By Richard Mundy
For Hometown News
The Ormond Beach City Planning Board sent a "finding of necessity" for upgrading the city's U.S. 1 corridor commissioners..
The report helps determine that the area of U.S. 1 suffers economic blight and should be considered for a Community Redevelopment Area.
"The corridor was divided into two segments for ease of analysis," said Laureen Kornel, senior planner. "The southern segment runs from the south city limits to Wilmette, and the northern segment runs north from Wilmette all the way to the Flagler, Volusia county line."
To qualify as a blighted area two of 14 criteria had to be met. The total length of the corridor is 8.5 miles long and 1,300 acres with 1,200 parcels or property. The presentation showed pictures of aging and vacant buildings, sidewalks that abruptly end, lack of landscaping, lack of room to allow parking, undersized lots and mixed usage areas.
There were also a number of code violations. The study showed the southern portion of the corridor met eight conditions of the criteria for blight and the northern segment met three.
Butch Malo, a resident since 1957, said he had several questions, but they were mainly satisfied by the presentation.
Other residents had concerns about condemnations and raising taxes to fund the project.
Doug Thomas, planning board chairman, said, "There is no intent for condemnations and the city was simply trying to put into place the mechanism for improving the blighted condition of the corridor."
Richard Goss, planning director, said taxes already collected from properties in the corridor would go toward funding the improvements. In the future, as land values increased, the original tax base would still be the extent to which the funding of improvements would be paid.
Ms. Kornel said if the plan goes through, improvements would mostly be landscaping, pedestrian flow infrastructure and conforming ingress/ egress from the highway to the parcels.
Also at the board's monthly meeting, Edward Speno, president of White Falcon Land Development, requested an amendment and re-zoning for the Marshside subdivision. The board previously approved a residential development plan. The amendment was needed to add more land to it and increase the number of homes permitted in the subdivision from the original 68 lots on 46.24 acres to 163 lots on 84.14 acres and the lot size be reduced from 80 feet by 110 feet to 60 feet by 110 feet.
Residents of the area spoke against the plan, citing increased traffic for already overused roadways, especially from elementary schools to the east and west of the proposed subdivision.
The board voted to approve the rezoning, allowing for more lots, but denied the second part of the request that would have reduced the lot sizes.
Also, the board approved a request from Helson P. Jackson of Kickstart Saloon, 906 N. U.S. 1, to allow live, outdoor entertainment. But bands must stop playing at 10 p.m. and any entertainment would not be allowed anywhere except at the rear of the building. Mr. Jackson indicated a portion of the proceeds from events would go to the "Susan G. Komen For A Cure" and "Make A Wish" foundations.