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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Jul. 22, 2014 4 years ago

City considers taking airport land for business park

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by: Wayne Grant Real Estate Editor

Airport Master Plan will be updated next year.

The city is currently evaluating about 20 acres of airport property as a potential addition to the business park. The property, on the west side of the business park, is commonly referred to as “the old nursery property,” because the city operated a nursery there for about 15 years Plants were grown for other city properties and mulch was developed.

The city decided having the nursery was “not worth it,” said Economic Developer Joe Mannarino, and ceased the operation a few years ago.

The current business park is almost full. Only a 3.2-acre parcel is left, on West Tower Circle, and Mannarino said he has an interested party. The business park consists of 173 acres and about one million square feet of industrial space.

Mannarino said the city commission has indicated in workshops over the past year that staff should assess the nursery area for possible business park expansion. Adding the 20 acres would enable the city to develop and sell more land to businesses, but Mannarino said about eight acres are wetland, which would not be developed.

After the assessment of the property, the Aviation Advisory Board and the City Commission will  decide whether to make a request from the Federal Aviation Administration to acquire the airport property. The city would be required to buy it at fair market value.

“It’s a natural extension of the business park,” Mannarino said. He said the wetlands would prevent developing anything for aviation purposes, such as taxiways.

“You couldn’t get hangars and so forth in there,” he said.

If developed, a road would be extended from the business park to Pineland Trail.

At an Aviation Advisory Board meeting, on July 14, Alan Jorczak, who runs a business in the park, said he had learned about the possible acquisition. He suggested that an airport runway be extended through the site, rather than expanding the business park. He said a plane would be able to reach flying altitude before leaving the airport property, thus reducing noise over surrounding neighborhoods. A longer runway would also attract businesses to the Ormond Beach area, he said.

In an interview after the meeting, Mannarino said that in addition to the wetland issue, the property is too far south of any other improvements at the airport to be useful

“The 20 acres is not encroaching on any aviation uses,” he said. “It’s south of anything that would be going on.”

Mannarino said that the Aviation Advisory Board and City Commission will most likely consider the future of the “old nursery” property in September.

The airport master plan is set to be updated in 2015. A consultant will make recommendations to the city based on an analysis.

At the Aviation Advisor Board meeting, Jorczak said it would be premature to take the land from the airport and turn it into the business park before the master plan is completed.

The entire business park was once part of the airport. In 1960, the city bought the land from the FAA so that a business park could be developed.

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