Despite concerns about traffic counts and payments for growth, the Deltona City Commission June 19 revamped the planned Deltona Village.
The revised plan for the 140-acre business planned-unit development (BPUD) on the city’s north side now envisions more apartments and less retail-commercial space than originally proposed.
“When you amend something, it becomes a new project,” City Commissioner Dana McCool said.
Making a commercial core for Deltonans, who often now shop at businesses in Orange City, DeLand or Sanford, has been a long process. Deltona Village has been more than a decade and a half in the making.
The City Commission’s acceptance of Frank DeMarsh’s request for permission to construct more apartments resulted from its rejection of his request earlier this year. DeMarsh and his attorney, Kim Booker, appealed for a rehearing of the request, and the City Commission granted them another opportunity to make their case — with the threat of legal action if denied.
That rehearing took place June 19, and DeMarsh won a partial victory. The commission agreed to amend the Deltona Village plan on first reading. The second and final reading, along with a public hearing on the amended proposal, will be scheduled at a later date.
Here are the key points:
— The development agreement — meaning a contract — for Deltona Village was ratified by the city and the developer, Frank DeMarsh, who heads Deltona Retail Holdings LLC, in May 2010. Signing for the city was then-Mayor Dennis Mulder.
— A 2009 ordinance pertaining to Deltona Village was to guide the future development, including the residential element. A background summary of the matter was included in the agenda of the City Commission’s June 19 meeting.
“There were Conditional Use options including an allocation of up to 414 multifamily units,” the paper notes. “The intensity of the Deltona Village BPUD was capped at 900,000 square feet.”
— At DeMarsh’s urging, the commission made a tradeoff of commercial for housing. Under the new arrangement, the maximum number of apartments within Deltona Village will be raised to 652, a 238-unit increase.
— To make certain the traffic volumes are stable, DeMarsh agreed to pare the retail space from the maximum of 900,000 square feet to approximately 700,000.
— The reason for the trade-off is to keep the estimated number of daily vehicle trips within, into and out of Deltona Village at or below the number determined in a 2009 traffic study. That traffic study projected the average daily volume of traffic on the roads and streets of Deltona Village would be 17,708.
— Convinced circumstances have changed greatly in the past several years, city officials commissioned one more recent traffic study. That study estimated that, when Deltona Village is fully built out, the average daily number of trips will be 24,417.
That higher number alarmed McCool.
“It is my belief that the  study was antiquated,” she said. “The 2009 traffic study and the 2010 traffic study were rebutted for 2023.”
“Have we had an increase in traffic since that time?” McCool asked Deltona Planning and Development Services Director Joe Ruiz.
“Yes, we have,” Ruiz replied.
— The estimated traffic impacts were vital to determining how much DeMarsh and his company would be required to pay to mitigate or offset the higher volumes of vehicles for those living, working, shopping or visiting all that Deltona Village offers or will offer.
The 2010 development agreement set the “proportionate share” of road improvements for which DeMarsh would be billed at $1,912,727.
— McCool argued the updated figure on DeMarsh’s proportionate share should be $8 million. Otherwise, she said, “we’re looking at $8 million that the taxpayers, the residents, will have to pick up.”
— Booker pointed out the $1.9 million is written in the development agreement, and therefore her client should not be charged more.
“We are not required to pay an additional prop share in addition to what we have already paid,” she said.
Booker noted, too, the development in Deltona Village thus far has resulted in approval of $2.6 million worth of road improvements, and more are forthcoming.
— Further, Booker told the City Commission, the tradeoff of retail space for housing will lessen traffic volumes.
“If you change the use from retail-commercial — which is what all the traffic would be the highest generator of trips — and make it multifamily, you would reduce the amount of retail-commercial you would have, in order to be able to have a multifamily use,” she said.
“We are asking to reduce the impacts,” Booker added.
— Before the City Commission acted on the ordinance to amend Deltona Village, Booker said DeMarsh wanted to drop, for now at least, his request to add 26.57 acres on the north side of Graves Avenue to the BPUD. That property adjoins and almost surrounds a Maschmeyer concrete plant.
— The commission voted 5-1 on the first reading of the amended Deltona Village ordinance. McCool dissented. Vice Mayor Anita Bradford was absent from the meeting.