach must ask for a Tomoka Oaks Boulevard road solution to be completed before construction starts in the Rubin development.
3) Also at the Dec. 1meeting, the developers indicated they would join their new development road, St. Andrews Drive and Tomoka Oaks Boulevard in a simple cross intersection with stop signs. This is unacceptable due to inadequate traffic handling problems and create a dangerous intersection.
4) Much of current traffic and new construction traffic will reroute through The Trails on Iroquois and Rio Pinar, causing a dangerous situation on narrow, sight-line constrained roads that have no sidewalks.
5) Even before this planned development, pedestrians have been killed/injured on old Tomoka Oaks and The Trails roads. These low volume roads were designed with beautiful, curving, landscaped, narrow single lanes that have no sidewalks. On a typical day now there are bicyclists, baby carriages, skate boarders, scooters, golf carts, dog walkers and parked cars/trucks sharing the Tomoka Oaks and Trails roads with drivers weaving around the obstructions, many times above the 25 mph speed limit.
Ormond Beach Planning Board and City Commissioners: Please plan this new development correctly now and limit the number of houses so that the Rubin/Barshay/Velie development does not injure and/or kill additional citizens.
Say no to Pioneer Trail interchange
I'd like to express my opposition to the pending Pioneer Trail Interchange planned for I-95. The reasons I have for opposing this exchange include damage to an already threatened Spruce Creek, use of ARPA funds for a portion of the project and the priority being placed on this project.
First, I think it is clear to anyone who lives in Volusia County that we are fighting an enormous battle to recover and save precious water sources in our region. To intrude on such an environmentally-sensitive area such as Spruce Creek for a non-essential project like a highway interchange does nothing but exacerbate an already tenuous situation.
Secondly, the use of ARPA funds to finance this project appears to the average taxpayer as a complete violation of the public trust. From the National Association of Counties website, ARPA funds are "intended to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including the public health and economic impacts." I fail to see how building a highway interchange that is necessary only in the eyes of the developers and associated industries meets this criteria.
Finally, there is an enormous number of other highway projects that would be more of a priority than this exchange if federal money is, indeed, to be spent. Renovating the LPGA exchange that already exists appears to be a far greater need than a new exchange at Pioneer Trail; modernizing the U.S. 1 interchange that has not been redesigned since it was built more than 50 years ago would also be a higher priority; and, finally, moving the money elsewhere on the I-95 corridor would have far more beneficial impact than this new exchange. It is incredible to believe that the major north-south interstate on the east coast of this country is still a four-lane highway through two complete states, North and South Carolina, no better than when it was built 60 years ago.
It is apparent to anyone familiar with political influences of Volusia County and the state that this interchange is being proposed for one reason and one reason only: to serve the interests of developers who are large donors to political campaigns of this state and who have a financial interests in further expansion of developments surrounding the proposed exchange. Are we to sacrifice every inch of our state to these forces or will someone have the courage to stand up and say enough is enough?
Editor's note: This letter was originally sent as an email sent to Pamela Blankenship of the River To Sea Transportation Planning Organization.
Heads up, Tomoka Oaks
The mandatory developer's neighborhood meeting for the Tomoka Reserve Planned Residential Development will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Temple Beth-El, located at 579 N. Nova Road. Presentations will be made at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tomoka Oaks homeowners will be told how the proposed site plan will attempt to squeeze 300 housing units on the former 18-hole golf course, explaining why the new development will not cause depreciation of property values, traffic issues, and loss of quality of life.
This neighborhood meeting on Feb. 8 precedes the city's future public hearings (dates to be determined) by the Planning Board and the City Commission to approve or deny the project. The city's public meetings will take place in the City Hall commissions chamber, where our elected officials will hear public testimony and make the final decision.
The Government Affairs Committee of the Ormond Beach Chamber of Commerce would like to welcome Congressman Michael Waltz and his staff to Ormond Beach. His office is on the second floor in City Hall and Mr. Ernie Audino is Congressman Waltz’s District Director. Sue Bower is the manager of constituent services/academy coordinator and Brandi Anderson is the Gold Star Family Fellow.
We are pleased to know that the businesses and residents of Ormond Beach have the office of the Congressman who represents us here in our community. We welcome you.
Editor's note: Peggy Farmer is a member of the chamber's Government Affairs Committee.