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Flagler County has recorded nine manatee deaths in the last 11 years. COURTESY PHOTO
Palm Coast Thursday, May 26, 2011 11 years ago

NEWS BRIEFS 5.26.2011

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+ State approves Old Brick, Neoga Lakes ‘with conditions’
The Florida Department of Community Affairs has approved the Old Brick Township project — a 5,000-home development on the boarder of Flagler and St. Johns counties.

The project was first proposed in 2007, and the state rejected the proposal for a variety of reasons, including preservation of land near Pellicer Creek.

According to a spreadsheet on the DCA website, both the Old Brick Township and Neoga Lakes developments were “approved with conditions.”

The Palm Coast City Council will discuss the changes at its May 31 workshop, and likely will vote at its June 7 regular meeting.

+ Internet cafés moratorium update: Planning board opposed
The Palm Coast Planning & Land Development Regulation Board voted 3-3, failing to recommend a moratorium to the Palm Coast City Council regarding Internet cafés.

The Planning Board’s vote is only a recommendation to the City Council; council members make the ultimate decision.

+ Solar lights to be installed near Agricultural Museum
Solar-powered lights will be installed by Palm Cast at the northeast corner of the intersection of Old Kings Road North and U.S. 1, in the northern part of the city. They will also light the Florida Agricultural Museum’s monument and sign. 

+ Flagler unemployment drops to 13.8%
From an unemployment rate of 16% in January, then one of 14.5% in March, Palm Coast’s unemployment rate fell once again, to 13.8%, in April. It remains the state high.

According to labor market statistics recorded by the Center for Business Excellence, education and health services were the only Palm Coast job sectors to record growth from April 2010 to April 2011. Adding 100 jobs to each sector, the industries grew faster in the Palm Coast metro area than in the state.

The recorded state unemployment rate was 10.4%.

+ Woman charged with stealing card to ‘Discover’ Palm Coast
According to a Flagler County Sheriff’s Office affidavit, an unidentified victim stated that his ex-girlfriend, hairstylist Donna Bellitto, had permission to use his Discover Card at Red Box. But she eventually forged his name and racked up 41 credit charges around town, from Dec. 28 to Jan. 19.

Bellitto was arrested May 2 on two felony charges: uttering a forged instrument and grand theft.

With credit swipes for as little as $5.03 and as much as $103, the total amount charged was $941.74, in addition to a $300 cashed check.

Bellitto was previously jailed and released for drug-related charges.

+ Correction
John Scully and David Petkovsek were pictured in the May 19 edition of the Palm Coast Observer.

+ Coffey hopes for manatee compromise with state
County Administrator Craig Coffey said the county and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission staff came to a few agreements May 17, at a workshop regarding the long-debated manatee speed zone issue.

The FWC is proposing to increase speed zones along Flagler County’s Intracoastal Waterway from .5 miles to 5.6 miles, citing potential detriments to the local boating culture and economy.

“There’s a lot at stake,” Coffey said.

At the workshop, a northern ordinance zone was agreed upon, as well as the time of year for regulation. The southern and middle ordinance zones were not finalized.

Flagler has recorded nine manatee deaths in the last 11 years. Lee County recorded 12 last year, Volusia five.  Brevard records about 12 per year.

“It’s just regulation for the sake of regulation,” Coffey said. “We welcome the preservation of manatees when it’s meaningful.”

FWC staff will return to its board for consideration of Flagler County’s recommendations, then reconvene June 8, in St. Augustine, to approve or reject the plan to minimize the length of the proposed zones.

“We’re hoping that we can continue to work through with (the FWC) to some kind of compromise approach,” Coffey said, “so we aren’t fighting one another, we’re working together.”

— The Palm Coast Observer is looking for news tips from readers. Send cell-phone video and photos to [email protected] coastobserver.com.

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