Find out what your neighbors are talking about.
This top letter was corrected on Thursday, April 5. In an earlier version, Lewis Heaster was identified as a partner with Paul Holub on Granada Pointe; that is incorrect. Heaster was a partner with Holub on a separate development, Ormond Central.
Granada Pointe approval shows 'overreach'
I recently found out that the property on Granada Boulevard that was basically clear cut was done by the approval of the City Commission and the mayor, but here is where it gets interesting.
Evidently the city commissioners and the mayor individually appoint people to the Planning Board. Mayor Bill Partington appointed Lewis Heaster to the Planning Board, and Mr. Heaster is a real estate developer who was a former partner with Paul Holub. (Holub was the developer of Granada Pointe, the property on Granada where the clear cutting was.)
Now if you find this just too much of a coincidence and a conflict of interest and don't want to see Ormond strip-malled and concreted over like South Florida, then I suggest you make your voice heard. Come to the meeting at 5:30 p.m. April 10, at the Ormond Beach Library to see what we all can do to stop this overreach.
Editor's Note: Mayor Bill Partington did appoint Lewis Heaster to the Planning Board. But Heaster was absent from the Oct. 12 Planning Board meeting that gave approval to Granada Pointe, and so he did not vote on the project. Without Heaster, the vote was unanimous. The development then advanced to the City Commission, which gave final approvals. Also, Holub was not a partner with Holub on the Granada Pointe project.
What happened on Granada?
Who is representing the citizens of Ormond Beach? The short answer is no one.
In researching the destruction now called Granada Pointe, I looked up the paper trail through the city Planning Board and City Commission minutes. I’ll start by stating the unfortunate project was done legally and is public record.
I searched the computer for city of Ormond Beach Planning Board, to read the Jan. 14, 2016, minutes. Mr. Paul Holub’s business partner, Lewis Heaster, sits on that board but recused himself from the vote.
Mr. Holub asked to rezone two residential properties at 101 Bennett Lane and 634 Tomoka Ave. from low-density residential to six acres of open space/conservation and 2.6 additional acres to residential/office/retail. The residential land extends 900 feet or three football fields south of Granada Boulevard.
Steve Spraker, senior planner, recommended approval. The board approved the rezoning of the residential land to commercial without knowing the overall development plan for a new intersection, traffic light, drive-thru restaurant and Wawa gas station. At that time, allowed uses were restricted to offices, business retail, and restaurants without drive-thrus.
Fast forward to Aug. 15, 2017, Ormond Beach City Commission minutes: The mayor and four commissioners approved 5-0, the now-complete plan revealing a grocery store, the Wawa, and fast-food restaurant, dooming the old-growth forest.
Commissioner Troy Kent has repeatedly stated “a developer has rights.” I agree they have the right to develop under current zoning or apply for re-zoning that does not adversely impact adjacent properties and residents. The new intersection and traffic light at Tomoka Ave will create a traffic nightmare on Granada. Traveling east from Nova Road light, traffic flow will stop at the Tomoka light, again at Orchard Street 500 yards away, and again at U.S. 1.
On the recording of the Feb. 20, 2018, commission meeting, Mayor Bill Partington used his closing comments to defend the project and benefits donated to the city, starting with praising a developer-paid traffic light. I don’t know anyone who wants more traffic lights.
Secondly, he says the developer could have built 231,000 square feet of building, which is the size of 1.5 Lowe’s buildings. He is building 130,000 square feet. All buildings need adequate parking, so the Lowe’s size building was never in the cards.
Lastly, the mayor lauded Mr. Holub’s donation of 10 acres of conservation land behind the Moose Lodge. That land was assessed at $5,000 with a tax bill of $95 because it is deemed a wasteland/swamp.
Commissioner Kent’s statement that “no one objected to this development” is contradicted by meeting recordings of numerous complaints. Mr. Holub acted legally in convincing the commission to back his plan. The commission made a huge mistake, and, every time you stop at that traffic light, you can thank them.
Any development is now possible, as Commissioner Kent continues to repeat Mr. Holub’s desire to convert land to “highest and best use.” Remember, it all started with changing two residential properties to commercial zoning extending 900 feet south of Granada, abutting residential subdivisions in Commissioner Rob Littleton’s Zone 4.
A land-use attorney will always use this development setting the precedence for what a developer wants. If a developer wants a Granada church property to be re-zoned for a used car lot, they should be approved. Obtaining approval for a gas station is more difficult than a used car lot. Any denied requests will have grounds for lawsuit against the city.
The good ol' boy system of Ormond Beach City Commission is not working.
Dear Mr. McMillan,
As promised I am submitting this story about dog ownership. I am not sure if it's something suitable for the Observer, but I needed to write about my experience and send it somewhere...
Teaching dogs, with kindness
Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of citizens who started and maintained the Justice for Ponce movement, “Ponce’s Law” was signed by the governor on March 23rd! It will increase penalties for animal abuse and is named after the innocent pup that was brutally beaten to death last year by his owner.
This event reminds and inspires me to take action when I see disturbing behavior, as I did recently one morning when I watched a neighbor discipline his dog when she ran out of their yard and barked at my dog and me as we walked by. Although the punishment was by no means life-threatening -- a slap across her rear, holding her muzzle shut as he yelled at her, rapping her atop the head with a clenched fist as she cowered before him -- it was still upsetting to watch, and it wasn’t the first time I'd witnessed such treatment. Finally I spoke up: “Please stop hitting her.” He replied that she had to learn, but what was the lesson?
Think about that: an owner calls his dog then hits her when she responds. He punishes her for doing what he asked. She connects the discipline with her most recent activity, not with running out of her yard or barking at my dog. This gets reinforced day after day. What would you do if the person you love more than anything in the world called and you ran to them. Then they harshly grab and tower over you, yell and slap you. Would you want to run to them the next time they shouted your name? When your dog responds to your call reward this (and any) good behavior with treats or praise or toys; whatever they like best. There are countless training resources. If you don’t have money for a personal trainer there are online videos, books, even TV shows that can help. Some shelters offer counseling and/or advice. So many pets are surrendered for poor behavior that could be corrected with a bit of guidance and effort. Most dogs, young and old, learn quickly once they understand what we want.
I was afraid I might anger my neighbor by speaking out but when I explained how he might be sending her the wrong message he seemed to consider my words. I hope so, I just want them to have a good relationship and I hate being the cause for her getting into trouble when we walk by.