Weighing pros and cons of workforce housing on North Causeway
Headline Surfer / NSBNews.net
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- The commissioners and I heard loud and clear from residents at the Sept. 5 community meeting at the Brannon Center on how they feel about a workforce housing development on the North Causeway. They don't want it.
While this was not a city-initiated community meeting, I attended along with my fellow city commissioners to learn specific details about the proposed development "The Causeway Landings" and to hear what the several hundred residents had to say about the project.
Many well-respected and articulate individuals spoke out in opposition to The Causeway Landings, and cited issues such as the vision for the North Causeway, the potential for crime and drugs, individual ownership versus apartments and the number of units, to name a few.
The new owners of the property have legal rights under state law and the Federal Fair Housing Act to develop the property according to current zoning, which allows for some commercial and multi-family residential up to 18 units per acre. Workforce housing is considered affordable for families making between $20,000 to $40,000 annually and it is needed in New Smyrna Beach, but many of the nearby residents to this proposed development have homes with far greater investment.
Based on a 2005 agreement to develop the site as the Island Town Center, to expire in 2015, the number of units identified is for 202, and also specifies architectural design standards.
It will be interesting to see how this unfolds, but I know that the developers and the city commissioners, including me, understand unequivocally how the residents who attended the meeting feel.
Ultimately, the city has to make the right decision based on the law.
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Mayor's Message by Adam Barringer
New Smyrna Beach Mayor Adam Barringer writes his blog exclusively for Headline Surfer, the 24/7 Internet newspaper. He and his wife, Shannon (Sumner), reside on the beachside. Barringer graduated in July 2008, from Capella University with a PhD in Leadership of Organizations. An avid boater and a member of the Anglers Club, the two-term mayor belongs to a number of government, civic and community organizations, and is owner of two So Napa Grille restaurants -- on the beachside and in Maitland.
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