After nearly two years of hearings, the DeLand City Commission approved rezoning for Beresford Reserve, a controversial 597-unit housing development on a former golf course on the city’s east side.
The development was passed on second reading with a 3-2 vote, with Mayor Bob Apgar and City Commissioners Kevin Reid and Charles Paiva voting in favor and City Commissioners Jessica Davis and Chris Cloudman voting against it.
A nearly packed audience at DeLand City Hall let out deep sighs following the commissioners’ vote July 25.
Unlike most rezoning approvals, it’s going to be some time before the commission sees construction and subdivision plans for the 167-acre Beresford Reserve.
First, the developer must conduct additional soil and water testing to develop an environmental remediation plan that is approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The site, both as a former golf course and a one-time city dump, will require cleanup the scope of which the developer does not yet know.
The remediation process will involve relaying regular updates to the city and the DEP on the scope and progress of the cleanup.
Once completed, the 597-unit project will include a 21-acre public park atop what was once a city dump, as well as walking trails and bike trails throughout the subdivision.
Dr. Wendy Anderson, a vocal opponent of the project, said the decision has made her lose some faith in the political process.
“Of course we’re disappointed,” Anderson said. “Are we surprised? No.”
This decision, Anderson said, was par for the course from the current slate of city commissioners.
The city commissioners, especially those who voted in favor of the rezoning, praised how far the project has come since it was first presented nearly two years ago. Not only were there concerns about the lack of information currently available about contaminants below the former fairways, Commissioners Davis and Cloudman expressed fears about the density within the subdivision and within the city at large.