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Palm Coast Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019 1 month ago

Traffic and transparency: Palm Coast neighbors express concerns with condos at marina and golf course

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City staff will work with the developer to address concerns before Nov. 20 Planning Board meeting.
by: Brian McMillan Executive Editor

Over 100 people attended the two neighborhood meetings on Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Palm Coast Community Center, to express concerns about the condo buildings proposed at the Palm Coast Marina and near the driving range in the city’s Palm Harbor Golf Club.

“It was a passionate display of people who love their community,” said Michael Schottey, the city’s communications officer.

Developers Jim Jacoby and Sam Alley have proposed a five-story, 193-unit condo building; a five-story, 120-room hotel; and two restaurants at the marina. They have proposed five condo buildings with 120 units at the golf course. The plan is preliminary. Site specifics will not be designed until after the changes to the master planned development are presented to the Palm Coast Planning and Land Development Review Board on Nov. 20.

Still, four concerns were at the forefront of residents’ minds on Oct. 24, according to an interview with Schottey and City Manager Matt Morton the next morning, Oct. 25.

Traffic

To accommodate the increased traffic at the marina, a traffic signal will likely need to be added at Clubhouse Drive and Palm Harbor Parkway. Residents were also concerned about increased traffic on neighborhood streets surrounding the marina and golf course.

Demographics

The condos may attract younger families with children, changing the demographics of the area. The current residents are mostly retirees. As William Velich wrote in an email to the Palm Coast Observer, “There will be trespassers on the course after closing, foot traffic, and people walking animals on the golf course and in our backyards.”

Capacity of utilities

Will the city’s sewer and water utilities be able to handle the increased population? According to Schottey, the answer is yes, and impact fees would be used to improve the capacity as needed.

Transparency

The city requires the developer to notify people living within 300 feet of the proposed developments. Is that a wide enough net? Velich believes that the city showed its “disregard towards our taxpaying citizens by not informing 95% of the people that this will directly and adversely affect.”

Morton pointed out that the state does not require the neighborhood meetings at all; they are held because the city wants to be as transparent as possible.

“We mandate that the developer must make the community aware,” Morton said. “We have tried really hard to be transparent.” The meetings are not intended to sell the public on the project but to let everyone know what is being proposed as early in the process as possible, he said.

What's next?

After the neighborhood meetings, Palm Coast Deputy Chief Development Officer Ray Tyner said, “The neighborhoods did raise some fairly good questions, and we’ll work with the applicant to address them in the master plan development agreement.”

The Planning Board will discuss the proposal Nov. 20.

Brian McMillan has been editor of the Palm Coast Observer since it began in 2010. He was named the Journalist of the Year for weekly newspapers in North America by the Local Media Association in 2012. He lives in Palm Coast with his wife and five children. Email...

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