By Estella Fullmer Brown
For Hometown News
Isola Bella Condominiums on the North Causeway could soon be under construction.
The City Commission has approved Phase I of the Master Development Plan of the Island Town Center Development Agreement Second Amendment. The developer, Blossom Development Inc., must now submit requests for building permits on the proposed 36 multi-family residential units, sales office and supporting buildings before construction can begin.
Isola Bella Condos are going to be on roughly 14 acres along North Causeway. Silvestri Investments, a family owned real estate company out of Houston, bought the property under the name Blossom Development Inc. It includes the area that did house a Food Lion shopping center, the Elk's Lodge and a Friendly's restaurant.
In Phase I, the develop plans to build a 36-unit building, possibly with parking below or surface parking spaces and turn the Friendly's restaurant building into a temporary sales office that will eventually get torn down in a later phase.
In the amended plan, Silvestri requested to change the name of the developer from Island Town Center to Blossom Development. They asked to remove the mandatory requirement to build garages for the residential units and add language that would establish a maximum Floor Area Ratio of 3 (that density ratio corresponds to requirements for beachside development even though North Causeway is considered mainland, but it also includes the square footage for a clubhouse which affects the actual site density ratio.)
The request also included the sales office and accessory structures, such as a clubhouse and possibly a swimming pool in Phase I and remove a specific start and end construction times for each phase of development to replace it with language stating once construction begins, they will have 24 months to finish that phase and have the option to petition the city for an extension if needed.
The city already conducted a traffic flow study and concluded with the earlier widening of North Causeway to three lanes with a center turn lane, it would ensure uninhibited traffic flow in and out of the proposed complex. But the city also wanted to keep a limit on development time, requiring construction to begin within 24 months of approval of the site plan and Phase II would begin within 24 months of the completion of Phase I and so forth for the rest of the construction phases.
The developer plans to eventually build more than 200 units and some boat docks. They do not have anything in their submitted plan yet for commercial buildings or public access and will have to address those issues in future phases of development because they are part of the original Comprehensive Plan for the area.
They also will still have to build according to the various regulations on building height, parking, landscaping and stormwater mitigation as per the Island Town Center Agreement, which were not addressed in the amendment.
"The current agreement will expire in 2015. If the development agreement expires, the permitted uses and densities will revert back to what is permitted by the Land Development Regulations and the Comprehensive Plan," according to city documents. "In the case of the subject property, the permitted densities of 18 units per acre would allow up to 259 multi-family units on the site."
The City Commission also requested a few wording revisions, and approval from the Volusia County School District that the development would not have a negative impact on the local school system. The developer must also continue the five-foot wall around the development on Quay Assisi and North Causeway frontages to block the view of parked vehicles from the streets. The city also required parallel parking spaces along North Causeway in front of the sales office.
The wording changes, additional requirements, adherence to the original agreements requirements and school approval documents were agreed to and supplied by the developer in mid-June.
The name of the development, Isola Bella, was taken from Isola Bella, Italy, which is one of the Borromean Islands in Lake Maggiore in northern Italy. Rob Camporese, a Silvestri Investments representative, said Dan Silvestri, company president, chose the name because the town of Stresa on Isola Bella is similar to New Smyrna Beach and the land they are developing is surrounded by water on three sides similar to Stresa. They would like the buildings in their new community to reflect the spirit of Isola Bella, according to Mr. Camporese.
"We are really impressed with the whole direction New Smyrna and the north causeway area is going," Mr. Camporese said. "There is always some kind of promotion or event to bring people to Flagler Avenue and we really like what we see there."
"We like this area and what the city is doing to promote the local businesses," Mr. Camporese said. "That's why we came here and we love the small town atmosphere."