street with sign pointing left to lake winnemissett

News Journal, 09-25-20

DeLand gives final approval to 600-home Lake Winnemissett development in 3-2 vote

By: Katie Kustura | The Daytona Beach News – Journal

DELAND — The City Commission, following what may have cumulatively been the longest hearing on a proposed project, voted 3-2 in favor of a rezoning request to allow the building of the Cresswind Planned Development, a 600-home age-restricted community, next to Lake Winnemissett.

Vice Mayor Charles Paiva and Commissioner Chris Cloudman cast the dissenting votes during Wednesday night’s special meeting.

Paiva reiterated that he still felt the project — at just under 2.3 homes per acre — was too dense for the area.

The site of the proposed Kolter Homes development is approximately 318 acres, of which about 52 are submerged.

Cloudman, who voted in support of the project during the first reading, said this decision was probably the toughest he’s faced during his time on the commission.

“I’ve always prided myself that I come into every one of these trying to be as much on the fence as possible and waiting to hear everything presented before making a decision,” Cloudman said.

road with sign saying keep winnemissett beautiful

He admitted that he wasn’t as open-minded at the beginning of the process on this proposed development. Cloudman said that was because there were other recently approved projects with densities about which he also was concerned.

The commissioner also said while headway is slowly being made in regard to an extension of Beresford Avenue and a roundabout at Kepler Road and State Road 44, it’s not clear when or how those improvements will come to fruition.

Cloudman said he did appreciate the changes the developer agreed to in an effort to decrease the impact on the environment.

“I think they are standards that I would like to look at for any development going forward,” Cloudman said.

Commissioner Jessica Davis said she’s looking forward to future discussions with the Planning Board as to what future growth should look like in the city.

When commissioners met Aug. 25 on this project, they agreed to delay their vote by a month to give the developer, city staff and members of the Lake Winnemissett Civic Association time to address more than a dozen concerns/requests raised by the latter party.

The list included:

1. Reducing the density of the project to 260-300 homes
2. Tying the phasing of construction to making improvements to State Road 44
3. Speed tables on Lake Winnemissett Drive
4. Limiting how much of the lakefront is cleared for a park
5. Limiting tree removal along shoreline
6. Having the developer adopt and comply with the state’s Outstanding Florida Water guidelines and the St. Johns River Water Management District’s low-impact development practices
7. Not allowing stormwater runoff from certain ponds
8. Maximizing conserved recharge area west of Gasline Road (includes minimum 100-foot buffer)
9. Not allowing the use of fertilizer
10. Requiring the developer hire a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional landscape architect
11. Requiring littoral shelf plantings around the entire perimeter of all ponds
12. Not requiring the developer bring reclaimed water to the site
13. Not allowing irrigation wells from the surficial or deeper state aquifers
14. Requiring Low Impact Development standards
15. Granting the civic association standing to enforce deed restrictions

During that time, the parties addressed each of those items. All three were in agreement on limiting the amount of lakefront clearing and tree removal along the shoreline, requiring the hiring of a LEED accredited landscape architect and Low Impact Development standards.

The developer and staff disagreed with reducing the project’s density, tying construction to S.R. 44 improvements and not allowing stormwater runoff from certain ponds.

The developer agreed with the association on speedtables, but city staff only partially agreed, saying there are pros and cons to such devices.

The developer also agreed with following the state’s Outstanding Florida Water guidelines and St. Johns River Water Management District practices; staff partially agreed, adding that there are additional efforts that could be taken to reduce pollutants.

The association and developer agreed on maximizing the conserved recharge area west of Gasline Road; staff partially agreed, saying the part they don’t agree with is the buffer.

While the association won’t see zero fertilization as desired, the developer and city staff agreed it should be limited. The developer also conceded to littoral shelf plantings in certain areas; city staff recommended complying with the St. Johns River Water Management District’s standards.

In regard to reclaimed water, the developer said it will follow the the requirements of the city; staff recommended the developer be required to extend reclaimed waterlines to the portion of the project that drains away from the lake. Staff also recommended irrigation wells only be used on certain portions.

While the developer has indicated a willingness to agree with deed restrictions, it ultimately comes down to the land owner, Lake Park Estates, LLC.

Alex Ford, an attorney representing the land owner, said he thinks Kolter demonstrated a willingness to be flexible on the project.

“The truth of the matter is that there were some really good changes that resulted from the process, the frustration is they were not brought forward earlier,” Ford said following Wednesday night’s meeting.

Nancy La Riviere, of the association, said while the group appreciates the concessions that were agreed to, they’re still concerned about reclaimed water and fertilizer, which could cause algae blooms and other issues for Lake Winnemissett.

“Reclaimed water is a real bad idea, because it’s real high in nutrients,” La Riviere said. “It’s going to make its way to the lake, and the lake is the most pristine body of water in Central Florida.”

John Engle, also of the association, said the developer will still need to obtain certain permissions from the St. Johns River Water Management District, so the association plans to continue its work to discourage bringing reclaimed water to the site and any use of fertilizer.

SOURCE: News Journal


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