The city will hold six meetings over six months.
Ormond Beach city officials are asking for citizen input to help update the city's strategic plan via a series of upcoming civic engagement workshops on key issues that have recently sparked dialogue in the community, such as development and the environment which have lately been hot topics during audience remarks at City Commission meetings.
There will be six OB Life meetings in a period of six months, all honing in on one particular issue of interest. Each meeting will be held at the Calvary Christian Academy Kids Center and will last about two hours. During the two-hour meeting, the city will present a couple of 10-15 minute presentations and open the remaining time for questions and comments.
Residents will be sat in round tables of up to eight people, with bowls in the center for questions and post-it notes for comments.
“We’re not just pushing out information," City Manager Joyce Shanahan said. "We’re also receiving information. This is a time for them to provide their feedback.”
She said she believes the first meeting on June 28 on community development will likely be one of the most well-attended because
citizens care about what is going on in the Granada corridor. Shanahan said the city has heard from groups like CANDO 2, of which group leaders requested the city put a six-month moratorium, or temporary ban, on commercial development. But she said the group didn't launch the city's initiative, as she and the mayor had been talking about civic engagement since October of last year.
“Certainly, CANDO helped quicken the pace a little bit, but it wasn’t a direct reaction to CANDO," Shanahan said. "But we do acknowledge some of the views that they hold, some of our other residents may hold and we want to hear from the broad range of people in our community.”
Meetings will be moderated by an independent third-party — Rafael Montalvo from the University of Central Florida. The first meeting will feature short presentations by City Planning Director Steven Spraker and Ormond Mainstreet Executive Director Julia Truilo.
The city will also introduce a way for people, including non-residents, to provide feedback with a forum on the city's web page, which is coming soon. Notices of the OB Life series of meetings are underway to all the city's water customers, and all will get them within a week of the first meeting.
Shanahan said the city upholds transparency and that is why it is holding the workshops.
“We know that after the recession, a lot of people want to call Ormond Beach home," Shanahan said. "It’s a great community. It’s got a great quality of life and during the recession, there was not much building in our community, and so I think we had a sense of ‘this is the way it’s always going to be.’”
During the recession, Shanahan said she heard some residents ask why they had to travel to other cities, like Port Orange, for certain restaurants. Now, they have those restaurants in Ormond Beach. She added that Ormond Beach is "hamstrung" on commercial development because it doesn't have as much developable land compared to neighboring cities.
“It’s kind of a mixed bag," Shanahan said. "The people are interested in the quality of life of amenities as well as preserving the character and the quality of Ormond Beach.”