Letter: City leaders’ priorities creating more urban sprawl while neglecting our failing infrastructure

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  • | 8:10 a.m. April 2, 2024
Letters to the editor
Letters to the editor
  • Palm Coast Observer
  • Opinion
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Paradise lost for profits

Dear Editor:

With the closing of the legislative session, we are witnessing what happens when city leaders’ priorities are skewed by special interests. Some of the foremost experts in urban development and land use optimization have been shouting from the rooftops for years about how to properly use our most vital resource ... our available lands.

Density within cities should be focused on the city center. Municipalities, along with counties’ tax base expansion, are better served when they invest their dollars in pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use development in the urban core, rather than urban sprawl.

For more than two decades our residents have been promised a thriving downtown business district with the civic activities associated with properly planned communities. Urban sprawl only adds to the increasingly congested roadways with little resources being dedicated to solving the problems that currently exist. Our city leaders’ priorities for the last two years have been to create more urban sprawl while neglecting our failing existing infrastructure.

While they stated that the city’s budget priorities given to the state government were not ranked in any particular order, it’s apparent that their requested funding and received funding were skewed for urban sprawl. First on their list of priorities was continuing to support transportation access to the west, while funding for the expansion of Wastewater Treatment Plant #1 was at the bottom of the list.

On the governor’s desk right now is a budget that allocates approximately $80 million for the Matanzas Woods Parkway/Palm Coast Parkway Loop Road. At the bottom of the list is Wastewater Treatment Plant #1 which will receive $1 million of the $35 million requested for expansion. This comes at a time when just a couple of weeks ago, our city council was and continues to toy with the possibility of raising our water bills to pay for needed expansion of the treatment facility.

For the time being, the city council has agreed to raise the impact fees on developers, with the mayor being the lone dissenting vote against. Rapid development has, as you know, impacted our water systems.

You are witnessing a windfall for developers, while the existing residents are left with the aftermath of a city that is getting too big for its britches. Not to mention that Palm Coast will receive no money for the improvements on Old Kings Road, north or south in this year’s budget. A vital road in our transportation network which needs to be expanded.

We continue to see flooding in existing residential neighborhoods due to poorly managed planning. Our road system, stormwater system, and water treatment systems decline ... all in the name of profits disguised as “progress”.

Mike Norris

Palm Coast

Editor's note: Mike Norris is a candidate for Palm Coast mayor


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