Some people now living in a subdivision next to Pine Ridge High School in Deltona do not want more neighbors so close by.
“I’m here to implore you not to approve this,” Jennifer Sutton told the Deltona City Commission June 20. “I don’t want a road going through my backyard.”
Sutton and other residents bought homes in Fernanda Place, a two-phase planned-unit project with a total of 252 dwellings. The neighborhood, whose first homes came onto the market in 2016, is nearing build-out.
Fernanda Place developer Poulos & Bennett LLC is seeking the city’s blessing for a third phase, which would bring 152 more homes onto 43.55 acres on the east side of the high school.
Approval of Fernanda Place Phase 3 would take the form of rezoning the parcel from Agricultural to Residential Planned Unit Development (RPUD). Deltona’s planning staff endorsed the request, but the city’s Planning and Zoning Board voted to recommend against the zoning change.
“My major concern with this is traffic,” City Commissioner Dana McCool said.
Congestion occurs on Howland Boulevard in the mornings as parents drop off their children at Pine Ridge High and/or at nearby Pride Elementary School. To ease some of the traffic woes, the developer has offered to pay for a traffic signal at the intersection of Howland and Fernanda Drive.
In addition, the developer is offering to “retrofit” the original two phases of the subdivision, by providing space for overflow parking. City officials say parking on the streets of the neighborhood is now quite common.
“Just say no,” Planning and Zoning Board Vice Chair Jody Storozuk urged the City Commission.
As Fernanda Place would grow in size and numbers, the developer proposes to build another swimming pool for the neighbors. Monthly dues for the homeowners association are now $64 per home. The existing community pool is inadequate, according to critics of the proposed addition to Fernanda Place.
“You can’t even move around in the pool, and there’s not enough parking,” Hope Gandy said.
Gandy said building contractors often leave nails in the roads and streets of Fernanda Place, and those nails have punctured her car’s tires, “$200 a pop.”
In addition to the traffic problems, Sutton said, youngsters often jump over her fence and walk across her yard to go to and from school.
The City Commission voted 4-2 in favor of the third phase of Fernanda Place, but the elected body postponed until Aug. 1 an actual vote on the first reading of the rezoning. In the meantime, the developer promises to improve the plan.
“The applicant has heard the commission’s concerns and the concerns of the residents,” Mayor Heidi Herzberg said, thus affording time for the developer to revise the RPUD request.
In a related move, the City Commission passed on second and final reading an ordinance imposing a six-month moratorium on consideration of new applications for RPUDs.
Because so many of the RPUDs brought before the commission have generated opposition, the commission adopted the timeout on such projects to give time and opportunity for planners to review Deltona’s development regulations and suggest changes.
The moratorium goes into effect July 1 and ends Jan. 1, 2023. The moratorium does not affect the Fernanda Place RPUD expansion, because the request was already under review and consideration.
In addition, the moratorium is not an absolute ban on RPUDs. It would not include small projects, meaning subdivisions of 20 homes or fewer, and RPUDs that would designate at least 30 percent of their dwellings as affordable housing.