By Estella R. Fullmer
For Hometown News
EDGEWATER -- The city grew a bunch recently with the City Council approving another annexation and also will have a second huge mixed-use project west of Interstate 95.
The council gave final approval to Paradise Properties' request to annex a 41.26-acre patch of land east of Old Mission Road. Glenn D Storch, the attorney for Paradise Properties, presented the request for the voluntary annexation.
Councilwoman GiGi Bennington asked city staff if the annexation created an enclave and was assured it did not.
The land, which is west of Air Park Road and north of Indian River Boulevard, is contiguous to the city's boundaries and meets the conditions for annexation, according to staff.
Councilman Gene Emter asked if there have been any conversations with the owners of the land on either side about annexing. City Manager Tracey Barlow said, "No, there have been no conversations about annexation."
He went on to explain that with the tax rates in New Smyrna Beach, land owners have a greater incentive to annex but with Edgewater's mill rate, he said, "It is a balancing act. I cannot really push annexing until we can get a handle on the tax rates. There is not a lot to entice them to annex other than they may have some better services."
The planning and zoning board recommended unanimously April 9 to grant the request for the 41.26 acres, a small part of which is zoned conservation.
Paradise Properties is designing a plan to develop the land, which is zoned for Multi-use and residential properties.
The city also began the approval process to rezone a large parcel of land west of Interstate 95 and south of State Road 442 from Residential Planned Unit Development to a Multi-Use Planned Unit Development.
Chicago-based Swallowtail LLC, an entity of Miami Corp., owns the 877.5 acres of land, which is currently zoned for residential use. Attorney Storch also represented Miami Corp. and requested a rezoning to mixed use to include single and multi-family residences, commercial and light industrial use.
Miami Corp. plans to build Deering Park Center, which will can have up to 1,362 dwelling units, required parking spaces per unit with only half of them being in the front of the buildings and a community swimming pool. The center will also have a commercial section for a mini-mall.
The city is requiring the developer to use the principles of adaptive management in its planning. Miami Corp. will have to provide building plans in five year increments, which will have to be approved and meet the city's overall 30-year growth plan. It will have to build in basic water and sewer infrastructure, including a wastewater treatment plant, and a plan for recycling and refuse pick-up. The adaptive management principles give a greater flexibility to the long-term building plan and allow the city and developer to assess risks and change the plans according to economic changes. It provides options for adjustments to help achieve the city's overall growth objectives. It also allows for the developer to contract out certain phases of the building plan rather than being locked into building every aspect of the project itself with no room for adjustment as the economic climate changes. Each five-year phase will have to be approved by the city before construction on that phase begins.
"We consider this the future of Edgewater," Mr. Storch said. "It is consistent with the comprehensive plan and contains specific items for growth."
He compared this intersection's potential with that of the I-95 exits in Port Orange and New Smyrna Beach. "Consider Port Orange's interchange and how it is a major commercial build-up now. Look at New Smyrna Beach around the new Walmart. That area is getting ready to explode," he said. "We are only five minutes away from that area and that is why this is so important for Edgewater."
The initial approval was unanimous, but Mayor Michael Thomas recused himself because he had leased land for hunting from Miami Corp. in the past and did not want to appear as if he was showing favoritism. Final approval is expected at the council's June meeting.
Deering Park would join the Restoration development west of I-95. Restoration is expected to have 8,500 housing units along with 3.3 million square feet of non-residential properties.