The City Council initially resisted the county’s request.
In a shift from their positions at a Palm Coast City Council workshop a week prior, council members at a May 2 meeting decided to approve the county’s request to let the county take over some city land near the airport.
The deannexation would alter the city’s boundaries with the county so that a 116.23-acre plot of land near the airport — land now under the jurisdiction of the city — would fall within the county’s boundaries.
At the council workshop, council members had balked at the idea of carving the land out of the center of the city. Doing so would mean that if it were ever developed in the future, City Manger Jim Landon said, it would be developed under unincorporated county standards that could be lower than city standards.
City Mayor Milissa Holland and Councilwoman Heidi Shipley both thought that would be unfair to nearby residents who’d bought their homes expecting that any nearby development would meet the more stringent city standards.
The county’s deputy administrator, Sally Sherman, explained in public comment during the workshop that the county didn’t want to develop the land, and in fact could not: The county had purchased the plot with grant money from the Federal Aviation Administration specifically to prevent development too close to the airport and establish a runway safety area
By the May 2 meeting, city staff had come up with a compromise: The council would approve the deannexation on its first of two scheduled votes on the topic. Then, before the next vote, it would sign an interlocal agreement with the county stating that any vertical development on the land would meet Palm Coast standards, not Flagler County standards, and that if the county ever sells the land, it would return to Palm Coast’s jurisdiction.
Sherman, speaking before the council at the May 2 meeting, said the county needed to sign an interlocal agreement with the city concerning the property anyway, because the FAA required an airport protection zone interlocal agreement. The county will be drafting an interlocal agreement to bring back before the city, she said.
And while she couldn’t speak for the county commission, Sherman said, the city’s proposal for an interlocal agreement seemed reasonable.
County Commissioners Donald O’Brien and David Sullivan also spoke at the meeting during there public comment period in support of the city’s new proposal, with O’Brien calling it “very logical.”
The City Council approved the plan unanimously.