I recently read something in that driveway litter known as the Ormond Beach Observer, a local rag still tainted by the stench of political partisanship following their obvious bias for incumbent candidates in the 2018 Ormond Beach City Commission races, that shocked even my beat-up and calloused conscience:
“At the start of the city’s 2019 Arbor Day tree planting ceremony, Ormond Beach Mayor Bill Partington asked a group of Ormond Beach Elementary second-graders if they had ever read a book under a tree.
Some piped up with enthusiastic yeses, while others shook their heads.
“If not, you should try that,” Partington said. “Trees are so important, and the city puts a lot of importance on trees.”
Come on, Mr. Mayor – you might be able to convince a few apple-cheeked second-graders that Ormond Beach gives a rat’s ass about trees, or the conservation and sustainability goals of the Arbor Day tradition – but the rest of us know better.
What the City of Ormond Beach actually cares about is meeting every need, want and whim of speculative developers as evidenced by last years environmental massacre on Granada Boulevard where some 2,061 old growth trees – including specimen hardwoods and majestic oaks – were wantonly eradicated to make way for another WaWa.
The once lush canopy that provided a natural buffer between an established residential neighborhood and the bustle of the Granada corridor – an important habitat for flora and fauna – was churned into a muddy moonscape – heartlessly sacrificed to the insatiable greed of speculative developers who won’t be satisfied until every square-inch of our dwindling greenspace and natural places have fallen under a bulldozer blade for another strip center or ghastly “theme” subdivision.
In the case of the abomination on Granada Boulevard, there was a visceral reaction to the wholesale destruction by many in the community that continues to resonate.
Apparently not satisfied with the extraordinary lengths his chattel on the dais of power went to accommodate the intrusive Granada Pointe project, commercial developer Paul Holub recently returned to the Ormond Beach Planning Board for yet another bite at the apple.
On January 10, Mr. Holub asked for an amendment to the Planned Business Development that was approved last year by the City Commission that would allow him to shoehorn a car wash into the expanding commercial space that will ultimately include a grocery store and now at least one additional business.
In addition to subjecting area residents living south of Granada Pointe to the jet-like scream of an automated car wash as a complement to the roar of delivery trucks and amplified drive-thru speakers – Holub also asked for a modification that would allow for the destruction of a 43-inch historic live oak tree on the north side of Granada Boulevard.
Jesus. When is enough, enough?
To their credit, the majority of the Planning Board members rejected these measures and found that a car wash does not comport with the community’s Comprehensive Plan.
The Planning Board’s recommendation will now be sent to the Ormond Beach City Commission for first reading and a public hearing.
Anyone care to wager a Donnie’s Donut how that’s going to go. . .?
In my view, if the Ormond Beach City Commission goes against the recommendation of their planning board and city planner to grant Mr. Holub’s amendments – in my mind, that will serve as prima facie evidence of just how compromised that body truly is – and should rightly result in the elimination of the city’s planning function altogether.
After all, if our elected officials on the dais of power demonstrate their lock-step conformity to the commands of their handlers by ignoring the recommendations of their advisory committee – the board will be revealed as little more than a cheap farce – and Ormond Beach residents will finally have proof that their government has been sold to the highest bidder.
Photo Credit: More Trees Less Assholes – Facebook