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BILL IS COMING DUE — Passengers debark from an arriving SunRail train in DeBary in this file photo. Costs of the system now being paid by the Florida Department of Transportation are set to transfer to Volusia County and four other Central Florida partners.


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The building boom continues.

Hundreds of new homes may soon appear close to the DeLand Amtrak Station.

A proposal to build 648 dwellings — a mixture of single-family homes, town houses and apartments, with some commercial space — was set to go before Volusia County’s Planning and Land Development Regulation Commission July 15 for review.

The project, known as Villages at Pelham Square, is designed as a planned-unit development (PUD). The developer, Richard Wohlfarth, is asking the county to rezone 123 largely wooded acres on the south side of State Road 44 at Grand Avenue.

The land is now zoned A-3 (Transitional Agriculture) and I-1 (Light Industrial).

Villages at Pelham Square will be within the SunRail DeLand Activity Center, a 313-acre special zone around the Amtrak depot and the SunRail station that is planned there once the commuter-rail system is extended from DeBary to DeLand.

Villages at Pelham Square, if ultimately approved by the County Council, will be an example of a transit-oriented development, designed for residents who may rely on SunRail to commute to work in the Greater Orlando area, and who will rely less on private vehicles.

The project comes to the fore as the long-awaited extension of SunRail service to and from DeLand is moving closer to reality.

“The anticipation of transit service to the DeLand train station was the impetus for adopting the SunRail DeLand Activity Center in 2013,” the county planning staff’s background report on Villages at Pelham Square reads. “Funding for the station was delayed but has recently been reallocated and service is anticipated as soon as 2024. Additionally, development activity has increased in the general area, in both the City and unincorporated areas, within the last five years.”

The PUD, as submitted, calls for the creation of seven phases, or villages, with a projected build-out in 2026.

Grand Avenue bisects the property. On the east side of the PUD will be 114 single-family homes, 60 town houses and 33,000 square feet of commercial space. On the west side of the Villages at Pelham Square will be 150 town houses, 324 apartments and 22,650 square feet of commercial space.

The commercial element, fronting on S.R. 44, envisions retail stores, offices, medical and dental clinics, banks, health clubs, employment agencies and convenience stores with fuel pumps.

The plan also provides for tree preservation, buffers between the Villages and adjoining properties, streets, alleys, parks, play areas and stormwater ponds.

Most of the lots in the single-family neighborhood will feature about 4,400 square feet, with a minimum width of 40 feet.

In conjunction with the SunRail expansion to DeLand, Mayor Bob Apgar believes the project will help steer more traffic and business to the heart of DeLand.

“It aims directly at Downtown DeLand,” Apgar said. “One of the things we worked very hard on and advocated with DOT and the county, we wanted any development that occurred at the TOD to be complementary to Downtown DeLand, but not super-competitive.”

With SunRail’s extension to DeLand looking to finally be a reality, Apgar hopes the commuter rail will bring new customers to the city.

Villages at Pelham Square is not to be confused with the Estates at Pelham Square, a subdivision of 141 single-family homes approved in 2019. The Estates at Pelham Square is also within the SunRail DeLand Activity Center.

Though the property for Villages at Pelham Square is in the unincorporated area of the county, the PUD may be annexed into the city of DeLand, because the city will provide water and sewage services for the homes and businesses.

The county PLDRC will conduct a public hearing on Villages at Pelham Square, including a presentation from the county’s professional planners and listening to comments from neighbors and others interested in the request for a zoning change.

The PLDRC will vote whether to recommend that the County Council approve, reject or modify the proposed development. The advisory vote will be forwarded to the County Council, which is scheduled to act on the rezoning request Tuesday, Sept. 7.

The PLDRC meets at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 15, in the County Council Chambers of the Thomas C. Kelly County Administration Center, 123 W. Indiana Ave., DeLand. The meeting is open to the public.

What’s that construction out by the skating rink?
Eagle-eyed DeLandites have noticed construction near the skating rink, Rink DeLand, 1779 N. Spring Garden Ave. The site will eventually be Addison Landing, a roughly 32-acre subdivision with 83 single-family homes on lots ranging from 55 feet wide to 85 feet wide. Rezoning for the subdivision was approved last year by the City of DeLand.


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