The City Council voted 3-2 to uphold the land code.
The five members of the City Council agree on one thing: Florida Hospital Flagler is a tremendous community asset. However, three out of the five still believe the hospital should not get any special treatment with its proposed roadside sign.
The City Council approved on Tuesday, Nov. 2, the hospital’s requests for variations to the city’s land development code in building height, but it did not allow the hospital an exception to the sign code, which exception would have allowed the hospital to build a $100,000-plus electronic sign on State Road 100.
City staff said the sign would be a distraction to drivers and also would set a dangerous precedent for other businesses that might like to advertise with electronic signs.
“The issue is, this is an advertising medium, and what you do for one, you do for all,” Mayor Jon Netts said. Netts was joined by Bill Lewis and Mary DiStefano in denying the sign.
Instead, if the hospital wants an electronic sign, it will have to be 350 feet away from State Road 100, which is a similar arrangement Palm Coast made with the developers of Town Center.
Representing the hospital, attorney Michael Chiumento argued that the city never gave the hospital a chance to find a compromise with the setback. He felt the 350-foot marker was arbitrary, and that the city makes exceptions to its own rule by advertising special events with enormous flashing signs.
Hospital CEO David Ottati was disappointed with the City Council’s ruling.
“The city’s a good partner,” Ottati said. “But we’ve got a difference of opinion. … I’d like to see consistency.”
County Commissioner Milissa Holland introduced to the City Council the Community Thanksgiving Celebration. She encouraged members of the community to form teams and collect money and/or nonperishable food items through Nov. 17. The team that raises the most food or money will earn a trophy.
To volunteer, call 597-2950.