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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018 1 week ago

Neighbors divided about parking lot plans

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A house on Granada Boulevard would be demolished for the lot.
by: Wayne Grant Real Estate Editor

Those who regularly drive Granada Boulevard are familiar with the “Fiesta Heights” lettering on the white fence at Fiesta Drive just west of Nova Road. The first house on the left on Fiesta Drive is targeted to become a parking lot for the adjacent commercial building, and neighbors were invited to a meeting Oct. 9 to get their feedback on the plans. Letters were sent to residents within 600 feet of the parking lot.

The parking lot would require city approval of zoning and land use changes.

“We want to be good neighbors,” said John Hamlin, owner of the building at 801 W. Granada Blvd., which houses Hamlin and Associates, a marketing company. He said he wanted to get input and ideas from the neighbors. The house that would be removed has been purchased by Hamlin and is in a deteriorated condition.

Hamlin received mixed comments from more than 30 residents at the meeting.

While some speakers from the audience were OK with decorative landscaping and a wall, others were opposed to the entire idea, saying it would change the character of their neighborhood.

“This is not a commercial area; it’s a neighborhood,” one resident said.

“We want to be good neighbors.”

JOHN HAMLIN, business owner

One big decision was made early in the meeting. Hamlin said one possibility would be to have an exit from the parking lot onto Fiesta Heights. A round of objections from the audience convinced Hamlin to plan for the lot to be enclosed on three sides by a wall and decorative landscaping and to be accessible only from the current building parking lot. The neighbors said an exit on Fiesta Drive would add to the congestion of the intersection with Granada Boulevard.

Another resident was concerned about big trees being cut down. Hamlin said he didn’t know about trees yet, because a plan has not been created.

Asked about parking lot lighting, Hamlin said the lights would be low and not shine onto the houses.

Audience members also said a security guard would be needed to keep people from wandering into the lot, and Hamlin said he was open to that idea.

 

THE NEXT STEPS

 

Before the house can be demolished and the lot paved over, the city must approve a change to the comprehensive land use and also the zoning. The Planning Board would first review the requests in a public meeting and make their recommendations. The City Commission would then make the final decision at regular public meetings.

Meeting dates and agendas for the Planning Board and the City Commission can be found at ormondbeach.org.

If approved by the City Commission, a site plan would be reviewed by the city’s Site Plan Review Commission. As part of that process, a neighborhood meeting would be held, where residents could express their opinions about the plan.

The upcoming meetings will likely hear debate.

“You’re going to have to get this rezoned, right?” asked an audience member who opposes the project. “We’ll be there.”

 

WHY IT’S NEEDED

 

A complete restoration of the Hamlin building was recently completed. Currently, the second floor is empty, but plans call for it to be filled with employees in what Hamlin calls a “concierge service.” Employees will answer phones for companies around the country, so their customers do not need to navigate a menu or be on hold for a long time.

These added employees will need a place to park, so the company’s solution is to expand parking into the lot on Fiesta Drive.

Some audience members were concerned about how busy the lot would be. Hamlin said he didn’t know yet how many employees would be hired, but they would not be there past 8 p.m.

A preliminary drawing shows 29 parking spaces.

 

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