ron paradise
BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON Deltona Development Services Director Ron Paradise

Against the wishes of people in a south Deltona neighborhood — and against the recommendation of its own planning board — the Deltona City Commission April 18 tentatively approved a proposal for 122 single-family houses on 39 acres on Lake Sidney.

“We’re looking at a whole lot more traffic,” one speaker told commissioners. “You have kids standing out there on the corner waiting for the [school] bus. … You’re going to have construction trucks.”

The City Commission, with a 4-3 split, voted to rezone the vacant square parcel from single-family residential to residential planned-unit development. The property is situated east of Alex Lane and north of Barger Drive.

“This project’s been in the pipeline for some time,” Deltona Development Services Director Ron Paradise said. 

He described it as a master-plan community known as Lakeside Landing.

The commission’s action comes as Deltona’s leaders are considering a moratorium on the new RPUDs, following intense opposition to them in recent years. 

In fact, an Osteen property owner is suing Deltona over the Hickory Lakes Preserve rezoning. In April 2021, the commission voted in favor of Hickory Lakes, a planned suburban neighborhood in a rural setting. 

As for the Lake Sidney plan, Michael Woods, the attorney representing the developer, said as many as 98 homes could be built on the property now, under the current R1A zoning. The developer, Lakeside Landing LLC, has scaled down its maximum number of homes from 126 to the 122 “that we’re proposing right now.”

The City Commission’s initial approval of Lakeside Landing follows the Planning and Zoning Board’s recommendation to reject it. Several neighbors spoke out against it at the board’s March 30 public hearing, and the panel voted 5-2 against rezoning for a RPUD.

The critics took their case to the City Commission.

“We have children, grandchildren and people who walk down the street with their dogs,” Jose Echevarria told commissioners. 

He added Barger Drive needs repair.

“That’s got potholes in it. That road’s in bad shape,” Echevarria said. “Are we putting the cart in front of the horse?”

Some neighbors, such as Heather DeRose, said they never received letters from City Hall informing them about the rezoning request, as required by law. DeRose also pointed to traffic concerns.

“This does not create a safe environment for our children,” she said. “All that we ask of the city is you not change the integrity of our neighborhood.”

As for neighbors’ concerns about heavy smoke from fires to dispose of cut-down trees before development, Paradise promised, “We will not allow open burning on this site.”

As a new development, Lakeside Landing will be required to provide sewer service to its residents, and the owners of the existing homes fear being forced to pay to connect to the system. City officials said there are no plans to compel them to do so.

“Right now, we do not require residents to hook up, unless they want to,” City Attorney Marsha Segal-George said.

If approved on second and final reading next month, Lakeside Landing subdivision will be more dense than the older neighborhood surrounding it. The development plan includes buffers along the boundaries of the neighborhood to separate it from the clusters of existing homes on larger lots. 

The Lakeside Landing master plan calls for trails, a lake overlook, and a “tot lot,” or play area for small children. There will be a homeowners association, and the new residents will be required to join it.

A bare majority of the City Commission — Mayor Heidi Herzberg, Vice Mayor Maritza Avila-Vazquez and Commissioners Anita Bradford and Victor Ramos — supported the rezoning for Lakeside Landing. Commissioners Loren King, Dana McCool and David Sosa were on the losing side.

King argued against any zoning change, saying the developers and investors wouldn’t be hampered by following the existing rules..

“They know what they buy,” King said. “We have R1A property, and the developer can build on that property now.”

Before any building may occur, the City Commission must approve the rezoning on a second and final vote. A public hearing will precede final action on the ordinance. That final hearing and vote are now slated for 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 16, at Deltona City Hall, 2345 Providence Blvd. The meeting is open to the public.

If commissioners approve the change in zoning at that time, the developer must conduct environmental surveys for scrub jays and gopher tortoises on the property before preparing the site for construction.

1 COMMENT

  1. I wonder how much the commissioners are being paid for this? Why else would they go against their own planners and citizens?

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