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Opinion
Ormond Beach Observer Wednesday, Jul. 22, 2020 2 weeks ago

6 letters: Save the Loop, and residents advocate for Jeff Brower for County Council chair

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Also, City Commission Zone 2 candidate comments on new medjool palms and Steering Committee members talk about the experience of serving.
by: Guest Writer

Save the Ormond Scenic Loop from deforestation 

Dear Editor:

The Save the Ormond Beach Loop from Deforestation petition has 58,000 signatures. On July 28th at 7:00 p.m., the Ormond Beach City Commissioners have a choice to make concerning development on the Ormond Scenic Loop Byway. An amendment requires a vote, although when a developer asks for an amendment, the city can negotiate something for themselves. Phase three has not been cleared and retention ponds have been dug. Phase one has an area not cleared along the byway. Here are several possibilities the city can work towards:

1) The city of Ormond Beach could purchase some of the land.

2) Florida Forever and/or Volusia Forever could purchase land for conservation.

3) The Trust for Public Land can help with #1 and #2.

4) The buffer along the byway could be enlarged from 175 feet to over 250 feet since it has yet to be cleared.

5) Larger lot sizes help save trees, increase property values, and reduce traffic. Larger homes would bring higher taxes to the city to reduce traffic.

6) Implement 70% native plants to reduce watering needs.

7) Reduce the speed limit.

8) Install a gate at the entrance of the development for emergency vehicles only.

There are many things to consider with this development, including traffic, environmental damage, water usage, and future costs to the city of Ormond Beach. Fifty-eight thousand people are using their voices to Save the Loop and expect to be heard. The Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail is more than a canopy over the road. 

Natalie Pilipczak

Port Orange

Why I support Jeff Brower

Dear Editor:

Citizens of Volusia County will make their voices heard during the August primary. My vote will go to Jeff Brower for Volusia County Chair because he understands environmental problems we are facing and will work to fix them.

He believes in property owner rights but understands rezoning of properties often does not protect our wetlands and overdevelopment comes with many problems. Our drinking water matters and is a priority to Jeff.

A lesser known issue he has been working to find solutions for is commercial composting of biosolids. Biosolids are the sludge left over from wastewater treatment plants. Currently, our biosolids are dumped on land in Central Florida creating problems with toxic run off. He found the Sustainable Generation System as a viable solution for composting biosolids that can safely be turned into a compost for public use.

Jeff understands the environmental problems caused by plastics. His plan is to add more garbage cans to the beach, pursue fines for littering, launch business sponsored Terracycle cigarette butt collection, add water refill stations and implement an educational outreach program to raise awareness.

He wants better transparency and oversight of the Volusia Forever program. Volusia Forever is a great conservation program but can be even greater with strong leadership oversight. I support Volusia Forever being the strongest program possible.

Jeff is a strong supporter of permaculture, which are agricultural systems designed to be sustainable and self-sufficient. He is a member of Volusia Soil and Water. His forward-thinking ideas for our environment are refreshing. We are long overdue for a County Council chair that represents the people.

Suzanne Scheiber

Ormond Beach

Medjool me once…

Dear Editor:

The Ormond Beach City Commission will plant 103 Medjool date palms in the medians on Granada Boulevard, between Orchard Street and the I-95 interchange. These trees cost $4,800 each, for a total of just under $500,000 and installation and other costs total out at nearly $1 million. An FDOT grant has presumably underwritten some portion of the cost, though recurring maintenance expenses will be on the city’s dime.

This big ticket, cosmetic expenditure continues a city government pattern of spending decisions without general public mandate, catering to special interests instead. The city’s main arteries now resemble Dubai, not a Florida coastal city with live oak trees and native vegetation.

Medjool date palms originated in the Middle East, don’t grow naturally in Florida, and have a limited tolerance for humidity and rain. They must be planted in sand that drains well with no
turf or anything else planted around them, requiring constant monitoring of sensitive nutrient and fertilizer needs. In winter, these trees are vulnerable to severe cold snaps.

Currently, lethal bronzing, an insect-borne disease that originated in the Tampa area, continues to ravage and kill palm trees in every corner of the Florida peninsula.

If a Medjool date palm is lost, another Medjool can’t be replanted in the same spot unless all the soil is removed and replaced with sand. For that reason, experts recommend against planting the trees as part of a landscape design.

Ken Smith

Ormond Beach

Editor's note: Ken Smith is a candidate in the City Commission Zone 2 race.

Jeff Brower is our man

Dear Editor:

Choosing a candidate for any office is stressful, but this year I have no doubts as to who I will cast my vote for County Council Chair. Jeff Brower is our man!

Jeff is a good man with a huge heart. He is a great family man, an organic farmer and raises beef, Jeff lends a helping hand to friends and strangers alike. When called upon, Jeff and his family are first in line to help and organize.

Jeff has been keenly involved in wastewater management and the preservation of our waterways. Joining citizens in the fight to clean up our waterways, preserve our wetlands and trying to prevent overgrowth on our wetlands as well, Jeff has proved to be honest and trustworthy and not afraid to tell us no when we are wrong.

I know Jeff and his lovely wife personally. They are a good Christian family raising their children to be good helpful citizens who volunteer to help their neighbors, and take care of their environment.

I encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with Jeff Brower and his campaign to become our next County Council Chair. Jeff is highly knowledgeable about our area, the environment, our waterways, and we need a person who is reliable and trustworthy. Jeff will dedicate himself to this job and our county will benefit from having Jeff as a truly honest leader for Volusia County.  

Vote for Jeff Brower for County Council Chair... I just did.

Janet Nutt

Ormond Beach

A vote for Brower is a win-win

Dear Editor:

Proud to be a long term resident of Ormond by the Sea, along with my parents. My dad has since passed. We hold our community dear to our hearts. Over the past few years, we have experienced a very noticeable increase in traffic not only on A1A but Granada Boulevard. We are so happy to endorse Jeff Brower for Volusia County Chair. In the past, local officials have mostly turned a deaf ear to the voices of its citizens. Jeff Brower has the knowledge and boundless energy and drive to represent the true concerns of the citizens of Volusia county.

Jeff loves this county same as we do, wants to improve and protect our resources for today and future generations. Smart development at this point isn't so smart at all. It's all of us locals who suffer from losing our quality of life that we so dearly cherish. A vote for Jeff Brower is a win-win for every person in Volusia County. Remember once things are gone, bulldozed away, we can never get them back. Taking care of what we already have in much needed. Vote Plan B Jeff Brower!

Diane Choquette

Ormond-by-the-Sea

Serving on the Steering Committee

Dear Editor:

In 2019, I had the great pleasure and privilege to be asked to serve on the branding Steering Committee for Ormond Beach MainStreet. The whole committee was composed of citizens and stakeholders of our wonderful Ormond Beach, and it was a fantastic experience to work with such dedicated and impressive folks!

From A to Z, the experience was handled professionally, democratically and openly; however, there were some particular aspects that stood out to me as exemplary. The first was getting to work more closely with the Ormond Beach MainStreet Executive Director, Julia Truilo. A more professional, talented and genuine advocate for our community you will not find!

The second was the survey that went out to anyone and everyone who wanted to take it within Ormond Beach. The idea was to get as much feedback as possible. The survey went out with the following messaging: “A successful brand will communicate that promise and deliver a positive image for residents, visitors, and investors. The brand will be used to promote businesses and activities, recruit new investment, and contribute to the sense of pride that residents have of their hometown.”

The third most impressive aspect was the team of consultants and experts who helped guide us through the process. This was not a process in which we were told or shown what “they” recommended, but rather, an organic process in which the Steering Committee digested the results of the survey and discussed and confirmed the data, along with our professional and personal perspectives as business owners and residents.

Once our consultants had their concepts, we hosted a series of community round tables inviting everyone to the discussion— and these were very well-attended.

After this comprehensive process, there was another public meeting with the Steering Committee’s proposed concepts, followed up by the Downtown Master Plan public workshops and then another City Commission meeting.

I believe I can say, on behalf of this talented Steering Committee, that we have all been in our share of creative and design processes where we have been frustrated, unimpressed and not listened to. For my part, this was one of the most well-structured, transparent and professionally handled projects in which I have had the pleasure to participate. I am so very proud of Ormond Beach MainStreet’s vision and dedication and am equally proud of the end result—because it came to fruition in such an amazing and thoughtful fashion.

Rene Bell Adams, Judith Stein, Alex Bittner and Thomas MacDonald

Members of the Steering Committee

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