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Palm Coast Tuesday, Mar. 8, 2022 3 months ago

Councilman proposes moratorium on multifamily housing east of U.S. 1

The proposal drew condemnation from the head of the local chamber of commerce.
by: Jonathan Simmons Senior Editor

Palm Coast's affordable housing is not keeping up with demand, but one councilman wants the city to implement a moratorium on all multifamily development east of U.S. 1. 

"We need to regroup, get a moratorium and see what's good for Palm Coast."


— EDDIE BRANQUINHO, city councilman

"We need to regroup, get a moratorium and see what's good for Palm Coast," Councilman Eddie Branquinho said during a March 8 council workshop. "I just think we should pay attention a little more of what the people of Palm Coast are saying."

He said he'd be bringing the proposed moratorium up at the upcoming March 15 City Council meeting for a vote. 

Mayor David Alfin, wary of the legalities of a moratorium, asked the city attorney for input. She described them as a legal hazard.

"The Chamber believes Councilman Branquinho's moratorium is anti-property rights, anti-workforce housing, anti-business, and, especially anti-construction — which accounts for a massive amount of our local jobs here in Flagler County."


— GREG BLOSÉ, president and CEO, Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber of Commerce

"Moratoriums from a legal perspective are extremely dangerous — frankly, they open up the city to potential liability," city attorney Neysa Borkert replied. "... Moratoriums should not be utilized unless there is a significant health, safety and welfare issue facing the city."

Branquinho countered that "quality of life" should be added to the list. He said he's consistently voted against proposed new multifamily developments. 

"I do that to protect the people of Palm Coast," he said. "We legislate and as long as we do it in good faith and within the law, then we're safe."

Palm Coast Regional Chamber President and CEO Greg Blosé slammed Branquinho's proposal, calling it reckless and anti-business. He urged other council members to oppose it.

He noted that the city attorney had said that a moratorium could only occur in the event of a health, safety or welfare issue, and that local results of the National Citizen Survey — presented to the council earlier in the workshop — showed that residents gave the city very high marks for safety and quality of life. 

Plus, Blosé added, the city government has had to create a "business friendly initiative" specifically because of a widespread perception that Palm Coast isn't business friendly.  

"Businesses can't get employees to live in our neighborhoods because it's so expensive, because of the lack of apartments and multifamily housing, and now you're going to stop building them?" he said. "I support working people. I support young people. I support young families, low income residents, and the Branquinho moratorium turns its back on these future residents."

Talking aim at implications that multifamily housing brings crime, Blosé said he'd grown up in apartment complexes himself. 

"I will never be in favor of moratoriums that block businesses, block jobs."


— ED DANKO, city councilman

"Attacking and mischaracterizing who lives in multifamily housing is wrong," he said.

Councilman Ed Danko thanked Blosé.

"I will never be in favor of moratoriums that block businesses, block jobs," Danko said.






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