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Opinion
Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Jun. 20, 2022 5 days ago

4 letters: On overdevelopment, airport minutes and upcoming primary elections

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What are your neighbors talking about this week?
by: Guest Writer

No voice in city government

Dear Editor:

I am writing this letter to express my concern about how development has been recklessly approved by the current Ormond Beach City Commission. Why are we allowing overdevelopment to happen? Why are we allowing clearcutting of trees, filling in of wetlands, higher than acceptable housing density, poorly designed stormwater runoff, high traffic on inadequate roads, and inadequate green space, to mention a few?

Any future development must include the following:

  1. The City Commission must vote to restore the regulations and ordinances that were in existence prior to the more lenient St. Johns Water Management Codes. Reverting back to the pre-St. John’s code will provide the needed protection of our wetlands, waterways and greenspaces.
  2. All development must include a plan to protect all of the wetlands and ensure that no clearcutting will take place in any proposed development. This must be presented and approved by the Planning Board prior to being presented to the City Commission.
  3. No zoning changes that increase density in a residential development should be approved. In fact, there must be an effort to reduce residential density. This will lower the impact to stormwater runoff, demand on water usage and traffic within the city.
  4. Re-direct runoff away from any culverts emptying into our rivers.

The above actions/policy decisions will keep Ormond Beach a desirable place we call “home." These are not just my views; many Ormond Beach citizens I have talked with feel the same way.

Joseph Valerio

Ormond Beach

Editor's note: Joseph Valerio is running to represent Zone 1 on the Ormond Beach City Commission.

City's release of public information delayed

Dear Editor:

Residents of Ormond Beach and the surrounding jurisdictions sometimes need to know about discussions at public meetings. The airport runway extension is a controversial topic now and has been discussed at the city's Aviation Advisory Board. The board schedules meetings as needed, which sometimes is months until the next one. 

During the meeting, minutes are recorded and submitted to the city clerk’s office. However, the minutes are not available until the next board meeting, after board approval. A meeting was held Jan. 10, but the next meeting was not held until May 23. The minutes were not available for 142 days, or 19 weeks. If a person cannot attend the meeting, there is no reason the minutes are not made available sooner. 

City code requires the board approval but this code was written in 1983. It's 29 years later and times have changed. One suggestion: a simple clause saying the minutes are available pending final approval by the board. The city clerk needs to make information and minutes available sooner unless they are not wanting citizens to sometimes know what was discussed.

Immediately following the May 23 meeting, I emailed a request to the city clerk to view the minutes and I was denied because of the code requiring approval.   I heard there is also at least one other city advisory board that has the same rules, one being the Planning Board. Change the code and keep people informed that cannot attend the meeting. 

At the city's airport OB Life meeting, I submitted a question about why the minutes could not be made available sooner. The question was never answered in the city’s response to 162 questions. The city’s response did not address the long delay, only what the code requires.

Next item down the road, people are only permitted to comment for three minutes and are timed. How about at least four minutes? Looking forward to a City response. 

Norman Echelberry

Ormond Beach

Your vote matters

Dear Editor:

Qualifying for the 2022 election is over. I want to personally thank all the candidates who give their time to put themselves out before the voters and provide their solutions for the issues before us all.

I also want to remind voters that all voters are eligible to participate in the August primary election regardless of political party registration. All Ormond Beach voters will have two nonpartisan races for Volusia County Council to vote in: At-Large and District 4. Please take the time to research all the candidates in every race on your ballot. Your vote matters.

Joe Hannoush

Ormond Beach

Editor's note: Joe Hannoush is a candidate in the District 6 U.S. Representative race.

Please protect Ormond Beach

Dear Editor:

I live in Tomoka Oaks and even before the recent inflation, my property taxes have gone up. My utility cost for garbage, water, and other items have gone up.

I am starting to feel that I am paying for more traffic, more houses, more safety issues, more jet traffic, another sewage treatment plant, more schools, more rec centers, more storm runoff and other dense community problems.

Ormond Beach City Commissioners and Volusia County Council members: Are you sure that you are protecting the city and current residents? Or are you dangerously building out this beautiful city to the point that city services cannot be adequately delivered.

Are we paying our taxes for development that will make Ormond Beach less safe and less attractive?

We are taxpayers, political campaign contributors and voters. Please hear our voices.

Tom Fitzgibbon

Ormond Beach

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