orange city distribution center
WHERE THE PROPERTY IS — The shaded area denotes the future location of the North Kentucky Distribution Center. The nearly square piece is the site of the approximately 630,000-square-foot warehouse. The smaller shaded triangle on the northeast side along State Road 472 will be left intact as a tree-preservation parcel.

The plan to build a huge warehouse to receive and ship merchandise far and near is coming together in Orange City.

Thus far, the company destined to use the huge facility is unknown, or at least unannounced.

“We do not know the end user,” Orange City Development Services Director Becky Mendez said, adding the future occupant “may employ 200 to 400” people.

In any event, the City Council Oct. 25 tentatively approved the proposal known as the North Kentucky Distribution Center, so named because it is close to the intersection of North Kentucky Avenue and State Road 472. The actual building of the warehouse, which is to enclose more than 600,000 square feet, may start in a few months, according to the developer.

“I would say the second quarter [2023],” Jack Chapman, the developer of the property, told The Beacon after the Orange City Council voted in favor of the project. “It is a one-phase development project.”

Chapman is vice president of Transwestern Development Co., of Dallas.

The size of the warehouse has been reduced from the estimated 800,000 square feet discussed previously.

In any event, the land and the scenery along Kentucky Avenue and the south side of S.R. 472 may likely begin to change in the spring. Asked how long the construction of the warehouse may take, Chapman replied, “Historically, that takes about 15 months.”

However, he said, the time could be prolonged because of supply-chain problems, especially acquiring concrete and steel for the mega-building.

The council’s initial approval of the North Kentucky Distribution Center came in the form of rezoning the 44.54-acre site from Mixed Use Suburban (MX-2) to Planned Unit Development (PUD). That PUD will feature a warehouse of some 632,000 square feet — approximately 14.5 acres under roof — with 143 parking spaces for heavy trucks and 310 spaces for smaller private vehicles. Mendez said the warehouse will “have truck bays on both sides of the building” visible from the roadways.

A traffic study performed by Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc., of Orlando, concluded the new facility will generate an average of 1,037 new vehicle trips per day along Kentucky Avenue and surrounding roadways, such as S.R. 472, East Graves Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway.

The second and final public hearing and the final vote on the rezoning ordinance will be scheduled for the City Council’s Nov. 15 meeting.

Before any development of the North Kentucky Distribution Center may come about, the project’s possible environmental effects must be considered. An environmental-assessment report dated Dec. 27, 2021, concluded “gopher tortoises were located on the site.”

“An updated gopher tortoise survey and relocation permits from [the] Florida Wildlife Commission are required at final site-plan review,” the report reads.

Because “minimal scrub jay habitat is located on site, … the proposed Development Agreement states a scrub jay survey in accordance with USFWS [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] will be conducted prior to the issuance of site plan developments order.”

A report prepared by Orange City’s planning staff notes the North Kentucky Distribution Center site is free of standing water.

“Based on preliminary aerial photo and wetland map analysis, there appears to be no wetlands on the subject property,” the report reads.

The North Kentucky Distribution Center tract is immediately south of The Crossings, a mixed-use PUD on the southeast corner of the intersection of Kentucky Avenue and S.R. 472. The Crossings is the work of Trycon Management & Leasing Inc., a DeLand firm. Trycon proposes to build “neighborhood commercial” buildings enclosing 31,000 square feet, along with 13,600 square feet of office space, a 100-room hotel and 288 apartments on the 26.3-acre corner parcel. A convenience store/gas station may also be built along S.R. 472 on the Trycon parcel.

Not least, North Kentucky Avenue will have to be improved to accommodate the anticipated increase in traffic coming to and going from the warehouse. The developer is to pay for the construction of northbound and southbound turn lanes on Kentucky Avenue. There will be three access points along Kentucky Avenue for the warehouse.

Still, having access to the warehouse only from the two-lane Kentucky Avenue troubled Council Member Bill O’Connor.

“That road was not built for tractor-trailers,” he said. “Why are we sticking a big box in the middle of it?”

Volusia County Traffic Engineering’s 2021 traffic count showed the segment of North Kentucky Avenue between East Graves Avenue and S.R. 472 had an average daily volume of 10,830 vehicles. (The 2022 traffic figures are not yet available.)

O’Connor also expressed concern about a seeming lack of separation between the apartments to be built in The Crossings and the distribution center.

“People will look out their windows, and all they see is big square buildings,” he added. “I don’t think there are enough buffers.”

The draft development agreement calls for a 135-foot tree-preservation buffer on the northern side of the North Kentucky Distribution Center property.


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