Ormond Beach Moves to Protect Property Values and Address School Concerns

In a recent Ormond Beach City Commission meeting, attention was given to the concerns of local residents regarding the potential relocation of the Riverview Learning Center to the former Osceola Elementary School site. A number of residents spoke out about the impact on property values, safety, and the lack of community input on the decision. The commission responded by voting to write a letter to the school board urging them to reconsider their decision and agreed to hold a community meeting to further engage with citizen’s concerns.

Councilman Troy Kent highlighted the County Council’s vote to create off-beach parking with a fee for visitors from outside Volusia County. Kent underscored the potential revenue increase and advocated for ensuring Ormond Beach residents’ access to the Andy Romano Beachfront Park. The County Council’s decision could also involve a rate increase for out-of-town visitors.

Addressing one of the core issues raised by the public, Patty Core, the Chief Operating Officer for Volusia County Schools, discussed the use of the former Osceola Elementary School site. Core explained that temporary classrooms would be removed, and the site would be used to consolidate a program currently spread over two locations. However, this explanation did not assuage the residents’ concerns, as evidenced by the comments made during the meeting.

Linda Garder, a local resident, expressed concerns about the impacts of the nearby four-lane highway on her property and called for a more local facility within the community. Josephine Levenstein, a new homeowner, joined the chorus for community input. Real estate professionals Lindsay Wolf and Kimberly Campbell also raised issues regarding the potential impact of Riverview Learning Center’s move on property values and insisted on the need for a community meeting to understand the implications of the proposed change.

A member of the public had highlighted the lack of communication regarding a meeting on December 5th, calling for a community meeting and raising safety and logistical questions about moving students to a different building.

In addition to the school concerns, the commission addressed several infrastructure and community issues. The Ormond Beach Housing Authority, represented by Reverend Willie Branch, its chairman, provided updates on improvements in audit ratings and expansion efforts. The authority also raised issues with water drainage on their property, prompting the commission to promise support and guidance to rectify the problem.

The meeting continued with discussions on the enforcement of city codes. Reverend Stan Driscoll advocated for a shift from a complaint-based system to a proactive system to prevent the degradation of the city. The commission acknowledged the importance of this issue and planned to discuss it further in an upcoming workshop.

Technological improvements were also on the agenda, with the approval of updates to the city’s website and streaming and recording system. The commission expressed satisfaction with these initiatives, expected to enhance transparency and accessibility for residents. The provision of gear washers for each fire station was another point of focus, emphasizing the importance of equipping the fire department adequately.

The commission approved a resolution to impose a lien on a property on Rockefeller Drive to recover costs incurred by the city for demolishing an unsafe structure. There were questions about insurance coverage for the property owner and whether the lien would accrue interest.

Another heritage issue addressed was the renaming of the McDonald House to the Stout McDonald House to reflect its historical significance. This change was supported by the commission and advocated for by both the Historic Landmarks Preservation Board and community members.

City Manager Joyce Shanahan provided updates on upcoming meetings and workshops, which included topics such as capital improvement projects, technology upgrades, and strategic planning initiatives.

The commission also discussed the city’s participation in the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program, partnering with Daytona Beach and Holly Hill for a mobile breathing air trailer. Updates were provided on the Citizens Academy, scheduled to run from April 18th to May 23rd, which aims to educate residents on various aspects of local government.

Commissioner Persis acknowledged the importance of residents’ input and improvements to local facilities. Deputy Mayor Briley and Commissioner Tolland also commended the involvement of the community and the positive impact of city initiatives on transparency and local governance.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Bill Partington
City Council Officials:
Lori Tolland, Travis Sargent, Susan Persis, Harold Briley

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