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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 4 years ago

Ormond moves closer to control over U.S. 1

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by: Wayne Grant Real Estate Editor

Itinerant vendors on empty lots will be affected.

After four years of negotiations with the county, the city is another step closer to solving the problems of North U.S. 1, a road that travels through a checkerboard of county and city jurisdictions.

The problem has been twofold. It’s been difficult to efficiently provide services, such as police and fire, and without city control, the stretch has not been developed to the liking of Ormond Beach officials and businessmen.

The situation got a lot of attention several years ago when an adult-oriented business, called Cheaters, opened in a pink building on U.S. 1 on property located in the county. It was not seen as a desirable development by many city officials and business leaders.

On July 29, the City Commission voted to approve the Interlocal Service Boundary Agreement  with the county in a first reading. The city is scheduled have its final reading, and expected approval, on Aug. 19, and the county will consider it on Aug. 21. After that, there will be several public meetings involving land development code changes and comprehensive plan amendments which will take four to six months, according to City Attorney Randy Hayes.

After that’s all done, Ormond Beach will be able to apply its codes and regulations to businesses along the entire stretch of U.S. 1. Residential areas in county jurisdictions will not be affected.

Many people see the roadway as an important gateway to the city.

“People think it’s Ormond Beach,” said Chris Butera, of NAI Realvest, a member of the U.S. 1 Task Force, a group of about 30 businesses

Butera said city control over codes and regulations is a needed improvement.

“The county hasn’t been watching,” he said.

There is a separate section in the agreement for the undeveloped lots that normally have itinerant vendors during the motorcycle events. After five years, the itinerant vending will not be allowed.

Butera said hopefully the city can incentivize the owners to develop the properties so they are busy year-round and not just during special events. He said development would also improve the events.

“Let’s make it a better destination for the bike events,” he said.

Hayes agreed, saying the city wants to encourage owners to revitalize and make better use of their properties.

Permanent, year-round businesses have been grandfathered in, and will be able to continue their current practices, including motorcycle events.

Eventually, all of North U.S. 1 will be within the city limits of Ormond Beach, because of annexation. The process started in the 1990s, when developers started to request water service from Ormond Beach.

“The county doesn’t provide water,” Hayes said. “Municipalities normally provide this service.”

The city could not annex the land, however, because state law says that a city can only annex land that is adjacent. So, the city has provided water and sewer to new businesses, with the understanding that it would be annexed as soon as it became contiguous.

Since that time, there have been 50 annexation agreements, Hayes said.

The city has not sought annexation just for the sake of growth, Hayes said. He said it was hard to efficiently provide police and fire services, as well as utilities in an area of varying jurisdictions.

“It’s not the most efficient use of government services,” he said. “That’s the challenge we had.”

The interlocal type of agreement between a city and a county has only been possible since 2006, when made legal by the state legislature.

Hayes said there are only a few other similar agreements in the state.

He said there will still be a lot of coordination between city and county. For example, county storm water regulations will still apply.

City documents state that the agreement will encourage intergovernmental coordination in planning, service delivery, and boundary adjustments; reduce conflicts and litigation between local governments; promote sensible boundaries that reduce the costs; avoid duplicating local services, and increase political accountability.

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