Map showing public ownership in the beachside redevelopment focus area. Courtesy of Beachside Redevelopment Committee.

Beachside Redevelopment Committee talks safety, blighted properties along A1A

Crossing A1A in Ormond could be dangerous due to the city's few mid-block crosswalks.
By: 
Jul. 17, 2017

As part of the beachside redevelopment in the works, Ormond Beach needs safer points of access to the beach along State Road A1A, said planning board director Ric Goss during the Beachside Redevelopment Committee meeting Monday night.

“What we need to do is somehow get people across the street safely,” Goss said.

Ormond Beach currently has only 2 mid-block pedestrian crosswalks on its section of A1A—one in front of Andy Romano Park, and the other in front of Neptune Avenue.

In comparison, Daytona Beach Shores, which spans a total area of about 0.90 square miles, has 12 mid-block pedestrian crosswalks.

“So your life isn’t worth as much if you cross A1A in Ormond Beach than Daytona Beach Shores?” said Maryam Ghyabi, local engineer and committee member. “What’s going on?”

Ghyabi said that comparison tells her there’s no collaboration between the three cities involved in the beachside redevelopment. She added the platform on safety, which she believes to be a top priority for the committee, helped bring to the surface the fact that there is a lack of a cohesive plan for redevelopment so far.

During his presentation, Goss also said a recent safety study identified that Ormond has few beach approaches and they’re not marked well.

City Commissioner Troy Kent forms part of the committee as well. This being his first meeting, he said one of his goals as a Zone 2 commissioner for almost 15 years is attaining beachside redevelopment.

“My hope is that this committee can help me and the city of Ormond Beach send a recommendation to the county on some things that are vitally important,” Kent said.

Kent addressed the lack of beach approaches in Ormond, but due to confusion as to whether or not the Beachside Redevelopment Committee was in charge of those concerns, the matter was tabled until the next meeting.

However, Kent did point out the blighted areas owned by Volusia County near the Cardinal beach approach—including Stacey’s Buffet building and the old Waffle House.

Kent said the county purchased the property without asking an Ormond Beach representative about their opinion on turning it into off-beach parking.

Personally, Kent said, he likes hearing Volusia County Chair Ed Kelly talk about selling those blighted properties to a landowner who could turn them into something better.

Committee member Chris Bowler said one of the reasons for the unchanged condition of the blighted properties is the loss of entitlements that would result if they tore them down.

“That’s a problem, I think, throughout the beachfront and I’m glad [Kent] identified it,” Bowler said.

The fact that Ormond Beach didn’t know the county bought that property up there is an example of inconsistency within the cities, committee member Kent Sharples said.

“The issue of safety shouldn’t be handled city by city,” Sharples said. “It should be handled consistently from Ormond Beach all the way down to Ponce Inlet.”

The next Beachside Redevelopment Committee meeting will take place on Aug. 21.