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Palm Coast Thursday, Jun. 9, 2022 2 weeks ago

In 4-1 vote, City Council OKs 251-unit apartment complex in Town Center

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The community, called Wilton Palm Coast, will consist of five apartment buildings and a pool courtyard and amenity area.
by: Jonathan Simmons Senior Editor

A 10.2-acre parcel of vacant land in Town Center may become the site of a 251-unit apartment complex.

The five-building complex, by Crest Residential, will be on the south side of Brookhaven Drive. It will join other nearby apartment complexes as part of the Town Center Development of Regional Impact.

The Palm Coast City Council voted 4-1, with Councilman Eddie Branquinho dissenting, to approve a master site plan for the Wilton Palm Coast apartment complex during a June 7 meeting.

The five-building complex, by Crest Residential, will be on the south side of Brookhaven Drive. It will join other nearby apartment complexes as part of the Town Center Development of Regional Impact.

One of the buildings will be four stories, two will be three stories, and two will be two stories. The maximum building height will be 42 feet.

"We've taken successful design elements from our other Florida coastal projects and tried to incorporate them here," said Bentley Nelson, a principal at Crest Residential.

Crest, based in Birmingham, Alabama, has apartment communities in New Smyrna Beach, St. Augustine, Vero Beach and Santa Rosa Beach.

The Crest Town Center complex will be on the south side of Brookhaven Drive, as shown in City Council meeting documents

But Branquinho, who has consistently opposed proposals for new apartment complexes, was concerned about the complex's density.

"This is a perfect example as to why I am against this type of project," Branquinho said, before pointing out that some units could be as small as 671 square feet. "We're going to be bringing investments from Birmingham, Alabama — not to the betterment of Palm Coast; it's for the interest of the people that are investing here."

The complex will have three-bedroom units averaging 1,365 square feet, two-bedroom units averaging 1,115 square feet and one-bedroom units averaging 735 square feet.  The smallest will be 671 square feet; the minimum allowed in the city is 650 square feet.

The Wilton Palm Coast site plan, as shown in city meeting documents

Councilman Ed Danko asked what the rent would be. 

Crest Residential representative Bentley Nelson said rent would be market rate. 

Danko said that when he was a young professional just getting started in Washington, D.C., "I was grateful that there were apartments that I could rent until I moved up and made a little more money, and then bought my first house."

A handful of people spoke during the meeting's public comment period to oppose the proposal, saying the density would be too high.

The city's attorney said that the density level has already been set for that parcel, and that council members' task during the June 7 meeting was limited to determining whether the development's master site plan met the requirements of the city's and development code.

Alfin noted that Town Center now has university students attending classes through University of North Florida or Jacksonville University, but lacks student housing.

"In order for our university system to grow here locally, we obviously will have to provide housing for students," he said.

He added that it's also time to revisit the city's comprehensive plan, which deals with density issues. 

"It should be our job to review it so that we take advantage of all that we have enjoyed with lifestyle during the last 21 and a half years, but also look forward to the next 20 years to be to ensure that the city will be sustainable for all of our residents," he said. 

Branquinho noted at one point that if the city denied the developer's proposal without legal grounds, "we're going to get sued." But he still voted against it.

The complex will have a pool/courtyard, athletic lawn, dog park and an observation deck and kayak launch at a stormwater lake.

The four-story building will have an integrated clubhouse on the ground floor. 

The city's planning board had voted 5-0 in favor of the apartment complex on May 18.

A rendering of the proposed apartment complex, as shown in city meeting documents

 

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