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Opinion
Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Feb. 8, 2021 2 weeks ago

2 letters: City should help county acquire the 36 acres in the Loop for conservation

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Also, resident says development on the Loop is harming our animal population and increasing littering.
by: Guest Writer

City has 'skin in the game'

Dear Editor,

Regarding Plantation Oaks in the Loop, we are glad the city issued a letter supporting the county’s effort to purchase 76 lots for land conservation. However, regarding the zoning amendment requests by the developer, we believe the city had an obligation to ask for material concessions in return when it annexed the enormous Plantation Oaks property. As the successor-in-interest to Volusia County, we believe the city, so far, has failed to sufficiently recognize that it has “skin in the game” when it comes to this project.

It is a sad commentary when the only major concession requested was not by our own commission, but rather by the outside citizens group Dream Green Volusia. Such requests could have included enlarging the buffer along the byway, decreased density/increased lot sizes (which would help save trees, reduce traffic, and increase property values, bringing in more city revenue), reduction of the speed limit, and employing Low-Impact Development methods to land not yet cleared. The commission’s inaction in bargaining was a missed opportunity.

Yet — the city still has the option to chip in a percentage of the funds needed to purchase the land. Compared to previous expenditures – such as $730,000 purchase of the Riverside Church, $1.3 million on a floating dock, and $900,000 for a bait shop — a fraction of the total purchase price of $1.3 million purchase price would be nominal. 

Preserving the Loop is an overwhelmingly public mandate, and the 36 acres would provide a nice corridor within this very treasured place in Ormond Beach.  Our hope is that the county is able to procure the funds for the land purchase, and we hope the city will seize the opportunity to provide additional assistance.   

Ken and Julie Sipes

Ormond Beach

Development on the Loop is harmful

Dear Editor:

I am a resident, county worker/volunteer, and student residing in Ormond Beach — particularly adjacent to the Loop. I've returned to Volusia County after finishing my classes, and I am appalled to see the decline in cleanliness of this city and the ongoing developments near what is considered to be one of Volusia County's environmental gems — the Loop. 

I have worked and volunteered at the Marine Science Center for several years now, helping in wildlife rehabilitation. The Loop is one of the primary areas where birds are released back into the wild after successful recovery. It is home to many birds, mammals and other species (like the endangered gopher tortoise), but it is also continuing to be encroached on by human activity and development. New development in this area displaces these populations in many ways. I can guarantee we will have more patients (if they even make it to the clinic) since they are being scared into roads with oncoming traffic, or chasing prey and wind up being hit by vehicles.

Unfortunately, as much as the public appreciates our efforts, I do not feel the county will have the same urge to help fix this problem. Each year the number of wildlife fatalities grows higher for bird species alone. Nobody in the county's administration is publicly showing concern for these growing problems, and the lack of education on these matters shows itself when decisions are made.

I love this county and the Loop, and I wish all the best for its future. However, I and many other people worry for it. Traffic has increased over the years, and bikers/tourists have complained to me personally about how congested it has become. Another major problem that will only increase with development is litter — and I am embarrassed to say that the county looks like it blatantly ignores this problem. Even as a nation, we should be embarrassed for the amount of trash laying off the sides of our roads. I have travelled to many countries, and the only places I can compare us to is underdeveloped countries when it comes to managing waste. 

I am asking and urging the city, as well as Volusia County, to be mindful of the environment it sits on, and perhaps rethink the decision of letting the Loop be encroached on even further with a more educated perspective. 

Gina Giacona 

Ormond Beach

 

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