By Richard Mundy
For Hometown News
The Ormond Beach City Commissioners denied smaller lots in the Marshside Village subdivision, voting 4-1 against reducing them from 80 feet wide to 60 feet wide.
Mayor Ed Kelley was the sole "yes" vote.
This action reversed their previous vote that gave approval to White Falcon Development building the subdivision with 60-foot wide lots. Edward Speno, president of White Falcon Development of Orlando, attended the meeting.
After nearly two hours of citizen speakers, 18 in all, Zone 4 Commissioner Bill Partington voiced the general consensus of the board. He said, "I really don't think it (conflict between area residents and resolution) has anything to do with lot size... When you get down to it, I think it's about density. And when you look at this project, it's consistent with many of the other neighborhoods in that area. There are actually four neighborhoods that have a higher density than this project does."
Mr. Partington also said the project, "improved the drainage of the area, it improves the traffic flow, and that's based on a traffic study... and it improves the "look" of what's out there. What Mr. Speno's proposing ... I think it's a much better product. That's the type of project you want Ormond Beach to look like."
But, he said, "(I'm) happy to listen to whatever else anybody has to say, but essentially I'm undecided at this point."
Zone 3 Commissioner Rick Boehm added, "I don't think this is a very easy decision ... because I don't think there's any question that there's a traffic issue. I would point out ... Mr. Speno is required to build a sidewalk from Airport Road to Leeway Trail."
Marshside Village is at the intersection of Airport and Tymber Creek toads.
Commissioner Boehm said in his experience living in an area with sidewalks to the schools, a number of students walked or biked to schools (with crossing guards and other safety issues provided) and the number of parents driving their children to school was significantly reduced. However he also said, "I side with Commissioner Partington about being undecided about this."
"I am not undecided", said Zone 2 Commissioner Troy Kent. "Our planning board denied this 6-1. I approved this six years ago with lots 80 feet in width ... I work out there, I drive it five days a week, my little boy goes to school out there ... It's a fantastic school. The traffic is hellish ... I will be voting no."
Ric Goss, Ormond Beach planning director, was asked to verify the information concerning the density of subdivisions in the surrounding area. "It is true. We looked at 14 subdivisions for density and there were four subdivisions that were higher (in density), this one (Marshside) is around fifth, and the rest were lower."
City Attorney Randal Hayes clarified to the commissioners that they could vote separately on the rezoning of the annexed land. As for Mr. Speno's request for 60-foot lot widths, that would have to be either approved or denied.
Commissioner Boehm questioned if tabling the resolution for a vote at a later date once actual numbers of lots in a "hybrid" resolution were possible. Mr. Goss stated that it would take a new resolution, essentially "starting all over," including the planning board process to affect that possibility.
Before the final vote on the resolution to allow 60' wide lots, Mr. Speno said, "Certainly I'm disappointed ... we've come to you, we've worked with your planning department, we've listened. They told us what is allowed in this zoning category ... and we've complied. This is not a simple submission, nor a cheap one. And we're standing here discussing density (caused by) 30 lots. It's almost incredible to me that you might consider the effect of plus or minus 30 lots on an intersection in this city."
In the end, the undecideds joined Commissioner Kent in denying the smaller lots.