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At the request of the developer, the Deltona City Commission Jan. 21 delayed action on a proposal to rezone 13 acres for a subdivision that neighbors say would be too densely packed for their neighborhood.

Deltona Planning and Development Services Director Ron Paradise said the developer wants time to “refine” his plan, which has drawn fire from surrounding residents.

Despite the delay, some residents spoke about the proposed development at the Jan. 21 City Commission meeting, when the subdivision plan was supposed to have been considered.

“What are you going to do with this property? Cut down all the trees?” asked Ben Bishop, a longtime Pine Ridge homeowner.

Besides the proposed density — 4.4 homes per acre — neighbors say the new urban-style development will result in noise and traffic problems in their almost-rural community.

Earlier, the Deltona Planning and Zoning Board voted 6-1 to recommend that the City Commission reject the rezoning request.

The board’s vote is only a nonbinding recommendation.

The City Commission reset the public hearing on the rezoning to its meeting on Monday, Feb. 17.

The area known as Pine Ridge is located west of Pine Ridge High School and adjacent to property formerly owned by Pine Ridge Fellowship, a church that has merged with the Deltona United Methodist Church and moved to 1045 E. Normandy Blvd.

Faith Baptist Church bought the Pine Ridge Fellowship property last year and moved part of its Deltona Christian School there.

The parcel in question and the surrounding properties are zoned RE-1 (Rural Estate), meaning each of the lots in Pine Ridge is an acre or larger.

The owner of the 13-acre site, Howland Holdings LLC, is asking the City Commission to change the zoning to a Residential Planned Unit Development (RPUD) and allow 58 single-family homes to be built. Lots in the proposed RPUD would measure approximately 40 feet wide and 120 feet deep.

“We are concerned that this will change the character of our neighborhood,” said Ella Wheeler, another Pine Ridge homeowner.

Mark Watts, the attorney for Howland Holdings, said he had presented the RPUD to the existing Pine Ridge residents in a community meeting, and not one of those who attended left in support of the project.

“You get out there to be out in the country, and then you flip a switch — 58 houses on 13 acres. That’s a lot of homes,” Pine Ridge homeowner Gene Carter said, as he left the City Commission meeting.

Carter and his neighbors say they will be back at City Hall next month when the issue comes before the commission for a decision.

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