Port Orange Council Tackles Hammock Preserve Development Concerns

The Port Orange City Council recently convened to discuss a range of community issues, with considerable attention given to the Hammock Preserve project, a proposed mixed-use development poised to reshape the city’s landscape. The project, involving comprehensive planning changes and rezoning for a planned unit development (PUD), was the subject of rigorous debate over its potential impacts on traffic, stormwater management, and the local environment.

Central to the council’s concerns were the proposed amendments to the future land use map, which would entail urban medium-density residential and commercial designations for specific parcels. The PUD aims to integrate multifamily units with commercial spaces, emphasizing open space preservation and effective stormwater management. The council scrutinized the traffic and transportation plans, focusing on roadways, driveways, and traffic distribution to ensure minimal disruption to existing infrastructure.

The project also prompted a detailed look at stormwater drainage infrastructure, with plans to mitigate environmental impact and manage stormwater runoff. The council examined the anticipated traffic patterns and the impact of the proposed development, including the distribution of traffic to and from the site, and the need for a review of traffic and stormwater issues at the zoning stage. The importance of working collaboratively with the city and county to address potential traffic improvement projects was stressed, with ongoing conversations regarding the expansion of Williamson.

The meeting witnessed discussion around the possible future roadway projects needed to support the PUD. The council noted the city’s proactive measures, such as restriping a left turn lane onto C. Morris Boulevard, and the approval of applications to evaluate intersection improvements at critical junctions. The PUD’s request for a deviation from the Land Development Code regarding building height, intended to cluster residential units and preserve open space, was also deliberated.

A neighborhood meeting held by the applicant, attended by approximately 65 people, and inquiries from 34 individuals highlighted the community’s engagement with the proposed changes. The applicant’s attorney presented the project, emphasizing the collaborative planning efforts with the city and county and the proposed benefits, such as increased open space and reduced rush hour traffic. The architectural vision, focusing on modern Coastal Florida design and natural building materials, was presented, including a concept image of the planned neighborhood commercial building.

Council discussions turned to the project’s impacts on the view and neighborhood, with a flood study by an outside consultant to analyze the basin and the site’s impact on overall development. Questions were raised about the project’s potential impact on traffic flow and stormwater management, with specific attention given to open space allocation. Additionally, the traffic impact analysis, based on the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ documents, predicted the impact of the development on traffic during peak hours and the overall daily trips due to commercial development.

Speakers from the public expressed concerns about flooding in the Groves area and the potential impact of apartments on property values. The allocation of commercial space and the potential for empty lots were also points of contention. The developer responded by underscoring the design’s focus on flood prevention and the economic benefits of the development, delving into the reasoning behind the residential unit count and the limitations on commercial development to mitigate potential issues.

Concerns extended to water retention and the impact of increased building height on the neighborhood’s aesthetic. The council debated the efficacy of compensating storage ponds in flood risk mitigation and the dynamic nature of the traffic improvement project list, expressing the need for continuous updates as the development progresses.

The council also addressed the issue of private stormwater retention, recognizing the challenges inherent in holding government entities accountable for infrastructure maintenance. The responsibilities of homeowners’ associations (HOAs) in maintaining common areas and stormwater retention ponds were discussed, highlighting the complexities that private property ownership brings to stormwater management.

A motion to amend an ordinance to restrict commercial operating hours on a specific parcel was approved after debate, and updates from various city council committees, including those on pensions and the First Step Shelter board, were presented. The council mentioned the success of the First Step Shelter in providing housing and safe zones for individuals in need and pondered increasing the city’s contribution to the shelter.

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.
Donald O. Burnette
City Council Officials:
Reed Foley, Tracy Grubbs, Drew Bastian, Scott Stiltner, Robin Fenwick (CITY CLERK)

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