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A new proposal for a two-pronged commercial project at a major intersection east of DeLand goes before the Volusia County Planning and Land Development Regulation Commission Dec. 20.

A year after the County Council rejected a request to build a RaceTrac convenience store with fuel pumps, the owner of the property on the southeast corner of State Road 44 and Kepler Road is asking to build a veterinary hospital and a building that could be a medical-dental office building or a bank.

Fifth Third Bank owns the 4.1-acre parcel, which is already zoned for a business planned-unit development (BPUD).

The intersection is a chokepoint for traffic, especially during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

The County Council, after hearing objections from nearby homeowners, especially people living around Lake Winnemissett, turned down RaceTrac’s proposal for a 5,000-square-foot store on the site.  

The property is diagonally across from an existing BP/Circle K convenience store with multiple fuel islands, and the council agreed with opponents who said another store at that intersection would aggravate traffic woes. The BP/Circle K store is to be remodeled in the coming months.

Under the proposal now pending, a 7,500-square-foot critical-care veterinary center will be built.

“This facility is intended to be open to receive small animal emergency patients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” a report from the county’s planning staff reads.

The animal hospital is to be the first phase of the project.

The second phase is to be a 5,000-square-foot medical-dental office or a bank. If a bank is to be built, it will have no drive-thru service.

The project is to be buffered, especially on the east and south sides to shield the single-family homes adjacent to the site.

If the new project is approved, there will be a single access point to the animal hospital and bank from both State Road 44 and Kepler Road. The developer will also be responsible for building right-turn lanes to make ingress easier.

The PLDRC’s role in the process is advisory. The panel makes a recommendation for or against a development proposal, but the final decision will come from the County Council at a later date.

The PLDRC meeting starts at 9 a.m. in the County Council Chambers of the Thomas C. Kelly County Administration Center, 123 W. Indiana Ave. in DeLand. The meeting is open to the public.

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Born in Virginia, Al spent his youth in Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia, and first moved to DeLand in 1969. He graduated from Stetson University in 1971, and returned to West Volusia in 1985. Al began working for The Beacon as a stringer in 1999, contributing articles on county and municipal government and, when he left his job as the one-man news department at Radio Station WXVQ, began working at The Beacon full time.

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