osteen planned excavation
IMAGE COURTESY CITY OF DELTONA BIG PICTURE — This aerial photo shows the area in Osteen planned for excavation.

Owners of a large tract on Deltona’s rural east side are about to hit pay dirt.

The City Commission has cleared the way for a large borrow-pit operation on 197 low-lying acres along the east side of State Road 415 in the Osteen area.

“Excavation uses are extractive and are typically situated in remote areas outside of urban landscapes associated with municipal limits,” an official summary reads. “The property is also included within the Osteen Joint Planning Area (JPA). The JPA is a joint planning effort between the City and [Volusia] County to appropriately manage growth and development within the Osteen area.”

The agricultural land thus becomes a source of valuable fill dirt for construction projects during a boom in Central Florida’s population and construction of new homes, businesses and roads.

The commission June 20 unanimously approved an ordinance establishing the property belonging to the Pell family as a business planned-unit development (BPUD). Actual excavation and hauling of dirt may not begin for several months, however, as the owners must obtain additional permits from state and/or federal regulatory agencies.

Before the measure won approval, the development agreement — a contract between the landowners and the city — was amended to include additional environmental and transportation provisions:

— The property may continue to be used for agriculture

— Despite the size of the property, only one house is allowed on it

— A large wetlands complex known as the Savanna covering almost half of the property is protected as a conservation easement

— Sand mining will be limited to a single 9-acre pit

— Earthen berms will be created to reduce noise from the digging and loading points

— The hours of excavation and hauling of dirt from the site will be limited to 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

— No digging and/or hauling of dirt is allowed on Saturdays, Sundays, or federal holidays

— The excavation activities are limited to five years, a time period beginning with the approval of the final site plan for the property 

— Once the excavations end, the land is not to be developed for urban uses, even though the land has a BPUD zoning

“Therefore, urban sprawl will not be introduced,” Joey Posey, an attorney for the Pells, told the City Commission.

— Dump trucks leaving the site may not travel on certain Deltona thoroughfares, notably Doyle Road/DeBary Drive, Enterprise Osteen Road, Lakeshore Drive and Goldenhills Street

The heavy-truck traffic was a major concern for some members of the City Commission. The excavation on the Pell land, as well as the one on the adjacent McCaskill tract, will generate an estimated traffic count of some 400 dump trucks coming and leaving on S.R. 415 each workday. The County Council last year approved a special exception for the McCaskill property, situated in the unincorporated area.

“The condition about which roads they can use is part of the development agreement,” Acting Deltona City Manager John Peters said. “If they violate that, we can shut the project down.”

Trucks going to and from the McCaskill site will use a driveway from S.R. 415 onto the Pell property.

The two tracts combined will yield an estimated 1,270,813 cubic yards of dirt. Of that grand total, approximately 413,000 cubic yards will come from the Pell property, and about 857,800 cubic yards will be taken from the McCaskill land. The excavations on each of the properties may be 30 feet deep, according to an engineering drawing on file with the city’s planners.

The City Commission passed the Pell rezoning ordinance with a 6-0 vote. City Commissioner Loren King was absent.


  1. Anyone who is so naive or inexperienced with land use issues, that they really believe a landowner’s lawyer who says that “urban sprawl will not be introduced”, raise your hand.


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