"You have to have some bite with your bark," said Ormond Beach City Commissioner Troy Kent.
The Beachside Redevelopment Committee met for the second to last time on Thursday, March 22 to review the final list of recommendations on how to improve the beachside and identified one key issue as the most important: code enforcement.
“If anything else, this is the number one issue,” said Committee Chair Tony Grippa.
The Beachside Redevelopment Committee has been meeting regularly since it was created in June. Nine months later, and it is nearly at the finish line in terms of highlighting specific areas, projects and issues to improve blight on the beachside from Ormond Beach to Daytona Beach Shores. At its core, it has focused on Daytona Beach, and their code enforcement discussion was no exception.
Grippa wondered how every other community was handling code enforcement, as he didn't see Ormond Beach or Daytona Beach Shores having problems with it. Ormond Beach City Commissioner Troy Kent said it is one of the issues he's most proud of in his 15 years of serving in the city. He said Ormond's success is due to good communication with city staff and sticking with their regulations even when people came before the board with "sob stories" in order to reduce or eliminate liens on their properties.
Eventually, the city will get paid, he said, adding that code enforcement problems arise as soon as people realize the city doesn't hold its residents accountable, and, that this doesn't happen by simply adding code enforcement officers in certain areas.
“You have to have some bite with your bark," Kent said.
Committee member Dave LaMotte, who owns Salty Dog Surf Shop in Daytona Beach, agreed with Kent. He said businesses in the area have suffered due to lax code enforcement, especially at times where the city is booming with non-residents like during Bike Week. The problem, LaMotte said, stems from the lack of leadership from the city of Daytona Beach on this issue.
“Nothing ever gets done except penalizing the people that have been here and paid property taxes over and over again for 40 years," LaMotte said.
The committee also reviewed recommendations for specific areas on the beachside such as improved lighting, landscaping, adding crosswalks and creating a gateway into the beachside via the East ISB bridge. Its final meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 16, at the Dennis R. McGee Room inside the Daytona Beach International Airport.