By Paul Burdziakowski
Local resident Stephen Gaddis presented a proposal April 23 to the Port Orange City Council to buy or lease a small piece of city-owned land along the north side of his property.
The land, at the end of the B-23 canal next to 5765 Ridgewood Ave., would allow Mr. Gaddis to establish a parking lot for a water sports equipment rental business. The proposal would provide the city with a taxable piece of property and support the Ridgewood Corridor Plan.
The City Council decided to have the proposal reviewed by the City Attorney's Office and Recreation Advisory Board before making a decision.
Mr. Gaddis has owned the residence at 5765 Ridgewood for 20 years, but it is zoned commercial. He would like to establish Rose Bay Outfitters and rent kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and Gheenoes (basically a motorized canoe). But there is not enough space on his property to meet the parking needs required to make the business successful, so he would need the city-owned land next door.
"This land is not considered a pocket park," Mr. Gaddis said. "It just a small piece of city-owned property that is not taxed, requires regular maintenance and is a possible liability for the city if someone comes out on it and get hurt."
"It's a win, win situation if the city works with me on this, because it meets my needs and makes it an asset for the city," Mr. Gaddis said.
There are several water sports rental businesses nearby, such as Sandy Point Progressive Sports, Spruce Creek Scuba and Spruce Creek Outfitters, but Mr. Gaddis feels he will have a natural competitive advantage with a place within the city.
"Rose Bay Outfitters will be conveniently located next to the water so there will be little hassle with transport of equipment and no travel with which to bring the equipment to," Mr. Gaddis said.
Mr. Gaddis envisions having a unique business that represents an old school Florida charm in a Tom Sawyer-type atmosphere.
"There will be a main dock off the land to walk onto, several floating docks to launch a variety of water sports equipment, a small café where people can grab a light meal and a deck where people can relax and enjoy the view," Mr. Gaddis said. "We live in one of the most beautiful spots in Volusia County and my proposal would promote a healthy outdoor adventure experience to the community."
In other business, the council members approved modifying the Nova Depot master development agreement and conceptual plan to allow for three stand-alone commercial uses. Clarifications were also made to the master development agreement, which originally stated that a wall or fence could be put up to separate a commercial building from a residential building. The revision now clearly states that only a wall can be constructed at the height of 6 feet and 3 feet back from the commercial property line.
Nova Depot is at the corner of Samms Avenue and Nova Road. The planned commercial development was originally approved in 2006 to be used as a single self-storage facility. Development on the project was halted during the recession and the site remained vacant.
A new proposal was made on March 19 to develop the site as a three-lot commercial subdivision. This would allow for a variety of businesses to develop on the proposed lots, such as restaurants, retail sales and retail services. The property is currently in the process of being sold to a new owner. One of the three commercial sites has been proposed to become an O'Reilly Auto Parts.