Editor, The Beacon:
Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in real estate development in the city of DeLand. Multiple concentrated subdivisions have been approved; Planned Developments are everywhere, with many developers vying for a piece of real estate action.
My question to all DeLand residents, generational DeLandites or recent transplants is, who benefits, and have we had enough?
I am not opposed to change; it is inevitable and necessary. Nothing can remain the same and still grow and prosper. However, are all these new concentrated single-family housing (SFH) developments what DeLand really needs?
In planning meetings I have attended, members of the Planning Board have noted there is a shortage of affordable housing. Yet they approve more SFH subdivisions despite community opposition and many unsold new homes.
How does this repeat approval of new SFH subdivisions follow the 2050 Vision for DeLand?
Where is the redevelopment of the city core, which is deemed so important?
Most PDs and new subdivisions require car ownership, which contradicts the transportation plan.
How is “open space, farmland etc.” preserved when swaths of forested land are being torn down?
Where is the consideration for overburdened infrastructure? Especially schools that are already oversubscribed.
The new single-family homes being built or proposed are too expensive for much of the population of DeLand. Without affordable housing, where will our essential workers live?
DeLand has survived with its unique character for almost 150 years. An empty city core and the closure of small independent businesses will rip out the soul of this historic town, remove its charm and diversity, to be replaced by what?
If the goal of the City of DeLand is to just be another satellite town for Orlando, with the imminent arrival of the SunRail station, I fear this will be fulfilled.
Development of DeLand should benefit the city, the residents, and the developer. It seems with the recent approvals that only the developers are benefiting.
Surely it is time that the Planning Board and City Commission think strategically and work together with developers to provide affordable housing on existing vacant lots. Developers want to build, and the city of DeLand has a shortage of affordable housing.
If you agree, I urge you to raise your voice and be heard, attend a planning hearing, call, email or write the mayor, City Commission and Planning Board.