WHERE IT IS — Pictured above is a map showing, in red, the proposed location for a mystery store or restaurant on Howland Boulevard in Deltona. To its immediate east is a Dunkin’ coffee shop.

Citing uncertainty about what may be built on a parcel adjacent to a residential area, the Deltona City Commission has deferred action on a request to change the zoning of a small parcel for a store or a restaurant in a busy corridor.

“There is no specific use for this property. We don’t know its use yet,” Barry Walker, representing the owner of the site, told the City Commission Aug. 28.

The vacant 1.37-acre plot at 3150 Howland Blvd. is in the midst of a number of retail businesses, but it is also next to a neighborhood of single-family homes. The wooded property now is zoned Professional Business (PB), but the applicant, David Holden, of Quigg Engineering Inc., of Bartow, is seeking Retail Commercial (C-1). Joe Ruiz, Deltona’s former chief planner and director of development services, said the property in question has a land use of Commercial. The site is sandwiched between Dunkin’ on the east side and a church on the west side.

The PB zoning permits such uses as a law office, medical office, or other professional services, “along with limited retail sales,” as noted in the city planning staff report on the requested rezoning.

The C-1 zoning would allow a wide range of uses, including a retail center, a drive-in bank, or a fast-food restaurant. The applicant said his firm had planned for a fast-food business in marketing the property, but that use is not certain or guaranteed. A fast-food business, after all, Walker said, is the most intensive use for the site, and thus for planning purposes it would make sense to anticipate what would generate the highest number of trips, projected at 1,452 trips per day.

Volusia County’s Traffic Engineering unit’s count of vehicles in 2021 — the most recent year for which such figures are available — showed the section of Howland Boulevard between Wolf Pack Run and Catalina Boulevard had an average of 28,510 vehicles each day. That segment of Howland, according to the county’s traffic engineers, had a usage capacity of 37,970 vehicles per day.

If a future purchaser of the property wants to develop it with a less-intense business, such as a retail store or a drive-in bank, then the city’s approval of the development would be more likely.

“If they say they’re putting a restaurant in there, I want a restaurant,” Commissioner Dana McCool said.

Walker reiterated he could not promise what the site’s future will be.

“To sit here and tell you what is going in there, … market conditions are going to determine that,” he said.

Walker added he was “not trying to be secretive or sneaky” regarding what the commercial parcel may become.

“The ultimate end user of it, … we don’t know that yet,” he told the City Commission.

So far, however, Walker said an actual traffic study for the site has not been done.

“Without a TIA, we’re expecting what could be a fast-food restaurant, but that doesn’t mean that a dollar-store company wouldn’t buy it,” Mayor Santiago Avila Jr. said. “I’m not a fan of dollar stores.”

“If they rezone it to C-1, they could put a dollar store there,” Commissioner Jody Lee Storozuk said.

Avila added he would favor “a moratorium on storage facilities and dollar stores” in Deltona.

“I don’t have a problem with saying it, but I don’t want another dollar store,” Storozuk said.

Vice Mayor Anita Bradford raised another issue that prompted a delay in considering the rezoning request.

“You don’t have an alley behind it so you can receive deliveries,” she said, referring to an aerial photo of the property and its surroundings. “To me, this is more of a traffic hazard. … You’re going to be adding truck traffic to Roseapple [Avenue].”

Roseapple is the ingress/egress for the neighborhood adjoining the commercial parcels along Howland Boulevard.

“I feel like we don’t have all the information,” Avila said.

City Attorney Marsha Segal-George suggested a postponement.

“If it’s the will of this commission, I would send it back to the P&Z [Planning and Zoning Board], because there is a lot of issues of what it is going to be,” she said.

The Planning and Zoning Board had voted 5-2 on July 19 to recommend the City Commission approve the rezoning.

Nevertheless, the applicant agreed a delay would be in order.

“Hearing all the concerns, I think it might be best to go back and get all the concerns addressed,” Walker told the commission.

The City Commission voted 6-0 to refer the rezoning request to the advisory panel for another review. Commissioner Maritza Avila-Vazquez was absent.


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