A month after they voted down changes in the long-awaited Deltona Village plan, the City Commission May 1 agreed to reconsider the developer’s wishes — and thus avoid a possible day in court.
After listening to an appeal by Deltona Village creator Frank DeMarsh for an enlargement of the original plan, the commission decided to reconsider possible revisions of his Business Planned Unit Development (BPUD).
”This is a motion for a rehearing,” Deltona Community Services Director Joe Ruiz told the commission.
The Deltona City Commission, following more comments by Kim Booker, attorney for DeMarsh, and by its own members, voted to set a date and time for DeMarsh to make his case to amend Deltona Village. The rehearing is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 22, at Deltona City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.
With a 4-3 vote, the commission April 3 had rebuffed DeMarsh when he asked to add more apartments adjacent to the Epic Theatres. DeMarsh had asked that the cap on multifamily housing units be raised from 414 to 652, a 238-dwelling increase.
DeMarsh also sought to add another 26.5 acres to the 140 acres now identified as Deltona Village. The inclusion of the acreage on the north side of Graves Avenue, next to and surrounding the Maschmeyer Concrete plant, would put the total size of Deltona Village at 166.57 acres, or a little larger than a quarter of a square mile.
Deltona’s Planning and Zoning Board and the city’s professional planners had endorsed the changes DeMarsh had requested.
Booker’s call for a rehearing was backed up by a 21-page motion. That document gave a sense of urgency to the city’s leaders.
“In the event that the City Commission decides not to grant a rehearing on these matters, Petitioner [DeMarsh and Deltona Retail Holdings LLC] will take any and all legal action necessary to enforce its vested rights under the Development Agreement,” reads the admonition on Page 14 of the motion.
By denying an increase in the maximum number of apartments allowed, and by declining to add the parcel north of Graves Avenue, Booker said, the commission had not adhered to the Deltona Village development agreement.
“We have vested rights,” she said. “We have the Deltona Village BPUD that was approved in 2010.”
The majority of the City Commission last month had rejected the changes because of concerns about traffic along North Normandy and Howland boulevards and Graves Avenue. Critics of the requested changes also said increases in the housing would overcrowd nearby public schools, notably Timbercrest Elementary, Galaxy Middle and Deltona High.
Booker cited documents from the Volusia School District affirming there is adequate capacity for additional children in the neighborhood schools.
“[T]he project will generate 45 full-time students,” reads a letter from the School District dated March 27, 2023.
“This Finding [sic] shall constitute competent substantial evidence that adequate public school capacity is likely to be available at the time it is required to serve the planned new development,” an accompanying report noted.
The letter included a small chart noting Timbercrest is now at 123 percent of its enrollment capacity, while Galaxy is 93 percent full, and Deltona High has 98 percent of its capacity. While the Timbercrest number was highlighted in red numerals, the letter noted the following:
“The student projections generated by this project will [underscored “will”] increase the existing percentage above 100 % permanent capacity at the elementary school levels. However, when evaluated against the adjacent concurrency service area (CSA), which is Deltona Lakes Elementary, the average level of service (LOS) of 101% for both schools falls below mitigation thresholds. Based on this, the school district has no objection to the proposed development plan,” the letter reads.
Among the vested rights Booker cited for her client and his property are a maximum of 17,808 daily trips to the planned amenities of Deltona Village. Among those amenities are offices, restaurants, and 900,000 square feet of retail-commercial space.
If the commission would allow more apartments, Booker’s motion notes, DeMarsh would “reduce the total retail square footage … because the proposed amendment to increase multi-family units will generate fewer traffic trips than retail use.”
If the City Commission raised the maximum number of apartments, Ruiz said, the retail piece of Deltona Village would be decreased by approximately 141,000 square feet.
“It is consistent with the comp plan and the land-development code,” Booker said. “We would respectfully request that you allow us another hearing.”
Vice Mayor Anita Bradford moved to grant DeMarsh and Booker one more chance to argue for the revisions of Deltona Village.
“That applicant has had his application in for 17 years. He has gone through roadblock after roadblock,” she said.
The City Commission voted unanimously to set the rehearing on Deltona Village. City Commissioner Jody Lee Storozuk was physically absent but voted via phone.