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Ormond Beach Observer Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 2 months ago

Ormond Beach Planning Board votes to not recommend proposed development of low income housing

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Long-time residents living in the area are concerned their quality of life will change if apartment development goes in.
by: Jacque Estes Community Editor

The six-member Planning Board of Ormond Beach voted 5 to 1 to recommend the city commissioners deny the rezoning of property on Interchange Blvd. from B-7 (highway tourist commercial) to PBD (planned business development), for Tomoka Estates Apartments, a 100-unit complex.  Interchange Blvd. is by Cracker Barrel on the west side of I-95.

Harold Briley, Lori Tolland, Angeline Shull, and Al Jorczak voted to recommend denying the request, Pat Behnke voted to recommend approval. Lewis Heaster recused himself from the vote because of conflict of interest.

Before the meeting Ken Bowron Jr., a Benefical Community agent,  said he hoped to clarify what the build was going to be, and believed it was not being perceived correctly.

The proposal was for low-income apartments that would house 100 families, not unlike Olive Grove apartments on West Granada Blvd. which is also a project of Beneficial Communities.

“Olive Grove is at capacity at 88 and there is a waiting list that we had to close at 600. This is why we want to build 100 homes."

Ken Bowron Jr., a Benefical Community agent

“Olive Grove is at capacity at 88 and there is a waiting list that we had to close at 600,” Bowron said. “This is why we want to build 100 homes.”

Bowron explained that low-income housing requires residents to have an income of about $18,000 to less than $34,000, no drug use, no criminal record, and good credit.   

Bowron stated that crime has not been an issue at Olive Grove and that many of the residents who live there are retirees, hospital, city and county workers whose income is not enough to pay rent on traditional apartment units or houses.

Prior to the meeting, the planning board members had been forwarded emails received from Southern Trace who were against the project, citing concerns about trash, traffic, heightened criminal activity, and drug use. Many of these residents reiterated their concerns before the board on Thursday night.

One concern for the residents who would occupy the housing, was the fact that Votran does not provide bus service on the west side of the highway. The nearest bus stop would be about half a mile away at the Wal-Mart on the east side of the highway. Bowron said shuttle service to the bus stop was an option, and that most residents in their other apartment developments do own a vehicle.

The planning board’s recommendation is expected to be presented to the city commission in September.

This story was corrected on Aug. 16 to reflect the correct income limits.

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