News / Events

Volusia growth panel to consider Farmton plan

BY DINAH VOYLES PULVER, ENVIRONMENT WRITER

March 23, 2011

DELAND -- It took less than 25 minutes Tuesday for a Volusia County advisory panel to approve changes to the Farmton Local Plan, the road map for the long-term future of 59,000 acres the Miami Corp. owns on the Volusia-Brevard county line.

With little comment, the Planning and Land Development Regulation Commission voted 5-0 to approve a settlement agreement negotiated earlier this year among the county, the property owner and the state Department of Community Affairs. Two commission members -- Jeff Gove and Stony Sixma -- were absent.

The commission and the Volusia County Council approved an initial proposal for the land early last year, but the state planning agency said the plan didn't comply with state rules. State planners said the proposal for 25,000 homes and more than 4 million square feet of commercial space was too intense for the remote location between Edgewater and Osteen.

The department's ruling triggered hearings in each county before an administrative law judge. But, before judges' decisions were rendered in either case, the new secretary to the Community Affairs department -- appointed by Gov. Rick Scott -- approached the counties to discuss settling the cases.

The secretary, Billy Buzzett, and his staff met with each county and the landowners, negotiating new agreements that widened two proposed wildlife corridors, required inclusion of a map showing two proposed arterial roads through the project and plans for wildlife overpasses or underpasses at the point where both of those roads cross the wildlife corridors.

Brevard County already has given final approval to the revised agreement.

The Volusia County Council gave initial approval last week, and is scheduled for a final vote April 7 on the Farmton plan.

But first the agreement had to be considered by the planning commission and the Volusia Growth Management Commission.

The growth commission is set to consider the proposal tonight at 7 p.m. in the Daytona Beach City Commission chambers, 301 S. Ridgewood Ave.

In remarks to the planning board Tuesday, Jamie Seaman, deputy county attorney, reiterated that no development will be allowed until five years after the plan receives final approval.

The agreement requires the company to begin placing permanent conservation easements on the land within one year of final approval. The easements are supposed to be held by a group of agencies including the two counties, the St. Johns River Water Management District and a conservation organization. The plan also requires appointment of a stewardship organization that includes representatives of those groups to oversee management of the conservation land.

The first development will be allowed on the property's northern boundary, near the city of Edgewater. According to the initial agreement, no development will be allowed on the remaining portion of the land in Volusia County until 2025.

 


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