News / Events

Grandchild makes you look at life differently - Farmton

By Pat Northey

February 26, 2010

A Grandchild makes you look at life differently. When I look towards the future of our wonderful County this year or the next or into the next 50 years, it is through the eyes of my 4 year old granddaughter. What kind of Volusia will we be in 2060? How will we look? How do we preserve our quality of life? What decisions do we make today that will positively impact Volusia for the next 50 years. It is with these questions as the backdrop that I offer my thoughts on Farmton.

As your Council Member, I spent a lot of time over the last few years learning about Farmton; reading and studying the comp plan request, reviewing the supporting documentation, putting boots on the ground, walking the land, talking to those who supported the development as well as those who were against it.

Let me share with you some what I found out about. As approved by the County Council, 77% of the land known as Farmton will be in conservation. The total raw acreage (approx 35,000 acres) that will be in conservation is more then we have purchased through our Volusia Forever program. This includes all of Deep Creek which will be a designated wilderness area accessible by canoe, kayak and boardwalk. We will have an untouched mile wide bear and wildlife corridor (at its narrowest) that will connect the Ocala National Forest with the Everglades through Volusia County. No small accomplishment.

In addition we will gain a sustainable water supply for the west side of the County; a management plan that will hold the development of this land to the highest standards possible and the public ownership of one of the most beautiful water bodies in Volusia County, Deep Creek!

With the exception of a tract adjacent to Restoration in Edgewater, there will be no development in Farmton for close to 20 years. In effect a building moratorium has been placed on this land and can only be lifted when and only if Farmton meet the needs test. They cannot build the first home if the need is not there. There is also a requirement to meet the jobs test: one job for each residence. No other development that I am aware of has ever had that high of a standard as part of their development. Development will be clustered, it will be green, it will be build water wise and night sky lighting will be the standard. And to make sure they follow the rules, we are requiring Farmton to have a certified naturalist as part of the development to ensure that the highest level of environmental consideration is given.

Deltona’s objections are important to me. I believe by working together we can identify solutions to the city’s concerns. Water is of course a priority. Hydrology reports from test wells dug on Farmton indicate a high level of water availability. Deltona will not have to provide water to Farmton; in fact Farmton is working with the County on an agreement to be a water supplier for the west side of the County. I would encourage my colleagues in the city to join us in those discussions. A sustainable water supply is important for all of us.

Let me tell you how we are addressing the transportation concerns. I know how important state road 415 is to moving our citizens throughout the region. Funding for widening most of it south of Acorn Lake, through the Deltona JPA, is already in place. Volusia County recently stepped up to fund a state shortfall. State road 415 is on schedule to be widened by 2013 at no cost to the city.

Howland Blvd, a major arterial road through the city, is being widened now. The County just completed the phase between Elkcam Blvd and Courtland. Construction will begin soon on widening the southern leg of the road. And finally Maytown road will be the responsibility of Farmton…20 years from now when and if there is a need for the homes.

The County and City of Deltona have a proud history of working together. We recently completed a Joint Planning Agreement (JPA) for the Osteen area that will define how that community will develop in the future. We worked together on the acquisition of the historic Thornby property and we partnered on the beautiful Deltona Amphitheater at the Lyonia Environmental Learning Center complex. I am confident that working together we can resolve the objections the city has expressed.

Farmton will not be developed in my lifetime; perhaps my granddaughter will see it in hers. No matter what, she will know that her Nana did the very best she could to insure that we will grow in a smart quality way and to preserve that what is so special about our county, our wild and rural heart.

Pat Northey