Editor, The Beacon:

This letter is in response to the article by Buz Nesbit in the June 24 edition of The Beacon. When Victoria Park was building on the corner of MLK Beltway and Taylor Road, the homes were being built on 50-foot lots. Shortly after that time, somehow, DeLand changed the rules, allowing builders to come in and build on lots as small as 38 feet. When did this happen, and was the public made aware of this change? Perhaps we should be asking the city why this was allowed and who voted in favor of it?

This change opened the door for the developers to come in and present their plans to build houses on these tiny lots to maximize their profits. Of course, because they are able to label it “affordable housing,” they qualify for federal-assistance money to build it.

What happens now is the Planning Board and City Commission wind up voting to approve every time someone wants to come in and build a large number of homes on small lots, no matter how many people speak up against it or come to the City Commission meetings. You are right, it is time for a change. We must insist that our voices be heard.

When I attended the Planning Board meeting for the Lincoln Oaks subdivision on West Plymouth Avenue, a real estate broker told you building larger homes on larger lots would be a better way to develop this beautiful land so close to our Downtown and Stetson University. Were you listening?

The plan was approved and sent to the City Commission for their approval. I went to the City Commission meeting where several people spoke against it and, when it was my “two minutes to speak,” the City Commission members spoke to one another and checked their watches and laptops. Finally the mayor told me to wrap it up. I came away feeling as if no one in the front of the room was listening.

There have been many people who have shown up at several recent meetings opposing the many large projects all around this city since then who are feeling the same way, too. I am not opposed to development; it is inevitable in this area, like it or not. But could you please try to be a whole lot more responsible in what you allow?

The damage is done with what you have allowed and approved already. Unfortunately we can’t change that part of it. Changing the ordinance back that allows lots no smaller than 50 feet would at least be a step in the right direction. Also you should listen when people come up with ideas other than development to improve our community.

To quote The Eagles: “Call some place paradise; kiss it goodbye.”

Mark Smith



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