110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
New DeBary City Council Member Dwyer takes seat, casts vote against brownfield
By Pat Andrews
posted Jan 21, 2014 - 12:57:23pm
The DeBary City Council and residents in attendance at a Jan. 15 meeting bid adieu to
outgoing City Council Member Nick Koval and welcomed new City Council Member Rick
Dwyer, who wrested the seat from Koval in the November election.
A city-staff recommended brownfield designation was one of the matters of business
before the City Council. Dwyer cast the lone dissenting vote against a resolution granting
a brownfield designation for the area around the SunRail station, covering the
Springview Commerce and Benson Junction areas off South U.S. Highway 17-92 in
DeBary planner Rebecca Hammond recommended the council approve the designation
to stimulate economic development in the transit-oriented development (TOD) area
surrounding the SunRail station.
A brownfield designation doesn't identify the site as contaminated, Hammond said.
"Brownfields are abandoned, idled, or underused industrial and commercial properties
where expansion, reuse or redevelopment may be complicated by real or perceived
environmental contamination," and brownfield designations are a tool for economic
development or redevelopment, she said.
Such designations makes properties eligible for state loans, incentive programs for job
creation, and help for cleanup where needed, as well as federal grants.
She noted that two public workshops had been held to discuss the brownfield
Dwyer said the designation plants "psychological seeds" in people's minds that land is
Kenny Patterson, owner of two businesses in the targeted area — American Auto
Salvage, as well as Benson Junction Trading Depot — was shaking with anger as he
addressed the council during public comment.
He said the designation "is like a black eye" on that property, tagging it as "dirty and
nasty," which is not true.
Mayor Bob Garcia said the brownfield designation gives incentives to buyers to purchase
City Manager Dan Parrott said the designation is an attempt to make the area attractive
to developers. Hammond and others pointed out property owners can opt out of the
designation, if they choose. Council Member Dan Hunt said no eminent domain, or
government taking of property, is involved.
None of the comments calmed Patterson or changed Dwyer's mind.
Dwyer said he's not sure from his readings that a brownfield designation doesn't require
either some contaminated land in the area or abutting it, and he would rather not jump
Patterson stormed out of the meeting.
Mayor Garcia, Vice Mayor Chris Carson, and Council Members Hunt and Lita Handy-Peters voted for the designation, with Dwyer opposed.
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