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Ormond Beach Observer Friday, Dec. 3, 2021 1 month ago

Avalon will move forward: Ormond Beach hosts second OB Life workshop

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Civic engagement meeting examines utilities, public safety.
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

How will Avalon Park Daytona Beach impact Ormond Beach's utilities and public safety resources?

City staff members weighed in on the topic during the second and final OB Life: Westward Focus community workshop, held at Calvary Christian Church on Thursday, Dec. 2. With a physical attendance of 28 people and 103 online, according to the city, the workshop — modeled after the city's 2018 civic engagement series — outlined the city's water and sewer service agreement with Daytona Beach, future improvements to Leisure Services on the west side of the city and how Avalon Park will impact fire and police. 

Though ultimately slated to be a 10,000-home development with 1 million square feet of commercial retail by 20145, the Avalon Park project will start by constructing 3,250 homes and 200,000 square feet of commercial retail by 2030, a goal split in two phases for the former Minto Communities land parcel south of State Road 40 near Breakaway Trails. City Public Works Director Shawn Finley said that equates to about 400 new homes a year, from the time the project breaks ground in 2022. 

Providing utilities

Some in the community hoped the project, which is under the jurisdiction of the city of Daytona Beach, could be stopped, perhaps by the city of Ormond Beach declining to provide utilities, as outlined in a 2006 settlement with Daytona Beach. This is not possible.

"The Avalon Daytona project will move forward," Finley said. "The agreement that we have provides that in the event Ormond Beach is unable or unwilling to serve as the utility provider, Daytona Beach will serve as the utility provider."

The settlement agreement was the result of a 2002 legal dispute after 2,890 acres owned by Consolidated Tomoka Land Company, Inc. was annexed into the city of Daytona Beach. Per the agreement, Ormond Beach will provide Daytona with utilities at a wholesale rate, and Daytona will serve as the retail provider. Daytona Beach will be responsible for paying water impact fees equivalent to Ormond Beach's, as well as finance any improvements needed to Ormond Beach's water transmission system that are not covered by impact fees. 

Ormond Beach is also beginning its process to update its consumptive use permit from the St. Johns River Water Management District. The permit dictates how much water Ormond is able to withdraw from the state's aquifer. 

"That permit is set to expire I think in 2024," Finley said. "We knew that with the importance of this project, the magnitude of this project, it was important for us to get a head start on that."

More people, more public safety resources needed

The area west of I-95 in Ormond Beach falls within Ormond Beach Police's patrol zone 7, which experienced 2,950 calls for service from January to mid-November of this year. In comparison, citywide, OBPD reported 78,273 calls for service for the same time period.

Ormond Beach Police Chief Jesse Godfrey said that with the construction of Avalon Park, his department is planning to add more officers and remap patrol zones based on calls for service. OBPD is also anticipating more traffic-related incidents, though numbers currently are not alarming. From January to mid-November, there have been 47 crashes from Breakaway Trails to the I-95 interchange, the majority of which didn't result in injuries. 

And with more people moving into the area as a result of the project, Ormond Beach Fire Chief Richard Sievers said the proposed station to be built within Avalon Park will be a benefit to the community. Currently, Fire Station 94 at 2301 Airport Road  — the city's western station — has one of the lowest call volumes in the city. Over the last five years, Sievers said it has averaged about 1,200 calls every year. 

During the Q+A portion of the workshop, one resident asked if the city is looking to increase salaries for first responders. City Manager Joyce Shanahan said agreement negotiations with the city's collective bargaining units are beginning soon.

"We are trying our best to keep morale up and continue to respect and honor those that protect and serve our community, and I'm sure we'll be able to come to an agreement that is acceptable to everyone," she said.

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