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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Apr. 30, 2018 1 year ago

Five-story commercial and residential building could replace Ormond Beach's Fountain Square Shopping Village

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The redevelopment, and demolition, of the current plaza is a permitted use.
by: Jarleene Almenas News Editor

Ormond Beach may soon see more changes in development, as demonstrated in a neighborhood meeting on Monday, April 30, for the possible demolition of the Fountain Square Shopping Village to build a five-story building with commercial retail on the first floor and 22 units on the top four — an allowed use under the site's current zoning. 

About 20 residents, including current tenants of the building, attended the meeting to voice their concerns regarding the proposed building's five-story height, traffic and the future of the current businesses who have leases in the Fountain Square Shopping Village.  The meeting was conducted by Brad Bauknecht, vice-president of Newkirk Engineering, and, building owner Mark Venables, of Across the Pond Developments, LLC, was also in attendance.

Bauknecht said there is no established timeframe for the redevelopment of the project to date, and, that if the project moved forward,

A rendering of what the proposed five-story building would look like. Courtesy of Newkirk Engineering, Inc.

it wasn't going to happen immediately. 

“We’re not here to kick anybody out," Bauknecht said.

Having a neighborhood meeting is an Ormond Beach Land Development Code requirement, even for a permitted use. The land is zoned Central Business B-4, so the proposed project would not need a zoning change to demolish the existing plaza and construct a mixed-use building with 5,924 square feet of retail. 

Planning Director Steven Spraker said the project follows the city's downtown master plan, which was updated in 2007 after several community-wide meetings were held to form development ideas as to how Ormond Beach's downtown, from Orchard Street to A1A, would look over time. 

“From a city perspective, we’re looking at our land development code, the downtown master plan, and basically whether or not this use is an allowed use in this zoning district — which it is," Spraker said.

Because it is a permitted use, the project did not need to go through the city's planning board or City Commission. In order for it to be reviewed by the City Commission, Spraker said citizens could appeal to the site plan review committee. 

“My future consists of what I agreed upon and signed a lease upon seven months ago. This is my future.”

Brent Toomey, owner of Monreve Gallery of Fine Art

Some current tenants had a problem with how they found out about the possible demolition of the building. Brent Toomey, owner of Monreve Gallery of Fine Art, said he understood where the developers were coming from, citing the neglect of the property, but expressed he wished he had been told this could be a possibility when he first signed his lease.

“My future consists of what I agreed upon and signed a lease upon seven months ago," Toomey said. "This is my future.”

Another tenant, who said she has been in the Fountain Square Shopping Village for six years, said she and the other tenants should have been notified of this meeting, calling it a matter of loyalty. 

Bauknect said notices were provided to all surrounding owners. Residents from the Fountain Square Condos said they received one letter for all 40 units. 

The call for Ormond Beach's need to have a citizen review committee for all development was reiterated by one resident, who said

Brad Bauknecht, vice-president of Newkirk Engineering and Fountain Square Shopping Village owner Mark Venables listen to citizen input during the neighborhood meeting on April 30. Photo by Jarleene Almenas

many like how the town looks now and don't want it to drastically change. Another resident referenced the recent deforestation on West Granada Boulevard for the upcoming Granada Pointe development and said going forward with this proposal would be "one more foot in the grave for Ormond Beach" and that it must be stopped.

Other residents brought up that there were no large-scale visuals on a board for them to see what the building would look like if completed. That, coupled with the lack of chairs provided, led some citizens to voice their disapproval at the casual nature of the meeting. Bauknect provided details of the project on a standard size sheets of paper in the front of the room. 

Spraker agreed with the citizens and suggested the meeting be held again on another date, in another location where visuals could be easily shown. 

“It’ll give everyone in this room a chance to look at the master plan so that you can see that this isn’t just some haphazard plan," Spraker said. "There is a true redevelopment plan. It may not answer all your questions, but it may answer some of them of basically what the city is trying to do in the downtown.”

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