News / Events
Farmton plan will improve area
BY GLENN STORCH, NEW SMYRNA BEACH
September 25, 2010
It is important to correct some of the assumptions in "No right to change comp plan," a letter published on Sept. 22. The author indicates that every property owner has the right to develop their property in accordance with the law, and that the "law must be disclosed to the buyer at the time of purchase."
Miami Corp. bought the Farmton property in 1926. Three towns were located on the property with a major railroad connecting the towns with the St. Johns and Halifax Rivers. In accordance with the law, the expectation of the property owner was that this area could be developed as a city. Over time, those rights were removed from the property. The Volusia County Comprehensive Growth Management Plan placed more and more restrictions on the property, until the only remaining use was to divide the property into thousands of ranchettes.
Ranchette development would destroy the natural habitat and wildlife corridors across nearly 60,000 acres of land and eliminate the potential for economic development in this area. For this reason, Miami Corp. was encouraged by the Florida Department of Community Affairs (the state planning agency) as well as environmental leaders to look at amending the comprehensive plan in a way that would provide for preservation of large areas of Farmton.
While no one has a right to a comprehensive plan amendment, everyone has the right to apply for a change that provides a better vision for the future and have the various public boards and reviewing agencies consider that application. Miami Corp. did just that. After a four-year review, working with surrounding cities and many interested parties, they received a unanimous recommendation of approval from the Volusia Planning Board, along with approvals from the Volusia Growth Management Commission and the Volusia County Council. Thus, the Farmton Local Plan amendment was adopted.
Some of the folks that opposed the plan wanted to take away the landowners' right to do anything at all with their land, including subdividing it into ranchettes. This attitude, and the attitude that a property owner is not entitled to request a change in the plan that is better for the community, does in fact destroy the right of property ownership.
Editor's note: Storch represents the company that owns the Farmton property.