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Hearing on large-scale Farmton development in Southeast Volusia set Monday

BY DINAH VOYLES PULVER, ENVIRONMENT WRITER

September 11, 2011

A final state hearing to determine whether Volusia County's approval of the Farmton Local Plan in southern Volusia complies with the state rules for the county's own long-term land-use plan will begin Monday afternoon in DeLand.

Two environmental groups, the Edgewater Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development and the Sierra Club of Florida, contend the county should not have approved the plan, which could allow the eventual construction of 23,000 homes along Maytown Osteen Road between Osteen and Oak Hill.

The plan, approved last year, is set to unfold over the next 50 years with each step of development requiring its own set of approvals from the county. The overall plan encompasses 59,000 acres owned by the Miami Corp. in Volusia and Brevard counties.

It would set aside roughly 40,000 acres in conservation, including wildlife corridors and timberland, while allowing eventual development on 19,000 acres, including the homes and more than 4 million square feet of commercial space. No construction along Maytown Osteen Road would be allowed before 2025.

The hearing, expected to take a week, begins at 1 p.m. Monday in the training rooms on the first floor at the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Center, 123 W. Indiana Ave., DeLand.

Among those expected to testify are Tom Pelham, former secretary of the Florida Department of Community Affairs, who left the department when Gov. Rick Scott took office in January. Under Pelham's leadership, the department found the plan not in compliance.

The new secretary, Billy Buzzett, met with Miami Corp. and the county, and after another round of changes, found the plan in compliance. The Legislature subsequently reorganized the department and the state's growth-management policy.

Attorneys have wrangled over the details to be debated in the hearing for weeks. The administrative-hearing judge, David Maloney, ruled the plan would be subject to the new changes to the state's growth-management law.

He also ruled that many of the points argued during a two-week hearing in DeLand last September would not be heard again.

 


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