Also: Murals and neon sign get first approval
In a busy City Commission meeting on March 21, the commissioners approved the car wash at Granada Pointe after hearing possibly their last series of audience comments about the controversial development at the corner of West Granada Boulevard and Tomoka Avenue. Among the other business was approval of murals in the downtown district and a special exception for a neon sign at one location.
The comments from about a dozen audience members on the Granada Pointe amendment to allow a car wash and other changes was reflective of arguments that have occurred over the past year. Opponents criticized the rezoning that allowed clear-cutting south to a residential street and intense development. Proponents said other parts of Granada Boulevard already have open-bay garages, car washes, etc., and it's a needed service in the area.
It was the second and final reading for the amendment, and the commissioners approved the car wash, increasing wall size from eight to ten feet and removing as easement for parking by Three Chimneys (as requested by the Historical Society). The only no vote was from Commissioner Susan Persis on the car wash.
Dropped was the $10,000 donation to the Historical Society, because the officials did not think a required donation was appropriate in a development order. Holub said he would make a $10,000 donation even though it's not part of the order.
Also dropped was the removal of one historic tree that the developer had said endangered a traffic signal. He had since withdrawn the request to take it down.
CAR WASH COMMENTS
Ormond Beach Mayor Bill Partington said he found it "disingenuous" that people were concerned about a car wash on Granada Boulevard.
“That argument doesn’t carry any weight with me, because I look at what’s on Granada Boulevard right now and I see a concrete plant, for one," Partington said. "I see an open bay oil change facility. I see multiple open bay garage. I see a car wash that’s maybe five yards from the actual road on Granada — of course, it’s not working right now, but it’s there in disrepair.”
He said there haven’t been complaints about the car wash at U.S 1 and Granada Boulevard.
When Planning Board members, at their Jan. 10 meeting, noted that there is already a car wash on Granada Boulevard, Planning Director Steven Spraker explained that the car wash at U.S. 1 and Granada is located in a “Commercial” zone, while Granada Pointe is in a “Residential-Office-Retail” zone. Granada travels through different zones and land use designations.
Partington also said the reason he supports the project is because it will provide less impact to the surrounding residents than the drive-through restaurant that the commission approved as a special exception as part of the development.
“Less traffic, less noise, less garbage, less hours of operation and less water usage, which makes it environmentally friendly," Partington said.
City Commissioner Rob Littleton said everyone on the Planning Board loved the project and the look of the car wash, and they voted against it because the commission needed to update the comprehensive plan.
A review of the Planning Board minutes from the Jan. 10 meeting, available at ormondbeach.org, shows that three board members said a car wash should not be located in that area of Granada Boulevard. Contacted after the meeting, Littleton said some Planning Board comments were made before the developer agreed to change the style of the car wash.
Littleton also supported the project because he believes people expect car washes next to gas stations.
Comments from the audience included the following.
Linda Williams “I think you’ve opened a Pandora’s Box This sets a precedent… It’s sad to choose between a drive-thru and a car wash.”
Connie Colby objected to the car wash in “Residential-Office-Retail” zoning. “Retail means you’re selling something.”
Paul Holub: “There’s a 70% reduction in trips from a fast-food restaurant … A car wash is a retail service and a professional service in other areas.”
Diane Long. “I chose Ormond Beach because it was a quiet place. I understand you have to balance residential and business but you’ve gone too far … I’m a nature lover. I’ve seen reduction in animal species.”
Ron Nowviskie: “The proposed car wash is a reasonable use for that area. There are thousands of people who go to the beach and want to wash their car. You can see the explosion of apartments on Williamson. Those people are dependent on their car.”
Ed Kolaska: “I have a hard time believing that the residents near this site are enamored with the gas station and the car wash. I can see them all on a Saturday morning enjoying coffee on their patios listening to the swoosh of the car wash mechanism and smell the aroma of fresh fuel in the morning air.”
Norman Lane: “We have a Planning Dept. well informed and they have advised against it.”
BRIGHT LIGHTS MEDIUM CITY
A special exception in a first reading was allowed for a neon sign at 26 N. Beach St., Suite B, on the corner of North Beach Street and New Britain Avenue.
The building is owned by developer Bill Jones, well-known for his several downtown renovations, and according to background material a Japanese restaurant is planned for the site. The ordinance would only allow neon art, and not a television picture or words. Preliminary drawings show a fish changing shape.
City Commissioner Susan Persis said she had mixed feelings and talked to a lot of people who said the sign would be cute.
“I’m glad it’s not on Granada,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to see Granada with a bunch of neon signs.”
“I wouldn’t want to see Granada with a bunch of neon signs.”
SUSAN PERSIS, city commissioner
The officials voted unanimously to approve the special exception and it will get its final hearing on April 2.
Also approved in a first reading was a proposal from Ormond MainStreet to allow wall murals on the sides of business in the downtown, known as Granada Boulevard from State Road A1A to Orchard Street. Each mural would be approved by the Arts District Board and then by the City Commission.
The city’s Downtown Plan has the theme “Arts and Culture,” according to background material, and the establishment of the Arts District in 2012 by Ormond MainStreet was designed to promote that theme.
Judith Stein, of the Arts District board, said they already are building a registry of artists and the project has received a lot of interest in the community.
The commissioners will not be able to regulate the content of the mural however, because of a Supreme Court ruling on freedom of speech.
“While cities can’t regulate the content of murals, murals can be restricted as to time, place and manner,” the background material states.
City Attorney Randy Hayes said the Arts District will be able to vet the murals in regard to content before they reach the commission. The City Commission will consider if there will be fees or not for murals at the next meeting. Hayes said his department will bring forward a proposal to vote on.
The mural decision will come back for a final vote on April 2.
WASTE FEES INCREASE
As of April 1, the monthly residential recycling fee will increase from $3.47 to $4.68. This increase will raise and additional $264,000.
In September, Waste Pro requested a review of payment for recyclable materials because of significant changes to recyclable material import regulations in China, decreased demand for recycled paper and high volume of glass with little to no market value
The City Commission gave final approval to Salty Church on Vining Court for their expansion plans. The church plans to build a 6,457 square foot building that will connect to the existing building with a breezeway and have a similar architectural style. The church will also increase their parking spaces to the north and west of the buildings.
The officials gave final approval to a Planned Business Development that will allow a planned Extended Stay America Hotel at 275 Interchange Blvd. to have fewer parking spaces than called for in city code. The property will have 147 parking spaces, deferring 39.
“I’m glad the developer and staff worked through this,” Commissioner Dwight Selby said. “This saved a lot of trees. History shows this type of hotel only requires one space per room.”