2 letters: The Trails residents stand with Tomoka Oaks

Also, resident opposed to development of submerged property by Cassen Park writes that 'building a commercial structure in the river in front of the park is a bad idea.'

  • By
  • | 11:00 a.m. October 16, 2023
  • Ormond Beach Observer
  • Opinion
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Tomoka Oaks, you have allies

Dear Editor:

In the past two-and-a-half years, citizens have been fighting the proposed development of 272 homes in the middle of Tomoka Oaks.

This ill-conceived development is not a done deal and we are happy to say that there "is" something you can do to stop it and we have been doing it. We are doing lots of research, taking measures to save the wildlife, showing up at the meetings and writing letters to our commissioners and Mayor Partington. 

The Trails — where I live — Talaquah, Escondido and Tomoka Oakwood North Condos would also be affected and we have become allies with our neighbors in Tomoka Oaks.

This proposed development will generate 2,774 car trips daily coming from the middle of Tomoka Oaks on its 147-acre golf course property. Many of those trips will be coming right through The Trails development down Iroquois Trail and Rio Pinar Trail to our Main Trail, and ultimately to Nova Road or Granada Boulevard. Yes, this is in addition to the cars that already come down our roads from Tomoka Oaks.

We have no sidewalks on Iroquois Trail or Rio Pinar Trail for walkers or bikers trying to steer clear of this added traffic. Our peaceful winding roads will no longer be peaceful. Our lifestyle and quality of life as we enjoy it today will be forever changed.

I believe our neighbors in Tomoka Oaks bought their homes with the expectation that their 147-acre golf course would remain a golf course, or at the very least, a recreational green space. Certainly, that is how their homes were sold to them, with the written, spoken and implied belief that they were buying into a golf course community.

Court cases have been won in favor of residents fighting development on their golf courses such as Shalimar v. D.O.C and Heatherwood Holdings v. Heatherwood.  

No logical benefits have been presented to the residents that will come from stuffing 272 homes inside of the middle of Tomoka Oaks. Developers' plans do not pass the muster of our city land codes. We have faith that the developers will willingly sell the land and let us live our lives in peace.

Our next meeting is before the commissioners and our mayor on Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. at Calvary Christian Center, at 1687 W. Granada Blvd. We have made great strides, you just need to show up! Wear your red "Save Tomoka Oaks" T-shirts!

“If you don’t fight for what you want, don’t cry for what you lost.”

Darla Widnall

Ormond Beach

No To River Cruise at Cassen Park

Dear Editor:

This is the same song, different verse heard several years ago. It is heartening to see the city does not support this. They do seem to leave the door open by mentioning amending city policy.

Encouraging the developer to use Ormond MainStreet to find a way to put something there is another red flag. Ormond MainStreet is 100% in favor of developing commercial venues at Cassen Park, and have been pushing it for years.

The floating restaurant cruise would use the park for every aspect of the business. Access for construction, maintenance, utilities, sewer, water, deliveries, and parking, to name a few of them. The dinner cruise vessel in Daytona seats 130, so we could expect to have zero public parking at the park if this were allowed. The public would never get the park back, and boat launching would end.

The vague claim the property is impacted by boat anchorage, dredging and installation of a dock is puzzling. The private parcel is under a shallow water cove ranging from inches to a couple feet in depth. That area, and Cassen Park, are highly susceptible to large waves and storm surge.

Two years ago, two large derelict boats were towed and anchored there, and at every low tide they were aground and on their side. One was stripped, some of the debris left in the park, then towed to the Tomoka Basin and dumped. It’s still there. The city is not responsible for that, nor any vessel anchoring on that parcel.

The city bears no responsibility for who uses a boat in that cove. It is public, state waters, and has always been a place where folks fish, canoe, and cast net bait. Building a commercial structure in the river in front of the park is a bad idea. Every aspect of a business located on that river bottom would require continuous, permanent access and use of Cassen Park. It would require a massive amount of dredging to get a dinner cruise size boat access to a dock on that property. It is highly likely that a “river cruise” operation would morph into a stationary floating restaurant once the dock is built, which is the original proposal made to the city.

Please slam the door on commercial use of Cassen Park once and for all.

J.R. Miller

Ormond Beach

Send letters up to 400 words to [email protected]. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.


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