Concerned over waking up future Villages at Pelham Square residents with the loud clicks and clacks of metal recycling, the Volusia County Council delayed a vote to rezone land for a 648-unit development planned near the future DeLand SunRail station.
Bart Phillips, owner of Dominion Metal Recycling, at 2400 W. New York Ave. in DeLand, just a stone’s throw from the future site of the DeLand SunRail station and the surrounding transit-oriented development area, or TOD, worried about pestering future neighbors with his business.
The developer, Richard Wohlfarth of DeLand Development IV, never reached out, Phillips said. While he wants to work with his neighbors, the proximity of town homes to areas where the metal recycling magic happens has him worried.
“I wouldn’t want it in my backyard,” he said.
Phillips’ land is zoned for industrial work, and so was part of the area where Wohlfarth hopes to develop Villages at Pelham Square.
“By having residential there, we are not going to be able to have the noise allowed because we’ll be bothering everyone around,” Phillips said. “I’d just hate to bother my neighbors like that.”
Wohlfarth said he wanted to work with Phillips. When asked by the County Council why he did not reach out sooner, Wohlfarth explained that his wife recently died and he has not devoted the time and energy to the DeLand project he should have.
As possible solutions, Wohlfarth said he would be happy to extend the existing buffer or to lose a town house or two, among other options, to prevent residents from being disturbed by the noise and allow Phillips to work as he has for the past 10 years.
After speaking at the meeting, Phillips said he and Wohlfarth intend to meet to discuss how to not irritate possible future neighbors.
To give Wohlfarth time to properly iron out a plan with the nearby property owner, the County Council unanimously agreed to continue Villages at Pelham Square’s request to rezone to a planned urban development to the next County Council meeting, Sept. 21.
So what’s it all about?
Villages at Pelham Square is a proposed 123-acre mixed-use development that would be part of the SunRail Activity Center in DeLand, south of New York Avenue and east of Grand Avenue.
When fully constructed, Villages at Pelham Square would include 648 units of housing and a nearly 56,000-square-foot commercial district. Villages at Pelham Square is part of the transit-oriented, or TOD, plan that will encompass the future DeLand SunRail extension and neighboring area.
The total TOD area will encompass some 313 acres comprising two districts, a core district — allowing for higher-density residential development — and a transition district — allowing for lower-density residential and commercial development. More than half of Villages at Pelham Square exists in the transition district, while the remaining residential area along Grand Avenue is part of the core.
The development’s 648 units will consist of 114 single-family homes on 40-foot-wide lots, 210 town homes and 324 apartments.
The project, if approved, will also bring about a huge makeover for Grand Avenue in DeLand’s west side.
“We are totally rebuilding Grand Avenue, and we think we will be building it into a grand avenue,” developer and applicant Richard Wohlfarth said.
The rebuilt Grand Avenue will be a two-lane road with turn lanes, a 12-foot-long trail on its western edge, a 5-foot-wide sidewalk on the eastern side, and parallel parking. The Grand Avenue improvements are included in the first phase of the Villages at Pelham Square project.
Not everyone was all for the grand plan for Grand Avenue, though. One public speaker, identified as Lisa, said she thinks the road is grand enough as it is, thank you very much.
“Have you ever driven down Grand Avenue? It’s beautiful. You will never get that back,” she said. “If you allow this to happen, I will not thank God I live in DeLand anymore. It will be ugly. It will be disgusting.”
Continued for now, the request to rezone Villages at Pelham Square will return at the next Volusia County Council meeting, at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21, in the County Council Chambers of the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Center, 123 W. Indiana Ave. in DeLand.
Meetings are open to the public and can be viewed online live and after the meeting, HERE.