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OVER THE YEARS — The former Southridge Golf Course, now the site of a proposed housing development, is shown in 2021 in this aerial photo by Dave Ballesteros.

Beresford Reserve, the controversial housing development planned for construction on the former Southridge Golf Course in southeast DeLand, is expected to return to the DeLand City Commission in June.

The developer, Elevation Development, is seeking an approval for rezoning the project to a Planned Unit Development, or PUD. After months of delays and disagreements, Elevation and the landowner received an approval on first reading in January, but need one more approval to go forward with development.

While all of the land-development aspects of the project’s plans are ready to go, DeLand attorney Mark Watts of Cobb Cole, representing the applicant, told The Beacon, the City of DeLand had requested additional information about plans to clean up the land.

Plenty of harmful contaminants remain on the property, from chemicals like arsenic and dieldrin intended to kill pests, to other potential contaminants from the time the land was used as a city dump.

The 167-acre former golf course will be remediated through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Brownfields program, which Watts has some experience with. He previously worked on DeLand’s Country Club Corners — another Brownfield, which was remediated and now hosts a Publix supermarket and housing.

More information will be available about the testing plans — as the developer gets closer to developing a cleanup plan — in the coming weeks, but the full cleanup plan is not expected to be finished until after the rezoning is approved.

“The way any Brownfield program works is you go out and say, ‘We’re going to do this testing,’ and provide it to DEP, and DEP says, ‘You need more testing here,’” Watts said. “On the DeLand Country Club rezoning, it was probably a year after the zoning was approved that we got the cleanup plan finished.”

The development plan calls for building nearly 600 homes on the 167-acre piece of land. While there is still vocal public opposition to the current plan, the plan is a far cry from what was originally proposed. The original plan called for more than 800 homes and didn’t include plans to build a 20-acre public park on the property.

Rezoning for Beresford Reserve was approved on first reading by a 3-2 vote, with Mayor Bob Apgar and City Commissioners Kevin Reid and Charles Paiva voting in favor, with City Commissioners Chris Cloudman and Jessica Davis voting against.

The second reading for Beresford Reserve’s rezoning is expected to be scheduled for a special meeting of the DeLand City Commission. The Beacon will update our website and social media feeds with more information once it becomes available.

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