On Volusia: Avalon Defined

Avalon

In Celtic mythology, the isle of the dead, an island paradise in the western seas where, according to Arthurian legend, King Arthur and other heroes are taken after death

In Volusia County, it’s a place where our quality of life goes to die. . .

Just five months ago, Volusia County residents awoke to an article by The Daytona Beach News-Journal’s business reporter Clayton Park announcing “Latitude Margaritaville is about to get a big new neighbor.”  

We were told that an Orlando-based developer – a smiling Swiss named Beat Kahli – who does business as Avalon Park Group and the Switzerland-based SiteEx Properties Holding, was purchasing some 2,600 acres on the south side of State Road 40, west of Interstate 95, from Tymber Creek Road west to Tiger Bay State Forest.

The deal is being hashed out between Avalon Park Group, and the good ol’ boys investment club over at Consolidated-Tomoka Land Company, for an undisclosed amount.

The “plan” calls for building thousands of homes, townhouses and apartments, along with one million square feet of commercial space – immediately adjacent to the massive sprawl that is the faux beach community of Latitude Margaritaville and Mosaic – developments that have consumed thousands of acres atop our aquifer recharge areas (read: the source of our drinking water) off LPGA Boulevard.

Last December, our new friend the Smiling Swiss told Mr. Park, “We are not just developers, we’re town builders.”

Apparently, these “towns” conveniently fail to provide public infrastructure, emergency services and utilities – parasitically drawing off their neighbors existing resources while contributing to traffic and sprawl.

Instead, Avalon Park Group’s practice is to fund required infrastructure through “public/private partnerships,” which, in our experience here on the Fun Coast, typically means the use of public funds to underwrite a developer’s private profit motives.

That includes the variation on the theme proposed by Mr. Kahli, whereby a publicly backed bond would be repaid with property taxes and impact fees – leaving existing residents saddled with maintenance, upkeep and expansion in perpetuity.

I have a problem with that.

By any metric, the City of Daytona Beach has assumed a growth at all cost strategy that continues to place thousands of homes, apartments, shopping and businesses on “Boomtown Boulevard” – constructing “New Daytona” in the pine scrub west of I-95 – while ignoring the festering blight and dilapidation in Midtown, core tourist areas of the beachside and beyond.

Now, to sweeten the deal and make his “city within a city” more tempting to area politicians, Mr. Kahli is offering to replace the pinch-point on LPGA Boulevard – the two-lane bridge spanning the threatened Tomoka River – and construct an overpass at Hand Avenue.

In my view, last year’s no-holds-barred push for a half-cent sales tax increase, a shameless money grab that we all knew would be earmarked for more development, rather than existing transportation needs, should have told Mr. Kahli that we’re not ready for his aggressive style of development – despite what he may have been told by those lame ducks City Manager Jim Chisholm and our doddering fool of a County Chair Ed Kelley. . .

Perhaps Mr. Kahli should understand that Volusia County has gotten development wrong for years.

Our politicians have kowtowed to every whim of developers and builders who own the paper on their political souls, including the almost criminal suppression of impact fees while squandering precious transportation infrastructure funds on ‘roads to nowhere’ and allowing massive growth with little planning, management or concern for our environment.

Now, residents of the Halifax area are legitimately concerned about what thousands of new residents and commercial space massed on the southern border of Ormond Beach will mean for our limited civic resources, roads and utilities – and how it will impact our dwindling quality of life.

For now, it seems only Mr. Chisholm and Mr. Kelley have been given direct access to the hard facts surrounding Avalon Park Daytona – the dynamic duo of deception – and this one is far too important for their unique brand of political chicanery.

Before this project takes one additional step forward, it is time for complete transparency on the development’s transportation planning, our future and existing needs – and clear guidance on how Mr. Kahli plans to pay for it all.

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Please join me this afternoon as Barker’s View joins GovStuff Live with Big John beginning at 4:00pm!

We’ll be taking your calls and discussing the important issues facing us here on Florida’s Fun Coast on the fastest two-hours in radio!

Tune in locally at 1380am “The Cat” – or on the World Wide Web at www.govstuff.org (Listen Live button)

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10 thoughts on “On Volusia: Avalon Defined

  1. To Ormond City leaders-forget septic to sewer for a neighboring city Ormond by the Sea. You have no right to impose your guidelines and regulations onto a neighboring city. A proper hydrogeologic study would require $1 Million dollars. Plus if you begin to install ground water wells for the purpose of detecting ground water flow direction on properties or rights of way on Ormond by the Sea, or even on streets in Ormond, you are going to get sued for contaminating property owners ground water.

    As such, you better do something about this proposed new city that I going to be built off Granada and tmyber creek. Start managing growth, do whatever it takes to cancel this project.

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  2. Mark, your view on the Avalon Park proposal and growth issues hits center mass. I’ve discussed this at length in the past and how Commissions over the many decades have got us to this juncture. As I still contemplate another attempt to run, it dawned on me that the Developers will attack me and contribute in hefty amounts to the incumbents so they can flood the population with BS mailings and growth percentages, hence me ever getting a foothold. This is as you know, the key to the continued growth at any cost. I don’t have an easy solution , if any at all, and the general public just adapts which is what or how the developers expect behind closed conference room doors.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. but Barry – we want you in office! If you’re going to win, it should happen this year & now we’re probably going to have the mail-in vote thanks to COVID-19 (it had to be good for something-JK) – NOBODY wants the HAE – if we don’t get these politicians out, they’re going to get it done – WE NEED YOU

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  3. I believe the two in-the-know politicians think of this project as their final gift to DB. Their vision being jammed down our throats must not come to pass. But it may be too late. It always has been.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Remembering Nova Rd as looking “country” any development is disgraceful and saddening,vote out this council and let the peoples will be known.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey: I see Orange County got $1.4 million from the CARES Act so they bought thousands of mini-bottles of hand sanitizer and tens of thousands of masks. So they made up care packages for small businesses and are giving them out to 20,000 small businesses in their county. Pretty good thinking.  Wonder how much Volusia County got and how they ‘invested’ it small businesses in Volusia County. Probably pissed it away already with zero regard for small businesses struggling to reopen and survive. FrankFrank J Johnson386-414-0388 (Call or text)  From: Barker’s ViewSent: Monday, May 11, 2020 9:45 AMTo: frankjjohnson52@gmail.comSubject: [New post] On Volusia: Avalon Defined barkersview posted: "Avalon In Celtic mythology, the isle of the dead, an island paradise in the western seas where, according to Arthurian legend, King Arthur and other heroes are taken after death In Volusia County, it’s a place where our quality of life goes to die. . . "

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I live on N Halifax Dr. and our yards are dying due to no water to water our yards. The tanks are usually empty by the time we get to water at 4 pm when it’s so hot what little water we get dries up. There is not enough pressure to even turn the sprinklers. Several years ago we could water when ever we wanted to there was plenty of water. I wonder if Margaritaville Homes is getting it all. Where will the water come from to water all the developments the our County Council is letting to build. Do they not realize we do not have water for the homes we already have.

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    1. That’s the main problem, people using our water for landscaping, and St. Augustine grass is absolutely the WORST when it comes to water needs.

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