Commerce 500!

“Consider the third gate off the table!

It was just (an) idea to help relieve traffic that I could put in the Hilwood (sic) PD.  Believe me they didn’t want to pay for it in the first place.

The city doesn’t own the Amazon property.  It’s owned by NASCAR.  NASCAR has a contract on their property with Amazon and they do not need commission approval.  If you haven’t noticed lately, they are building right now.  All the property across from Pelican Bay is owned by the County and NASCAR.  The city doesn’t have land over there.  The roads are owned by the state and county.  The county has been working on the master plan with the state for years.  I’ve stated this before, the only area the city has control of is the western side of the Hilwood (sic) PD.  I’ve explained the Amazon and Volusia County Master Plan till I’m blue in the face.  I can’t explain it any better than I already have.  I’m not going to lie to you.  I even called a meeting to have their attorney explain what is going on over there.  I heard from you that you don’t want a third gate which you would need 75% of the residents to agree.  Consider it off the table!  I will not waste anymore time on this and will not be calling a second meeting.  A second meeting will not do any good when a majority of the residents are not hearing me.  Do your petition to the state and I wish you the best of luck!”

–Daytona Beach Zone 4 City Commissioner Stacy Cantu, lambasting her neighbors and constituents on the restricted Facebook page “Pelican Bay Daytona Beach Community,” as posted to Volusia Issues by a citizen privy to the private communication which discussed a “third gate” at Pelican Bay, something Commissioner Cantu clearly planned to add to a planned industrial development agreement (?), Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Wow.  Interesting. . .

“On Dec. 1, Daytona Beach City Commissioner Stacy Cantu joined with three others to vote to change the comprehensive land use for two adjacent Daytona International Speedway-owned parcels totaling 211 acres, clearing the way for an Amazon distribution center. “I love this project. I think it will put us on the map,” she gushed.”

–The Daytona Beach News-Journal’s Editorial Board, “Secrecy of Amazon’s identity ahead of comp-plan land-use change unspools other concerns,” Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Admittedly, I’m a rube.

But I am not alone. . .

In the January 14, 2022, edition of Angels & Assholes, I asked the same questions many residents of the Halifax area have regarding the enormous impacts – both positive and negative – of the coming Amazon Fulfillment Center and adjacent commercial/industrial development planned for public and private property south of Daytona “International” Airport. 

For having the temerity to exercise my rights and responsibilities as a Volusia County taxpayer to seek answers and engage in civic dialog on issues of public concern, the powerful Commissioner Cantu once again upbraided me on social media:

“Stay tuned to Stacy’s Corner, As the subject of Barkers Angels and rear ends, Carnival Barker is at it again and as Big John says “Nobody knows nothing!” I can guarantee you Carnival Barker knows nothing regarding the Volusia County Master Plan, Hillwood and Amazon….”

She’s right.  But now I am in good company.

I guess the good residents of Pelican Bay don’t know anything either.

But we’re learning. . . 

Earlier this week, a release published in PRNewswire announced that Hillwood, an international industrial development firm, has partnered with NASCAR to build Commerce 500 at Daytona Beach, a project “…with the potential to build out to about two million square feet of industrial space and much-needed new roads and infrastructure for the surrounding community.”

Which, I think, means NASCAR and their friends at Hillwood are doing us a favor?

I’m asking.  Because nothing about this unfolding debacle makes sense.

Last November, during an open and advertised public meeting, the Volusia County Council voted unanimously to approve a $2.7 million proportionate share agreement between the City of Daytona Beach, Daytona 634 Development, LLC, and the County of Volusia – along with an extension of Pelican Bay Drive that will connect the Amazon fulfillment center (and Commerce 500?) to busy Beville Road – dumping traffic from the 2.8 million-square-foot e-commerce warehouse at the east entrance to Pelican Bay. 

Then, we were told that members of the Daytona Beach City Commission were kept in the dark by their own bureaucracy as the mysterious Project Tarpon/Amazon project wound its way through the opaque process – which resulted in the wealthiest online retailer in the universe being gifted a $4-million public spiff. . .

Remember? 

I do.

At the time, Commissioner Cantu – whose district (and neighborhood) is directly impacted by the massive facility tried to sell us on another panacea project:

“We need the economic growth. We need more jobs. I think bringing this project in will help bring more industry to our community.”

“I love this project,” Cantu swooned when voting to approve the agreement, “I think it will put us on the map.”

Then, when the elected elite came out of the ether and realized cargo and employee traffic would be routed onto an already congested Beville Road – something first-year Commissioner Ken Strickland, who cast the lone “No” vote, described as lies by omission – Commissioner Cantu and other elected officials did their best to convince residents of Pelican Bay that they were blindsided by the news there would be traffic associated with an industrial warehouse.

In fact, Ms. Cantu held an informational meeting attended by over two-hundred area residents (and several elected and appointed officials?) during which she described the project as a “nightmare.”   

At the time, residents of Pelican Bay and other concerned citizens were promised there would be a second meeting to address lingering questions and concerns. 

Now, according to Ms. Cantu’s post on a private social media page, that community confab is apparently not going to happen.

Why? 

Because she is “blue in the face” explaining how things are to us insolent dolts – vowing to “…not waste anymore time on this and will not be calling a second meeting.”

So there.

I guess that’s how public meetings attended by elected officials who will vote on ancillary issues surrounding the planned industrial development are either announced and scheduled – or dismissed out-of-hand – in the Duchy of Daytona Beach? 

Really?  “Off the table”?  

Trust me.  We, The Little People may be ignorant of the behind-the-scenes wrangling that got us here, but our elected elite either knew or should have known – that’s their job, dammit – and no one is fooled by the faux-indignation, political posturing, and handwringing these elected chameleons hope will assuage the very real fears of their constituents who are justifiably worried about their future.

In my view, those who permit these enigmatic ‘pig in a poke’ economic development shim-shams, then paint themselves as misinformed rubes, should be held accountable – and the condescending “You’re too stupid to understand” dismissal of constituent concerns undermines confidence in the system.

Look, Ms. Cantu is right – I am a carnival clown who knows little about the inner-workings of a plan involving some of the heaviest hitters in Volusia County business, industry, and government – but it is important that taxpayers know what our policymakers knew and when – or how they were kept in the dark on an issue with such indelible impacts on the Halifax area and beyond.  

The advent of Amazon and Commerce 500 will have major regional impacts – and our elected officials are strategically out-to-lunch on the details.

Stay vigilant. This one is important.  

4 thoughts on “Commerce 500!

  1. Time to start looking into procedural irregularities here. There’s the air of fish about this whole deal.
    And I believe political ambition just took a flyer.

    The neat thing about “Angel and Assholes” is that all the assholes are easily identifiable…even the blue ones.

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    1. Jon my family changed political parties after 55 years.We dont go to One Daytona or the Speedway.Cantu can do and we have enough building and jobs .Only 5 years ago I moved to Ormond Beach from West Palm because no space to build a home and stupid high prices and wokes moved down.I will move if they keep building,traffic,empty shelves ,no service in restaurants and Wokes take over this town.Avalon is ready and a water treatment plant approved for Airport Road and State Rd 40 for Daytonas Avalon and they pay less then Ormond citizens.Vote in 2022.

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  2. I’ll bet you & Big had a great laugh 😆 at Ms Cantu calling you names. From an elected official? How juvenile and uncouth! I had the same problem with my city commissioner who is now apparently running for a county seat – God help us all 🙄

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