ron paradise
Deltona Development Services Director Ron Paradise.

The Deltona Planning and Zoning Board voted May 18 to support a proposed moratorium on new housing developments.

The board’s recommendation is advisory only; the Deltona City Commission will be asked to make a binding decision in June.

As proposed, the moratorium would not affect multifamily housing, commercial development or housing built on land already zoned for it. 

It would freeze RPUD developments — residential planned-unit developments — requesting zoning changes to allow for custom neighborhoods that often are more dense than the land’s regular zoning allows.

The Planning and Zoning Board’s actions follow hard on the heels of the City Commission’s approval of a housing project called Lakeside Landing, whose lots will be smaller than the lots in the older Lake Sidney neighborhood surrounding it.

“The moratorium will only affect single-family detached dwellings,” Deltona Development Services Director Ron Paradise said.

If passed by the City Commission, the moratorium will be in effect for six months, beginning July 1 and ending Jan. 1, 2023. Paradise said the pause on RPUDs will enable Deltona’s leaders “to give thorough public scrutiny to the development code” and determine if changes are needed.

“We’ve got to make sure that our planning regulations are dynamic and reflect changing times,” he said.

The scrutiny, Paradise also said, will involve soliciting “ideas from the community at large.”

The City Commission earlier this spring signaled its willingness to take a timeout from approving RPUDs, some of which have generated passionate opposition. With little discussion, the Planning and Zoning Board voted unanimously to endorse the moratorium on new RPUD applications.

If imposed, the moratorium will not be absolute. There could be exemptions for “small” projects of 20 homes or fewer. Also eligible for consideration would be projects that would devote as much as 30 percent of the homes for affordable housing.

At the same meeting where the Planning and Zoning Board endorsed the moratorium, board members rejected one RPUD request.

The request was to expand Fernanda Place, a RPUD adjacent to Pine Ridge High School. Construction of the neighborhood is now underway, and a majority of the Planning and Zoning Board voted against adding more lots and houses. 

Starlight Homes asked to add a third phase to Fernanda Place, whose two phases thus far have 252 single-family dwellings. The company in Orlando wanted to build an additional phase with 152 more homes, bringing the total number to 404 units.

The expansion would have required a major amendment to the original development agreement approved in 2016. The amendment for the proposed third phase of Fernanda Place would have rezoned 43.55 acres on the east side of the high school from agricultural to RPUD.

The proposed moratorium on new RPUD applications would not affect Fernanda Place, because its application was already in the process of review and consideration before the moratorium would be in force.

The board’s decision to reject the Fernanda Place expansion is also advisory; the Deltona City Commission will make the final decision.

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