On Ormond Beach: There’s Some Shit We Won’t Eat

Earlier this month, I used this space to vent my sense of horror that resulted from the City of Ormond Beach’s acquiescence to the near complete deforestation near the intersection of Tomoka Avenue and Granada Boulevard.

The blogpost generated interest from thousands of Barker’s View readers – many of whom felt the same gut level outrage at this environmental atrocity.

I must admit, in these situations – where our quality of life is pissed away for what passes for “progress” and “economic development” – I lose all objectivity, and I really don’t care to hear the venal excuses of real estate developers and speculative pirates whose first, last and only concern in turning greenspace into greenbacks.

Frankly, I’ve heard it all before.

So, the Daytona Beach News-Journal did the fair thing and followed up with a piece seeking the other side of the argument from Ormond Beach officials and the property developer, Paul Holub, Jr.

Perennial politician and Ormond Beach Deputy Mayor Troy Kent – who is rapidly becoming the face of this ghastly insult to the community’s collective conscience – did his best to assure us that the ugly morass of black muck where majestic, old-growth oaks once stood, “. . .does not change the beautiful character of Ormond Beach.

Bullshit, Mr. Kent.

It changes everything.

Because it has rocked our confidence in Ormond Beach government to do the right thing, for the right reasons.

In a recent piece, the News-Journal found a local business owner who came off like a whimpering pantywaist, when he praised the destruction over his irrational fear of the wildlife whose habitat has now been decimated, “A lot of times we will walk or run by that place and sometimes we will cross the street because there are critters in the forest.”

Sickening.

Then, just this morning, we endured a lecture by Mr. Holub, writing in the News-Journal’s Community Voices column, bolstered by a letter from Charles Lichtigman, chairman and CEO of Charles Wayne Properties, who played the role of the sagacious voice of reason.

In shameless fashion, Holub reminded us ungrateful rubes that he is actually doing us a favor – while Lichtigman pulled a tag-team move, urging us hotheaded yokels to consider “reasoned debate,” you know, now that the property has been clear cut and ground into a muddy void.

I mean, God forbid we should be discourteous to our government, or those who generously give us “decorative pavers” in exchange for century-old trees, “decorative street lights” for wildlife habitat.

“You’ll get used to it.”

Screw these greedy bastards.

There truly is some shit we won’t eat.

While Deputy Mayor Kent may be able to convince himself that another convenience store, co-located with a grocery operation directly abutting a long-established residential area won’t adversely impact the lives of his constituents – I assure you those who are forced to live with the fallout aren’t so damnably naïve.

They can’t afford to be – their very quality of life and property values hang in the balance.

In fact, I have heard from several of Mr. Kent’s incredibly angry constituents – some of whom live many blocks away from the construction site – who report their once idyllic neighborhoods are being ruined by the near-constant roar of heavy equipment as it churns the earth off Bennett Lane.

Just imagine the exponential increase in noise and ruckus when our new WaWa cranks up 24-hour operations, complete with a chicken wing drive-thru’s amplified speaker barking orders over the “beep-beep-beep” of early morning supermarket deliveries.

At least one realty sign has already sprung up across from the gash on Tomoka Avenue.

I don’t blame them – Get while the getting’s good, I say.

It’s not over.  Plans call for additional clearing on the north side of Granada Boulevard to begin soon.

Apparently, Mr. Kent is of the goofy opinion that commercial developers should be able to do whatever the hell they want on property they purchase without question – regardless of the detrimental impact to our environment – or residents who must suffer the perpetual consequences.

Of course, Mr. Holub cloaks himself in the stale reasoning that he and his investors are merely using their property in keeping with how our politicians envisioned its “highest and best” use – regardless of how appropriate or intrusive that use may be.

It seems they always factor the private profit margins – yet never consider the intrinsic cost to our collective quality of life.

The fact is, once these beautiful greenspaces and natural environmental buffers are gone, they are not coming back.  Ever.

Look, I’ve seen sitting politicians literally sit up and beg like cur dogs when big-name developers and their high-priced mouthpieces start weaving yarns about all the benefits of bringing highly intrusive developments to quiet neighborhoods, so excuse me if I don’t trust the judgement of mercenary elected officials to look out for our “highest and best” interests.

Unfortunately, this isn’t limited to the City of Ormond Beach.

Thanks to rampant, unchecked development, Florida has one of the worst environmental records in the nation.

As I’ve previously written, maybe when this entire godforsaken state becomes an uninhabitable shithole – completely devoid of potable water, greenspace or wildlife; when all the natural resources are exploited, hauled-off and sold – and every dime has been looted from the public coffers – someone will wake up.

I know it’s becoming a recurring theme, but perhaps it’s time we begin electing representatives who have a modicum of respect for our natural places – and the will of the people – when considering future development.

21 thoughts on “On Ormond Beach: There’s Some Shit We Won’t Eat

  1. No environmental good will come with any of the officials we have in office in Ormond or Volusia County at the moment. I hope everyone sees this now and I really hope we can get each and every one of them out as soon as possible. Before they completely destroy Ormond Beach. “For the better.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You wrote: “Apparently, Mr. Kent is of the goofy opinion that commercial developers should be able to do whatever the hell they want on property they purchase without question – regardless of the detrimental impact to our environment – or residents who must suffer the perpetual consequences.”

    Unfortunately that is exactly what the law provides. The rights of a land-owning developer to develop his/her land supercedes the rights of existing homeowners living adjacent to the property to be developed. To really create change, we need to change the underlying law.

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  3. I fear that in addition to losing the beauty that cannot be replaced, our “leaders” have learned nothing about the added environmental impacts of concrete and asphalt…….I guess that the lessons of the unprecedented flooding experienced in Houston last year means nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If you had gone to the hearings and pointed out your concerns, maybe none of this would’ve happened. So next time why not share your thoughts at the point it can have an impact. Just saying.

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    1. I went to the meetings and pointed out my concerns and all of those men didn’t listen to me. Several people I know (& didn’t know) did the same. Their minds were already made up before we entered the room – that was clear. Disgusting, but clear. We also wrote emails and letters prior to the meeting, for the meeting, for the mayor & CC to read as we only get 3 minutes to speak; again, our words fell upon deaf ears. They’ve clear cut all the acreage for WaWa and shortly to be followed to the west on the same side for Holub’s next project for drive-thru restaurants & other businesses we don’t need & he’s taking out MORE historical trees WITH the CC/mayor’s blessings. It’s ridiculous. We DID try. We went to H&H’s meeting PRIOR to the CC meetings. They were big fat liars and thinking they were impressing us. They acted as though we were ignorant and they were Harvard grads. Gross & disgusting. Just saying.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your blog – I know I’ve said it before, but I’m saying it again. You call it & you do it well every time. I know Melissa & she’s in the know when it comes to the crap that’s going on in OB. Next to the mess they’ve created for Wawa – did you know they are also going to rape the land from there all the way to South Old Kings (they’ve already taken down the old gym building on that corner)? Holub & co are building drive-thru restaurants & R/O/R supposedly giving us great job opportunities (yea, just what we need – more minimum wage jobs in the area!) and we never got an answer about which fast food restaurants are going in and whether the hours of operation would be 24/7 or if they would close at 10pm like most of the businesses along West Granada (Susan Barfield did a study prior to the 2nd CC mtg on this) Holub is full of crap & Deputy do-dah & the mayor & the entire CC already had their minds made up – the ENTIRE group of citizens who voiced their concerns, including Susan, Julie Sipes, myself and many others, were simply a waste of time. Like you said, these guys need to be VOTED OUT. To the best of my knowledge, they’re all up for re-election in November – GET OUT AND VOTE THESE A-HOLES OUT OF ORMOND – let’s start over & hope for the best! We need people like the former CC Jeff Boyle back in there – someone who cares about the environment & his constituents! Not these greedy pigs that are in there now – they ALL need to be replaced – ugh – they disgust me. Thanks for all you write!

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      1. Well I am a magnet for psychos, hence the handle; however, with age, I’m getting better about that 🙂 I LOVE your blog & you are spot-on on everything you say. I love you passion & I share it. I hate what these politicians have done & I didn’t realize I had to babysit them full time in order to save our local environment! I’m looking forward to going to the polls in November (& prior to that, bending everyone’s ear I can get my hand on to VOTE AGAINST EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE EAGER-TO-PLEASE-THE- DEVELOPERS-WITH-THE-MONEY IDIOTS!) and hopefully make a change! Thanks so much for doing what you do – we need more people like YOU (consider running? Maybe? That would be AWESOME! I would happily volunteer on your campaign!) on our side!

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  6. Mr Barker, I’m begging you please run for Mayor of Ormond Beach. Please
    In the January 2016 planning board minutes the approval of two residential plats of land were rezoned to commercial without any commercial plans presented!!!!! This land was not on Granada Blvd. Everyone can see this on the City of Ormond Beach Planning Board Minutes(Jan 2016). Supposedly residents within 300′ were sent letters about it. I can tell you I live at the back of the neighborhood and did not get a letter. The handful of residents that went to the meeting expressed serious concern about residential land being rezoned to commercial. The developer piece milled additional plats of land over a period of time and had the entire piece rezoned from office buildings to grocery stores and gas stations. There is little mention of the traffic light going in at the corner of Tomoka Avenue and Granada which sucks. Those of you pushing that a developer has the right to develop their land. A developer has the right to develop the land for what it is zoned for. The commissioners voted to rezone residential land to commercial land, and then changing the zoning on that piece of commercial land also. Who is looking out for the citizens? The commissioners are elected to watch out for nightmares like this and protect residents. We are not supposed to run around and purchase residential land near Granada to protect it from getting developed. The commissioners get paid to protect the citizens. I went to the meetings last year for the development and along with your other readers here, they did not listen to us. Everyone, please understand the residential land got rezoned a year before. Sneaky!
    VOTE THEM OUT!!!!! VOTE THEM OUT!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading – and your confidence.

      I have absolutely no political ambitions – besides, I have more skeletons in my closet than a haunted house – and whose to say I wouldn’t be worse than what we have now once I got my snoot in the public trough!

      Again, thanks for reading – and for your good insight into this difficult issue.

      Mark

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  7. The City Commission changed the law. The property used to be zoned for only residential and office-professional. The core of the issue is the re-zoning and changing of codes to allow more retail-commercial.

    It’s my understanding that the wetland rules were relaxed, as well.

    Thank you, Mark, for expressing what so many of us are feeling. As a resident who treasures our city and has not been heard, I’m tired of being scolded by developers and city officials for not being “reasonable”.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with both Julie and Suzanne – it would be awesome for Mark to run for Mayor, but I totally understand why he wouldn’t want to – who wants to be a politician in our current climate? (Or ever, for that matter?) I went to those meetings (& didn’t receive a letter either; however, Susan Barfield sent letters to us, thank God, otherwise we’d never know about anything until we drove around the corner in recent weeks!) and everything I said (& letters written to mayor/CC) all fell on deaf ears. I guess “put your money where your mouth is” is the only thing these dudes understand, unfortunately for those of us who truly care about the environment and the COB.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I met Susan Barfield through all of this. She worked tirelessly, but the people in-charge didn’t listen to her. There are still questions as to the legality of the Amendment filed in 2015 which paved the way for the zoning changes. Not sure the proper notification was followed.

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      1. Julie, I was lucky enough to meet you & Susan through this nightmare-at least something good came out of it! Susan has been awesome & amazing & has worked tirelessly for 2 years and you’re absolutely right Everything she said did fall on deaf ears. The 2015 Amendment effecting the the Zoning seems to have been done specifically for these developers and we are still digging into that to ensure it was done legally Unfortunately, it appears it was; however, it is my understanding we have 5 YEARS to appeal – we need to GO FOR IT! Damned politicians!

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  9. When we moved to Ormond Beach in 2004 and we crossed over to the east side my first view was of the Rockefeller Property, tennis courts and a somewhat quaint small downtown . Maybe I’m suffering from last man in disease but careful development and local government that listens should be the norm and not the exception.

    Liked by 1 person

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