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Opinion
Ormond Beach Observer Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2018 2 months ago

In defense of Ormond Beach development, despite CANDO 2 tactics

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The city's approach to growth has helped make Ormond a top city in Volusia.

Updated 4:28 p.m. Sept. 17.

Paul Holub

Guest Writer

I am the developer of Granada Pointe and have been in the commercial and residential development business since 1985, now going on 33 years. The majority of my projects have been in Ormond Beach, developing the lion's share of commercial, office professional and medical office in our community, predominantly west of Nova Road.

I have watched with great patience over the last five months as the CANDO 2 group has attacked my projects, both past and current, but more importantly I have sat on the sidelines witnessing their group, leaders and candidates attack my family, including my spouse, daughter and son. 

It has surfaced in a variety of ways through social media, public discussion, editorials, radio interviews and newspaper articles. One CANDO member even wrote a letter to a CEO of a national chain that we are under a long-term business lease with and made totally inaccurate, false and misleading statements about the Granada Pointe project in an effort to discourage the business from making a $5 million investment into our community. He did not send the contents of the letter as his opinion; he instead crossed the legal benchmark and inflicted tortious interference with my business contracts and slandered me. 

These are just some of the tactics that CANDO leaders, candidates and followers use because the "facts" will diminish their platform. 

They have hidden behind various pseudonyms on social media when attacking Granada Pointe and the city commissioners. 

They have even attacked a recent editorial from my daughter, even though her theme was simply, "Please wait until the project is completed before you judge it." 

I am beyond proud that my son, daughter and family members have written editorials. They have more factual information on the project then any CANDO candidate or member has displayed. They wrote the letters for the community to help share accuracy for the project. 

CANDO's leaders

On Feb. 23, 2018, a group of CANDO — or, soon to be CANDO — members picketed at the Granada Pointe site. One of them was Jeff Boyle, and I stopped and had a conversation with him. Over the weekend, we exchanged informational and cordial emails. 

On the following Monday, Jeff and his group had a meeting at the Peach Valley restaurant at Tuscany Shoppes. (By the way, this project was also clear cut and then new trees and landscaping were put in place, so this should be a great example of what the Granada Pointe project will look like when fully developed.)

Jeff then came to my office, where we spoke for about one hour, and he told me that his group was not going to attack me, nor use my project as their platform and that their issues where with city regulations. We shook hands, and I took him on his word.

However, just the opposite of that has occurred, with Jeff and their members using this one project as their base to falsely engage the community. During my discussions with Jeff, I invited his group to meet with me at my office (also located at Tuscany Shoppes), so that we could review from start to the finish line how I as the developer designed and permitted the project. 

I also followed this up in later months with Julie Sipes in an email and said that I would rent a meeting hall, bring my design consultants, engineer and real estate broker and go through the entire design and permitting hurdles to help them better understand the developer process. I told them that in the end we still may not agree on development issues but ''both'' sides would be better informed of the "facts" from my side, and I, as a developer, would better understand their ultimate goals with city regulations. 

Both of my invitations were declined, and I now understand why: because they do not want their followers to be privy to the facts and the process. That would only diminish their objective, which is to elect all five candidates of the CANDO slate and enact a moratorium on all development.

Campaign contributions

The fact is that Granada Pointe would have been developed exactly the same even if the antiquated wetland rules of the 1980s were in effect. One candidate alleges that I received approval because I made campaign contributions. I do not receive staff, Planning Board and City Commission approval for my projects based on contributions; I earn it with careful design, landscape and hardscape enhancements that go beyond the codes. 

I do not receive staff, Planning Board and City Commission approval based on campaign contributions. I earn it with careful design.

Another writer claims that CANDO is not against developers nor development; has he even bothered to read their platform positions or social media attacks? A recent editorial was more aggressive, with the main focus on campaign contributions and questioned my support for some of the current commissioners. 

I have made hundreds of contributions to many local, county, state and federal candidates, most of which I have never met. I support candidates in partisan elections on both sides of the aisle because I believe they will be good for our community, state and country. I have supported County Council candidates for over 30 years, yet the last time I was in the council chambers on a development project was probably 12 years ago.

There are current and past city commissioners I have supported who have voted against my projects. So, please, do not make accusations that are false and only serve your political advancement.   

I will personally do what I can over the next several months to reach out to our neighbors, friends, business owners and all residents, both inside the city limits and those in the adjoining county limits that also call Ormond Beach home, to share with them the facts of the Granada Pointe project, the history of development in our community and the risk of following inexperienced candidates that will instantly reverse the progress that our city has proudly achieved.

We consistently have one of the lowest tax rates out of Volusia's 16 cities, great amenities, sports programs for all ages, the best schools and a fine-tuned budget year after year. If you do not believe our leaders have demanded controlled and careful growth, then take a look at our population from 2010 vs. the population today in our city and you will be very surprised. There is a reason why Ormond Beach is one of, if not the top, destination to live in Volusia County.

The real one-percenters?

Last, in response to Bob Baumer, who attacks anyone living on a road that abuts the Halifax River. What is the rationale to attack where a person resides and label them as the one-percenters? Is it possible that CANDO members are the real one-percenters and the rest of our residents proudly support and enjoy the quality of life, low taxes, a responsible and budget conscious commission, responsive city staff, dedicated fire and police that protect us daily, and citywide amenities that we are all fortunate to have within our great community called Ormond Beach?

Paul F. Holub Jr. has been a developer in Ormond Beach since 1985.

Editor's Note: The last paragraph was corrected to remove the word "your" in relation to CANDO. Bob Baumer has disassociated himself from CANDO 2, although he continues to advocate for the CANDO 2-supported candidates.

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