Inexplicably, Ormond Beach Mayor Bill Partington is telling us the encroachment of some 1,500 residential properties on what was once pristine old growth forest – clear cut impacts we can see with our own eyes beyond a thin veneer of spared trees – is a mass “misconception.”
In a recent article in The Daytona Beach News-Journal, “Developers’ plans spark concern over impact to Ormond Loop,” Partington once again suspended reality when he said, “There’s a misconception out there that a portion of the Loop is being bulldozed. That’s just completely false.”
We know that, Mayor.
It’s already been bulldozed, you quibbling asshole!
Now We, The People are worried about the repugnant impacts of increased traffic and toxic runoff that some 1,500 home sites will invariably bring once the Ormond Beach City Commission rubber stamps the zoning change approved by the so-called ‘Planning Board’ next month.
You may remember that this is the same Mayor Partington who gave us his twisted philosophy on over-development back in September when the sprawling Plantation Oaks subdivision was annexed into the City of Ormond Beach: “They (?) say if you’re not growing, you’re dying.”
Well, I don’t give two-shits what “they” say.
Here in the real world, the tens-of-thousands of area residents who are concerned about our quality of life and environment – who can already see the devastating impacts of the Plantation Oaks development – feel like the victims of yet another governmental “bait and switch.”
Way back in 2002, when a horribly misguided Volusia County Council approved a 55+ manufactured home community on a 4-3 vote, we could not have imagined that, 18-years later, the developer would seek a zoning amendment permitting site-built homes – open to families of all ages – a change which will exponentially increase traffic along one of our most precious natural amenities.
In an effort to bring attention to the destruction of The Loop, a concerned area teenager started an online petition seeking protection for “…one of the most beautiful scenic spots in our county” – an entreaty that has garnered some 37,600 signatures (including mine) and galvanized an anxious community.
To show just how deeply the City of Ormond Beach has been infected by the influence of the real estate development community, Planning Board member G. G. Galloway, himself a commercial realtor, said in the newspaper, “The girl who did the petition didn’t do her homework. They (the developers) have every right to do that (project).”
Of course they do!
In this utterly unbalanced environment – where the massive campaign contributions of builders and real estate speculators dominates, then skews, the political playing field – the little people, those of us who pay the bills and are expected to suffer in silence, are bulldozed like a majestic oak whenever we stand in the way of their obscene idea of “progress.”
In his sickening defense of the indefensible, Galloway goes on – alternately praising the contribution of developers, then claiming the board had “no choice” but to adopt Volusia County’s zoning approvals for Plantation Oaks.
Why is it that whenever citizens seek reasonable environmental protections and limitations on the devastating affects of sprawl, those we have elected and appointed to represent our interests always claim their hands are tied – yet, when a developer seeks changes to comprehensive plans, zoning amendments and other legislative sleight-of-hand designed to undermine safeguards and maximize profits – the process seems like a foregone conclusion?
Anyone who tells you that the deck isn’t stacked against the will of the people is lying.
For instance, earlier this month, the clearly compromised Ormond Beach planning department issued a staff report essentially supporting the Plantation Oaks zoning amendment which concluded:
“The proposed development will not adversely impact environmentally sensitive lands or natural resources.”
The fact that a municipal planning staff – individuals who accept public funds to serve in the public interest – could openly engage in the blatant falsehood that the deforestation, paving, development, use of fertilizer, herbicides and insecticides, septic, water and traffic impacts on over 1,000 acres of primordial, canopy forest ecology and wildlife habitat – will not drastically impact sensitive lands and natural resources defies logic.
Because it’s a damnable lie.
According to the News-Journal’s report, “The Ormond Beach City Commission will hold the first of two public hearings on the Plantation Oaks zoning amendment on July 28, starting at 7 p.m. The “socially distanced” meeting will be open to the public and will be held at City Hall.”
I hope you will add your voice to nearly 38,000 of your neighbors and let these developer’s shills on the dais of power in Ormond Beach know exactly how you feel.
Find the online petition here: https://tinyurl.com/yc7h4urv
Tell them you want Plantation Oaks to remain as it was when the developer foisted it upon us nearly two-decades ago – then demand that any vehicular access to Old Dixie Highway be forever blocked to prevent the beautiful Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail from becoming just another over-traveled thoroughfare.
Look, the Plantation Oaks debacle may be a lead-pipe cinch – an inescapable fait accompli for yet another developer intent on cashing in on the exploitation of our last remaining natural places – but we do not have to accept future environmental abominations as a sad fact of life here on the Fun Coast.
In my view, now is the time the silent majority of residents – those who have suffered the indignities of having our intelligence and environment repeatedly insulted by elected marionettes in municipal and county government, and the “staff” members who tell them exactly what they want to hear – begin the purge of these entrenched sellouts and return a sense of fairness, honor, access and accountability to the halls of power in Volusia County.