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Palm Coast Tuesday, Jul. 12, 2022 1 month ago

Developer wins county's approval for 1,200-home Radiance development

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The proposed development off Old Kings Road drew opposition from neighbors who objected to its density and said it would bring too much traffic.
by: Jonathan Simmons Managing Editor

A plot of vacant land along the west side of southern Old Kings Road is expected to become a community of 1,200 new homes.

"We were 'those people' to somebody else when we came in, and 'that developer' that we're saying now is the bad developer — what do you think did Halifax? A developer." 

 

— ADAM MENGEL, Flagler County growth management director

Despite objections from area residents who said the proposed development would be too dense would strain the capacity of Old Kings Road, the Flagler County Commission at a July 11 meeting approved set of measures required for the development to move forward.

The homes in the development — formerly considered a new phase of the existing Eagle Lakes development, but now referred to as a separate development known as "Radiance" — would be built by Kolter Homes.

They'll be constructed over seven years and spread across 612 acres into two sections, with 425 non-age-restricted single-family homes in the northern section, and 775 age-restricted 55+ single-family homes in the southern section.

The development would be gated.

The measures approved by the commission at the meeting involved shifting the properties' zoning designations and their land use designations on the county's Future Land Use Map, amending a planned unit development agreement for the development and establishing a community development district, or CDD, to govern the community.

"This development is not adding anything of value to the existing South Old Kings community. ... It seems the applicant is just taking, asking for more, and not giving anything back in return."

 

— NANCY DANCE

Many residents who criticized the proposed development said it would overload Old Kings Road and Old Kings' intersection with Old Dixie Highway. 

"My son catches the bus at the end of Steeplechase Trail," said Polo Club West resident Christine Kraus. "I see ... so many cars, passing buses — I can't imagine adding thousands more cars to that."

She noted that other developments are also planned for the area. 

"I think you need to take into account every subdivision that's going on Old Kings, and get the traffic taken care of first," she said. "I don't think anything should be built until traffic and roads are taken care of."

Other residents asked the County Commission to delay a decision on the development until an independent traffic study could be completed.

But attorney Michael Chiumento, representing the developer, said the development has vested rights for the amount of traffic it's expected to generate. The developer has already conducted a traffic study to satisfy county government staff's concerns, he said.

"The appropriate study was done," he said. "County staff said, 'The study that you provided is sufficient; it demonstrates that Old Kings Road, as a segment, will not fail.'"

Old Kings Road's intersection with Old Dixie Highway is in Volusia County, so Flagler County doesn't have jurisdiction over the area. 

But Commissioner David Sullivan said he'd like to have that intersection included in an updated traffic study of the area before the Radiance development seeks the commission's approval for its final plat.

Other locals criticized the density of the development. It would have about two units per acre.

Local resident Nancy Dance, the mother of County Commissioner Andy Dance, previously owned the property and had sold it under an agreement that it would be used for low-density development, like the existing Eagle Lakes phase, she said. 

She also had concerns about the traffic the Radiance proposal would generate. 

"I'm not here standing in front of you saying 'no' to any development," she said. But, she added, the density level of the current Eagle Lakes phase "should be respected."

"The Eagle Lakes property owners bought their current lots with the understanding that Phase Two was a future low-density development with larger lots that mirrored what they purchased," she said. 

The 40-foot lots included in the Radiance proposal are too small for the area, she said. 

"This development is not adding anything of value to the existing South Old Kings community," she said. "It seems the applicant is just taking, asking for more, and not giving anything back in return. Where's our commitment to the residents of the Flagler County community?"

Commissioner Greg Hansen had concerns about whether there would be enough water and sewer capacity for the development.

The county's government's growth management director, Adam Mengel, said there isn't enough capacity now, but it will be added as the development is constructed.

Mengel, reacting to residents' objections to the proposed development, said locals have the wrong mindset when they think of new people moving into the area as "those people."

"We were 'those people' to somebody else when we came in," Mengel said, "and 'that developer' that we're saying now is the bad developer — what do you think did Halifax? A developer."

The commission approved the zoning and land use map changes for the Radiance development 3-1, with Commissioner Andy Dance recusing himself from the vote because of his family's connections with the land.

Commissioner Greg Hansen was the sole vote against the rezoning and an amendment to the development's planned unit development agreement, while Sullivan was the sole vote against the future land use map amendment.

Commissioners approved the creation of the Community Development District 4-0, with Dance again abstaining.

 

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