cleared land i-4
COMING SOON TO A HIGHWAY NEAR YOU? —Prime real estate between DeLand and Orange City and close to the interchange of Interstate 4 and State Road 472 may look like this one day. Shown here is newly cleared acreage along North Normandy Boulevard in Deltona, across from the Amazon fulfillment center. The Deltona property is being prepared for the development of the I-4 Logistics Park, which will feature a 1 million-square-foot high-cube building for manufacturing or distribution, as well as two 500,000-square-foot buildings. The owners of the old Southwest Activity Center property along S.R. 472 are asking Volusia County to make zoning changes to allow similar warehouse-distribution centers on 486 acres.

Welcome mat for megawarehouses?

In response to requests from landowners, Volusia County will allow distribution centers on property close to the interchange of Interstate 4 and State Road 472.

The land is in what was once planned as an economic-development zone, but that’s now defunct.

“We had this large master development planned out,” county Growth and Resource Management Director Clay Ervin told the County Council June 21.

The planning regimen, known as a development of regional impact (DRI), expired more than a decade ago, but zoning assigned to the property — much of which has prime highway frontage — remains unchanged. And, Ervin said, the regulations for that zoning do not specifically allow distribution centers.

So, the County Council was being asked to change the zoning “to add the use of warehouse distribution,” Ervin explained.

“It’s supposed to be intensely developed,” he added.

The property is part of the old Southwest Activity Center, which originally encompassed some 1,800 acres around and close to the interchange. The county and the cities of DeLand and Deltona were partners in the Activity Center planning venture. Of the original 1,800 acres, 486 remain in unincorporated areas under the county’s jurisdiction.

The owners of the lion’s share of those 486 acres, the F.A. Ford family, asked the county to amend the zoning for the Activity Center to correct the deficiency and allow distribution centers in the “commerce districts” of the parcels.

“We have had a lot of people look at this property for years,” Alex Ford said.

Ford declined to say if any companies are now interested in acquiring part of his family’s land for a warehouse and trucking complex that could be similar to the Amazon warehouse and distribution center nearby on North Normandy Boulevard in Deltona.

“This is something we messed up … something inadvertently left out,” Council Member Ben Johnson said. “It’s kind of a no-brainer.”

County Chair Jeff Brower said the development of Amazon-like facilities along the highways may bring “lots of traffic issues.” He recalled the ongoing complaints about Amazon-related truck traffic along Beville Road and other thoroughfares in Daytona Beach.

Brower wondered if the Ford property would be better suited for some other types of development.

“I’d like to see something more than $15-an-hour warehouse jobs there,” he said.

The County Council agreed to ask its attorneys to draft an ordinance allowing warehouse distribution. The ordinance will be presented to the County Council at a future meeting.

“I don’t see how we can say no to this,” Council Member Danny Robins said.


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