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Palm Coast Monday, Nov. 4, 2019 6 months ago

County gives preliminary approval for 132 new homes in Plantation Bay

The county also decided not to overturn the county planning director's decision allowing for a boat storage facility in the Hammock.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Plantation Bay will be getting 132 new homes, divided between 33 four-unit "quadruplex" buildings on 63 acres.

The Flagler County Commission at its Nov. 4 meeting approved the proposed planned unit development and preliminary plat for the new homes, which will be located on the western side of the Plantation Bay community. 

But the board was divided: Although the planned unit development application was approved unanimously, the preliminary plat application — the section that includes consideration of utilities, which would need to be provided through the county-owned utility at Plantation Bay — was approved with a 3-2 vote, with Commissioner David Sullivan and Commissioner Charlie Ericksen voting no. 

Sullivan was dissatisfied with homebuilder ICI's handling of utilities at Plantation Bay. The county, in partnership with the city of Bunnell, had purchased the ailing utility in 2013 for $5.5 million in order to rehab it. The county then took over the utility in its entirety, and is still paying on it. 

"I’m still concerned that ICI has never taken seriously providing some help," Sullivan said. "I do think we could use support from ICI to try to help in providing some alleviation."

The quadruplex buildings will be constructed on individual lots separated by a minimum of a 20-foot buffer, and with 20-foot driveways. There will be no pools. 

Boat storage proposal in Hammock moves forward

A proposed boat storage facility in the Hammock is getting the county's go-ahead: Ruling against an appeal by the Hammock Community Association, the County Commission on Nov. 4 upheld Planning Director Adam Mengel's determination that the proposed facility would be a permitted use at 5658 N. Oceanshore Blvd. 

"My gut feeling is that this will look a lot better than it looks right now, and this will be an improvement in the Hammock and not a detriment."

—DAVID SULLIVAN, county commissioner

Mengel had determined that boat storage, though not specifically mentioned in the land development code as a permitted use, is similar enough to an already-permitted use of that parcel of land — which had previously been used for small-scale boat production — that it should be allowed.

Hammock residents had countered that the storage facility would represent an increase in use intensity over boat production, not a decrease as Mengel had stated, because of the comings and goings that would be associated with the boat storage location as opposed to the small-scale production facility. It would be more akin to a warehouse, which would not be a permitted use in that area, they stated. 

"This is just the wrong spot for what he wants to have with these 240 storage units," said attorney Dennis Bayer, representing the HCA. 

The HCA had previously appealed Mengel's decision to the planning board, which had also ruled in Mengel's favor, before the matter was brought to the County Commission. 

"I think it boils down to interpretation of whether it’s a warehouse or not," Commissioner Greg Hansen said. "I think it’s unfortunate that Mr. Mengel used the phrase 'less intense,' because I don't see that at all."

He said he'd spoken to residents of the area who thought that boat storage would be a useful addition. 

Commissioner David Sullivan thought the proposed facility would be an improvement over what's there now. 

"I drove over there on Friday … and that place is a mess right now," he said. And nearby, he added, "There's another commercial establishment; it’s not just homes. ... My gut feeling is that this will look a lot better than it looks right now, and this will be an improvement in the Hammock and not a detriment."

Commissioner Donald O'Brien said he saw the proposal as more akin to a marina wth boat storage than to a warehouse or storage facility. The board denied the HCA's appeal unanimously.



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