A parcel of vacant land along the west side of Old Kings Road south is set to become a community of 1,200 new homes.
“We were ‘those people’ to someone else when we came along, and ‘this developer’ who we now say is the bad developer – what do you think Halifax did? A developer.”
— ADAM MENGEL, Director of Growth Management for Flagler County
Despite objections from area residents who said the proposed development would be too dense and strain the capacity of Old Kings Road, the Flagler County Commission at a July 11 meeting approved a set of measures necessary for development to move forward.
Homes in the development – once considered a new phase of the existing Eagle Lakes development, but now referred to as a separate development known as “Radiance” – would be built by Kolter Homes.
They will be built over seven years and spread over 612 acres in two sections, with 425 single-family homes with no age limit in the north section and 775 single-family homes ages 55 and older in the south section.
The development would be closed.
Actions approved by the commission at the meeting included moving property zoning designations and their land use designations to the county’s future land use map, amending a planned unit development agreement for development and establish a community development district, or CDD, to govern the community.
“This development adds nothing of value to the existing South Old Kings community. … It appears that the claimant is just taking, asking for more and giving nothing in return.”
— NANCY DANCE
Many residents who criticized the proposed development said it would overload Old Kings Road and Old Kings’ intersection with Old Dixie Highway.
“My son catches the bus at the end of the Steeplechase Trail,” said Polo Club West resident Christine Kraus. “I see… so many cars, buses going by – I can’t imagine adding thousands more cars to that.”
She noted that other developments are also planned for the region.
“I think you have to consider every subdivision that happens on Old Kings and get the traffic taken care of first,” she said. “I don’t think anything should be built until the traffic and the roads are taken care of.”
Other residents have asked the County Commission to delay a decision on the development until an independent traffic study can be completed.
But attorney Michael Chiumento, representing the developer, said the development was grandfathered for the amount of traffic it was expected to generate. The developer has already conducted a traffic study to address concerns from county government staff, he said.
“The proper study has been done,” he said. “County staff said, ‘The study you provided is sufficient; it demonstrates that Old Kings Road, as a segment, will not fail. “”
The intersection of Old Kings Road with Old Dixie Highway is in Volusia County, so Flagler County does not have jurisdiction over the area.
But Commissioner David Sullivan said he would like that intersection included in an updated traffic study of the area before the Radiance development seeks commission approval for its final course.
Other residents criticized the density of the development. It would have about two units per acre.
Local resident Nancy Dance, the mother of County Commissioner Andy Dance, previously owned the property and sold it as part of a deal that it would be used for low-density development, like the existing Eagle phase Lakes, she said.
She also worried about the traffic the Radiance proposal would generate.
“I’m not here in front of you to say ‘no’ to any development,” she said. But, she added, the density level of the current Eagle Lakes phase “should be respected.”
“The owners of Eagle Lakes purchased their current lots knowing that phase two was a future low-density development with larger lots that reflected what they had purchased,” she said.
The 40-foot lots included in the Radiance proposal are too small for the area, she said.
“This development adds nothing of value to the existing community of South Old Kings,” she said. “It seems like the candidate is just taking, asking for more and giving nothing in return. Where is our commitment to the residents of the Flagler County community?”
Commissioner Greg Hansen was concerned about whether there would be enough water and sewer capacity for the development.
County government director of growth management Adam Mengel said there is currently not enough capacity but will be added as the development is built.
Mengel, reacting to residents’ objections to the development project, said locals had the wrong mindset when they thought new people were moving into the area like “those people”.
“We were ‘those people’ for somebody else when we came along,” Mengel said, “and ‘that developer’ who we now say is the bad developer – what do you think did Halifax? A developer.”
The commission approved zoning and land use map changes for the Radiance development 3-1, with commissioner Andy Dance withdrawing from the vote due to his family’s ties to the land.
Commissioner Greg Hansen was the only one to vote against the rezoning and an amendment to the unit development agreement planned for the development, while Sullivan was the only one to vote against the future amendment to the use map of the lands.
Commissioners approved the creation of the 4-0 Community Development District, with Dance again abstaining.