Meet the “new” plan. Same as the “old” plan.

In my estimation, Tampa-based developer The Framework Group – and our old friends over at CTO Realty Growth (formerly known as the good ol’ boys investment club Consolidated Tomoka Land Company) – have some powerful advocates in the bowels of Daytona Beach City Hall. 

Wow, just imagine if long-suffering residents and small businesses had that same level of support and encouragement in the halls of power, eh? 

One month after being taken to the woodshed by the Daytona Beach City Commission for dragging a half-baked plan into the light of day just six-hours before the elected officials were expected to vote on a downtown apartment project – one that would have citizens reimbursing the developer $10.5 million in property tax revenue – this week, city officials were back with a “new” plan that looked a whole lot like the “old” plan. 

The roll out came with Deputy City Manager/Fire Chief Dru Driscoll essentially serving as Framework Group’s marketing director – singing the praises of the newest iteration of the panacea project in an open memo to his boss, City Manager Jim Chisholm – with claims the apartment complex will, “elevate downtown property values, eliminate blight, have a strong economic impact and possibly become a catalyst for other new development in the area.”

Oh, I could swear that during his presentation last night Mr. Driscoll openly claimed another benefit to the community would be the use of city water to “hydrate workers.” 

Really?  Now that takes some serious huevos. . .

Drink up, fellas!  Time to give something back to the taxpayers, right!

My ass.

According to the “plan,” in exchange for their “reinvestment” of tax dollars, Daytona Beach residents would receive 88 paid parking spaces for a period of 30 years – and thirty subsidized apartments in the complex set aside for “moderate income” (?) residents for five years.

The term “moderate income” was confusing to rubes like me – who see a benefit in incorporating workforce housing in downtown – yet questioned the viability of publicly subsidizing the Joad family in a posh downtown apartment complex. . .

That was not the only bugaboo with the “plan” that bothered area residents. 

Several weeks ago, The Framework Group – through their mouthpiece Jim Chisholm – admitted they could not afford to build the parking garage without some $15 million in public assistance, and many in the community thought it presumptuous of the developer to propose a plan that built in public incentives from its inception.

In my view, the project was wrongly sold as the only viable alternative for the site (it wasn’t) – and many concerned citizens held up the secretive backroom wrangling as a prime example of how certain projects (those involving all the right last names) are ramrodded to completion – while other civic needs are allowed to slowly wither and die (think Main Street, A-1-A, Midtown, etc.).  

On Wednesday evening, several citizens approached their autarchic rulers – and, for 2.5 minutes each – spoke eloquently against the massive giveaway, only to have their concerns denigrated as “hype” and “yellow journalism” by Mayor Derrick Henry as he droned on with another nonsensical, coma-inducing, and horribly divisive diatribe.

It became clear to me that this well-orchestrated farce was a foregone conclusion when those who spoke for the project were not similarly lectured by Mr. Henry. . . 

In my view, Mayor Henry once again alienated those who pay the bills and watch helplessly as large swaths of their community continue to deteriorate under false “catalyst” promises – while the malleable ‘powers that be’ and those shadow groups who control them – throw even more public money at the revitalization of three short blocks between Beach Street and Ridgewood Avenue.

My God.

It was classic Daytona Beach – fits, misdirection, showmanship, and drama – bad Kabuki theater that, early on, included dubious plans for an $18 to $24 million city hall complex.

But no one paying attention really thought Sir John Albright over at CTO Realty Growth would be denied his paying customer – or that The Framework Group wouldn’t get ears-deep in the public trough. . .

At the end of the day, the Daytona Beach City Commission agreed to eliminate the “thirty moderate income apartments” ruse in favor of asking the developer to contribute an undisclosed sum to a yet to be created workforce housing fund and yammered some gibberish about parking spots. . .

Then, just like that, the deal was railroaded through on a unanimous vote. 

I hope this will serve as a stark reminder: There are no “new” plans.

Although the scheme comes in different disguises – they are all variations on the same theme.

The goal will always be to use your hard-earned tax dollars to underwrite the private profit motives of those with a chip in the game – and the needs of We, The Little People, remain an afterthought.

Toot! Toot!  All Aboard!  Take a ride on the Chisholm Choo-Choo!

Hold on tight, folks!  The next backroom deal is right around the corner as developers scramble for even more handouts and giveaways before Big Jimmy disembarks this gravy train for good!

9 thoughts on “Meet the “new” plan. Same as the “old” plan.

  1. Very well said. We’re throwing away dollar after dollar in the name of “progress”. As nearly a lifelong resident it distresses me greatly but what distresses me even more are the sneaky, behind the scenes good old boy power brokering deals. 😩🤬

    Like

  2. Thanks for keeping us informed, hoping that THINGS change and the give AWAYS will stop….With Jeff Brower at the helm in Volusia County and ole ED and Deny’s is out and Heather Post in, we will see things change at least for the County by of Volusia County….Now if we can only change the minds of the Ormond Beach Commissioners and Mayor to stop plans for a 900 THOUSAND DOLLAR Bait Shop, we will be all good….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Feel so powerless! Thanks for exposing these thieves. Low income senior housing and working poor housing should have been 1/3 of this project along with parking spaces for us the people paying for it.

    Like

  4. Before moving here 4 years ago from Palm Beach I had contacts with realtors in Ormond Beach asking what is this Tomoka Land Company I see on the map as I have been burned twice before that they cant build anything there and one house had a gas station and the other a shopping center behind it a few years later.I was told they did not know the company.Very scary.You people voted a man in for mayor who was dismissed by Charlie Crist as a commissioner and left his job as a asst principal and then paid a small fine .Was elected and just re elected .SHAME ON ALL YOU DAYTONA VOTERS.My wife and I hang out in the park on the other side of the bait shop to watch the river and to spend 900 hundred thousand to replace that dump bait shop that is leased out for 7 years is another political horror show and I did not vote for that horror candidate.Ormond Beach Observer had the story before the election with the cost.Shame on Ormond Beach voters.This farce proves vote by qualifications not by party or who they are hooked up to.I did

    Like

    1. Peter – I did NOT vote for Partington & I do NOT agree with the bait shop expense (ridiculous), nor did I agree with the “floating dock” which has gone up for over $1 million – this mayor & his commissioners do whatever the people w/$$ (i.e., developers) want – I don’t know ANYONE who voted for these clowns – we all voted against the incumbents – the #s were pretty close – when you say “shame on Ormond Beach voters” (or Daytona), it’s not really fair – not EVERYONE voted for the idiots that are in/made it back in – we voted for fresh blood & who care about our environment/our community (i.e., Brower/Post), just not enough people knew – when candidates like Partington get $250,000 to use in a COVID-19 campaign vs. $18k (if that) vs. a grassroots competitor – and there’s not a lot of knocking on doors due to the pandemic, these things can happen (we tried to get them out 2 years ago too!)

      Like

      1. Psycho
        Yes shame to those who dont know what the hell is going on in their city.Dont care if I say Daytona or Ormond .We have lots of trash running our county and cities and lots of builder and corporate money backing them.Ask a resident of Ormond Beach if they know what Avalon is or the proposal for a bridge over Hand Ave..What percent of the total population know?Guess if we really had a good local newspaper that would be lying on your driveway every morning we would have more educated citizens who know what the hell is going on instead of a rag with 3 day old news on the weekends and ready to call it quits as its boss Gannett is $1.73 a share.Great conversation keep it going.What ever happened to the follow up story of Plantation Oaks willing to sell the land so we can protect the scenic route? Guess the Daytona rag dropped the ball again.Psycho you may not know anyone who voted for the clowns but they won. Guess lots of people are not informed of what they represent.

        Like

  5. The voters in Daytona Beach had their chance to play offense during the last election but instead rested on their laurels instead of putting in a people’s candidate, Ken Strickland, who could have led Daytona away from its “give anything to a developer” culture. I couldn’t believe that after years of City Hall abuse, voters didn’t want to see our core areas come first for a change. I own several properties in Daytona but can’t vote as I live in Port Orange. You can only stay upbeat about change for so long – in my case. 43 years as a beachside property owner. Maybe its time to cash in and leave the sinking ship while I still have my dignity.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s