Here's what your neighbors are talking about in Palm Coast.
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Vacant lot owners should pay $100 for swale mowing
This is an excellent suggestion. There is no acceptable reason for the city to provide this service to vacant lots at no cost. I live beside one such lot, and I spend time all year cutting back the encroaching trees and ground cover that is constantly trying to take over my lot! I've seen the city mowing the swale but hadn't thought about who is paying for this.
One disagreement I have with your proposal is the cost. While the math works ($400,000 divided by 17,000 lots = about $25) I don't think that really covers costs. There is the management of these folks, vehicle expenses, equipment expenses, liability and employee benefits (not sure that's included in your combined salary amount). I'm sure there are other things not being considered as well. I would think that the fee should be $100 per year — still reasonable — and make sure it truly covers all costs.
Further, if this is implemented, the city should divide this between perhaps upgrading the public works facility and the balance go to tax maintenance/reduction. It would be nice to see taxes not go up so often.
The city also needs to look at any other "free" services offered such as this. Some are very likely valid and necessary, but there may be other activities that should be covered by the beneficiary and not necessarily the city.
Palm Harbor deal is good for the city
As part of a proposal to build condominiums adjacent to the Palm Harbor Golf Club, the developer will deed to the city the driving range proper and land adjacent to the current clubhouse used for staging golf carts and vehicle parking. This will finally make the golf course “whole” and remove the current uncertainty about the status of these critical areas. The city currently leases this land and is dependent on the developer to continue a lease agreement.
Should the city eventually be denied access to these vital areas, either through termination of the lease or because of future development on the driving range, the loss would directly impact successful operation of the golf course. Without a driving range, golf cart staging area, and adequate vehicle parking, the number of golfers will likely diminish, presenting a fiscal and maintenance challenge for future sustainment of the golf course.
Those in the surrounding neighborhood know the negative effects a closed golf course can have, both financially and socially. They experienced some of it when the golf course remained closed after the recession hit. Fortunately, the Palm Harbor neighborhood has been thriving since the reopening in 2009. You need only look at a former “favorite” of local golfers that is now permanently closed in another part of the city to know the impact of a long-term closing.
Our city officials are doing a commendable job in minimizing the new development’s impact on the Palm Harbor neighborhood, while obtaining significant benefit for the city. The developer’s initial proposal is less than one-third the size of the originally approved plan (2005) and includes transferring ownership of the driving range to the city. The 2005 plan included 16 buildings, the majority of which were to be built on the driving range land.
City ownership of the driving range will ensure that the city’s golf amenity is made complete and will have a viable future and that the Palm Harbor neighborhood will benefit from the golf course’s future.