Also: Writer responds to letter about Granada Pointe
City must fix North Nova Road for safety
Just before 5 p.m. on Friday, March 22, I was about to leave the Avante Nursing Home when suddenly I heard a thunderous crash, followed by loud cries. As I walked toward the sound, a plume of dark smoke shot into the air, then quickly faded. Others nearby also heard or witnessed what had happened: A terrible accident involving a motorcycle and an SUV.
People began rushing to the scene to see how they could help. Some began directing traffic, doing their best to keep a sense of calm in a very dire situation. It took at least ten minutes for the first responder to arrive — a fire truck with emergency personnel. I watched in horror as the scene before me continued to unfold. What I saw was a mangled cycle and a body lying in the road. Someone placed a partial cover over the victim. A short time later, the emergency crew replaced the makeshift cover with an "official" sheet — and then we knew for sure. Several bystanders wondered out loud where the police were. Two motorcycle policemen showed up, but it was at least 15-20 minutes after the accident before police cars finally arrived. It was a devastating scene.
The site of the accident occurred at the main entrance to the Trails Shopping Center on Nova Road in Ormond Beach. Directly across the street is Avante Nursing Home.This juncture is a major crossroad for cars traveling either north or south on Nova, or turning from Nova into the shopping center, or exiting the shopping center onto Nova, or navigating from Old Kings Road onto Nova. These particular intersecting routes are dangerous, and the city of Ormond needs to fix the problem --- now. By the time I left the area (around 6:15 p.m.), the body of the person who had been killed in front of the Trails Shopping Center was still lying in the road. There was no ambulance, no EVAC or other vehicle to remove his body. By then, the police had surrounded the area, re-routing traffic along the entire stretch between Granada and Wilmette Ave.
This was a grievous and senseless tragedy. No amount of blame or fault-finding can bring that person back to life. Sadly, it is not the first time that someone has died at that location. It is imperative, therefore, that we as a community demand an immediate change to that section of Nova Road. What was once a two-lane truck route is now a six-lane highway. The distance along Nova from Granada Blvd. north to Wilmette Ave.is probably less than a mile, yet in recent years it's become a race track. Today it takes a steady eye and quick reflexes to successfully maneuver through turning traffic and oncoming speedsters. Why is this area not patrolled by the Ormond Beach police?
Also, there is no crosswalk in the area of the Trails Shopping Center. We citizens need and deserve better protection. There should be a stoplight on Nova Rd. at the intersection of the Trails Shopping Center and Old Kings Road. If a local developer can get his way with halting traffic on West Granada so as to accommodate his "Wawa development," then so should we citizens have a stoplight for safety purposes on North Nova Road.
On Oct. 28, 2016, there was a public meeting with FDOT and city representatives on pedestrian safety on Nova Road in the Trails Shopping Center area. Richard Morrow, of FDOT, said the next step would be for FDOT and the city to discuss what should be done.
Response to letter from Sipes
My name is Bryan Shaffer, I am Paul Holub’s son. I would like to take a moment to respond to the Sipes recent Letter to the Editor as well as an Opinion Letter that were printed in your paper recently.
Once again, the Sipes are being allowed to spout off falsities without any repercussions. When I speak at a City Commission meeting, or through a letter to the editor, or an opinion letter, I am also representing my father and our company and anything I say or write has to be backed up with facts. The Sipes, however, have taken the approach of our current political climate and the “say anything you want” way of trying to spread misinformation … throw out anything and everything and hope something sticks and the public believes you. So, like I had to do many times during the election season, I am writing this to continue to correct the lies that they continue to perpetuate to our community about the Granada Pointe project.
1. They claim that the concrete slab with rebar hooks that is located on the Granada Pointe property is there because they are “needed when a gas station is on a floodplain, so that the tanks won’t float away.” First off, while the property is still currently designated as being in a floodplain, that is only because FEMA has not come and surveyed the land to confirm that it no longer is. The proposed floor elevation for WaWa and every building that will go onto Granada Pointe will take it out of the floodplain, and this will be confirmed when FEMA amends their designation as will be requested when the WaWa or any building is completed. That was the whole point of adding fill to the property, to make sure it would no longer be in the floodplain. Second, the concrete slab with hooks isn’t going to “float away,” because it will be buried with the tank on top of the slab, 18 feet underground. If the writer of the letter knew anything factual about this project whatsoever, they would know that the concrete slab is usually fabricated above ground, and then lowered by crane (the reason for the hooks) into the excavated area where it will provide the foundation for the tanks. It is a lot easier to form and pour the slab above ground than it is in an 18-foot deep hole. If the Sipes or anyone at Cando2 actually took the time and accepted any of the multiple offers my father has made to them to sit down and speak about the project and answer ANY questions, maybe they wouldn’t be making themselves look very uneducated claiming a gas tank buried 18’ underground is going to “float away.”
2. Of the 8.6 acres of residential property that was rezoned, only 2.2 acres of it was rezoned commercial, the rest was rezoned from residential to conservation, and those 2.4 acres are in no way connected to WaWa or the Car Wash, the two things they continually are bringing up.
3. The WaWa Gas station was not a special exception as they claim. It was added as a permitted use within the PBD and is not treated as a special exception.
4. You do NOT have to have a Planned Business Development to assemble adjoining parcels. This process is done all the time with or without a PBD on both the commercial and residential property and can be approved at staff level with a Unity of Title Agreement. Claiming this is a “loophole” is again incorrect further proof that writer has no knowledge of the Land Development Code within our city.
5. They also talk about surrounding homeowners. The Sipes live five miles away from Granada Pointe. It’s admirable that they are thinking of their fellow Ormond Beach neighbors, however have the Sipes actually taken the time to speak to the residents who are actually adjacent to the development? We have, and the majority of them support it and look forward to it being completed. Some have even written letters or spoken at City Commission meetings in support of the project.
The rest of their letter is opinion, and they are entitled to that just like everyone else. If there is one thing that I can take away as a positive from their letter is that, in their own words, it is their “final thoughts” on the project. Thankfully that means I won’t have to waste time out of my day correcting their false statements anymore.
I also wanted to address one opinion letter that was recently published. On March 21st one writer claimed that Paul Holub did not make any contributions to Susan Persis campaign and maybe his lack of contribution is why she voted against the car wash. That is false. My father (and myself) fully supported and campaigned for Susan Persis during the election, and we both continue to fully support her regardless of her position on the car wash. We will always support those who we feel are the most qualified to represent ALL of Ormond Beach with their leadership and decision making.
Editor’s Note: The water reservoir in Granada Pointe is in an area that was rezoned from residential to open space/conservation and serves as a stormwater management area. The Wawa, a convenience/gas store, could not have been built without a Planning Business Development zoning classification. The restaurant with a drive-thru, no longer in the plans, was a Special Exception under the original zoning designation.
This 'n that - & the last word
The past 12 months have been a whirlwind filled with emotions and political ups and downs. Yes, the city commission incumbents won their respective seats along with their hand-selected newcomer.
As we slide into the new political year, it became evident why it was so necessary for the developer to front the City Commission to their current positions. This maneuver guaranteed him clear sailing with the Wawa and car wash projects.
Ms. Persis, you defended the developer and called me down for my commentary about him during my speech back in February regarding the car wash issue. What was said during my allotted three minutes was merely fact. There was nothing incorrect. No lies.
On March 21, you were now defending the City Commission, specifically the mayor, regarding my feelings about the City Commission, especially the mayor. His choice of words to push the car wash issue to a final positive vote was, truly, a contrivance of narcistic behavior. Again, there was negative response to my commentary. As I have written, and spoken, before, what I deliver is just honesty from the heart.
You have to sit with the peons in the peanut gallery to understand OUR feelings. The City Commission, in OUR eyes, does not care for, respect, or give a damn about OUR wishes, wants or needs. As the "new kid on the block," the general public was looking for more out of you than just defending your four buddies — and their buddies.
You and the other four who sit on your thrones in the city chambers during the commission meetings should have more compassion for what is right FOR the general public and the city of Ormond Beach, which we so dearly care about. As I stated at the March 21 meeting, many residents do not show up for these meetings as they are frustrated with the closed minded, and controlling, attitude of the commission.
Let's take one simple example of how blinders do not let the commission see outside the box. A tidy sum in excess of $1.25 million has been dedicated for the placement of a floating dock at Cassen Park — great for the few who have the "boatability" to use same. In the meantime, countless individuals utilize Nova Road (in the general vicinity of Publix). Wouldn't that same $1+ million serve more people somehow in some manner to keep them safe on a road in an area that has been suspect for longer than I have been a resident of this community.
And, finally Mr. Mayor, for perhaps one week, I shall have the last word. Every commission decision ends with the commission itself taking as much time as it needs to render a decision, thereby getting in the last word. That was the case at the March 21 commission meeting where you took offense to the comments made by the various residents who spoke against the car wash, and the commission in general. You referred to them as "disingenuous." Well sir, in my opinion it takes a narcissist to label an adversary as disingenuous. In fact, due to our genuine and sincere care for the city of Ormond Beach, I find your commentary most insincere about the most loyal citizens of the city.
Whatever happened to government by the people, for the people — maybe even with the people!