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After Scaling Down, the Gardens Project Gets Planning Board OK

The Planning Board recommends approval for a modified PUD site plan and preliminary plat for this 453 unit former Bobby Ginn development that straddles John Anderson.

By Toby Tobin
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PALM COAST, FL – August 17, 2020 – August 11 the Flagler County Planning and Development Board voted to recommend to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approval of a modification of a PUD Site Development Plan and a Preliminary Plat for The Gardens, an 824-acre proposed development straddling John Anderson Highway south of SR 100. The developer is Palm Coast Intracoastal.

THE GARDENS LOCATION

The Gardens - Flagler County, FL

Background

Originally planned as The Gardens at Hammock Beach by Bobby Ginn and financial partner, Lubert-Adler, the development was to include:

  • 453 Residential Units (up to 199 multi-family)
  • 130,694 SF Commercial
  • Riverfront Villa-style Clubhouse
  • Traditional Italian Gardens
  • Indoor and Outdoor Dining
  • Resort-style Pool and Fitness Center
  • Intracoastal Docking Facilities
  • Nature Trails Kayaking, Canoeing, and Bicycling
  • Water Taxi to and from The Club at Hammock Beach
  • 18-hole Fred Couples-designed Signature Golf Course

The original property totaled 1,999 acres, but the PUD agreement set aside approximately 1,000 acres for conservation and additional acreage for a fire station and boat launch, leaving 824 acres for development.

The homesites were offered in early 2007 in the half-million-dollar range, but the housing market had already headed south. Unlike earlier Ginn successes (The Conservatory sold all 340 lots in one weekend), The Gardens sales launch garnered only 12 lot sales. The project stalled.

Upon abandoning the original plan and following Ginn’s exit, Lubert-Adler repurchased the 12 lots and proceeded to vacate the original plat. This was done, in part, to make the property more marketable to a future developer.

Enter Charlotte-based Sunbelt Land Management

Sunbelt Land Management purchased The Gardens property and its accompanying development entitlements from Lubert Adler in May 2018 for $11,500,000. Sunbelt is not new to Flagler County. Under the Florida Waterway Properties LLC banner, it developed Palm Coast Plantation, a gated Intracoastal development on Colbert Lane adjacent to Grand Haven. Under a separate banner, Sunbelt is currently developing Marina del Palma, a gated marina community on Colbert Lane with Intracoastal access.

Differences Between The 2006 Gardens Site Plan and the Revised Plan

There are three major changes to the 2006 site plan that were requested by the developer.

  1. The amendment has 335 lots on the east side of John Anderson Highway. The 2006 site plan had only 219 on the east side.
  2. The 2006 site plan depicted a John Anderson overpass or underpass connecting the east and west sections of the new development. The main access was to be from SR 100 opposite Colbert Lane. The amended plan will have direct access to the development from John Anderson with turn lanes. The 2005 PUD considered the overpass or underpass as an option.
  3. The 2005 PUD had the developer supplying on-site potable water and wastewater treatment. Under the amended plan, these services will be provided by the City of Flagler Beach. The Gardens will also accept Flagler Beach reuse water for irrigation, reducing the city's current discharge of treated effluent into the Intracoastal Waterway.

The PUD site plan amendment item passed with only one dissenting vote after a failed appeal attempt by opponents, Preserve Flagler Beach. The public comments and discussion were temperate compared to the raucous town hall-style meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn last year that attracted over 300 attendees. A much higher density plan was introduced to the public by the developer at that time. The new plan maintains the same density previously conferred to Ginn. The second item, the preliminary plat, passed unanimously.

The BOCC will take up the issues in an upcoming meeting.

Commentary

Based on the original 2,000 acres, The Garden's density is 0.227 residential units per acre. Based upon the 824 acres approved for development, the density is 0.55 residential units per acre; still sparse. Conservationists and forward-thinking planners are now touting increased, clustered density to conserve green space and water and to allow more tax-efficient delivery of public services. To learn more about their recommendations, read A Conservationist Argument for Density. See what Florida might look like in 2070.


Toby Tobin: REALTOR®

I'm a licensed Florida REALTOR® affiliated with Grand Living Realty in Palm Coast, Fla. As a real estate consultant to developers/builders, homebuyers, and sellers, and as a journalist, I have years of experience and a treasure trove of relevant data and local institutional knowledge.

Call me at (386) 931-7124 or email me at Toby@GoToby.com.

Listen to my radio show, Real Estate Mattersevery Saturday morning right after the 11:00 A.M. news break on WNZF News Radio at 1550 AM or 94.9 FM. Download the Flagler Radio App from the App Store so you can hear Real Estate Matters from anywhere in the world.

reader comments
BIG MISTAKE!
Posted by MT
Aug 22, 2020, 8:45 pm
This development as proposed today or 15 years ago would be devastating to the land, Bulow Creek, Intercoastal & to existing homes nearby. Any County Commissioner who thinks this is a great idea & votes for it, is an idiot!
prices
Posted by Rich
Aug 17, 2020, 9:13 pm
What is this projects timeline and are there any pre-construction price?
Another difference?
Posted by Jan
Aug 17, 2020, 9:09 pm
You listed three differences in your article, above. Isn't another difference the absence of a golf course? Plus, other amenities the original plan included?

Those are big omissions.

And, will there be an HOA? What will be the rules on short-term rentals which can magnify the traffic by five?

Reply to Rich
Posted by Toby Tobin
Aug 17, 2020, 5:16 pm
Once approved by the BOCC, it will likely take at least a year for site development work. At some point, the developer will begin marketing but not soon.
Reply to Jan
Posted by Toby Tobin
Aug 17, 2020, 5:12 pm
The golf course is still in the plan, to be added in a later phase. Yes, there will be an HOA. Way too early for filing HOA documents.

 
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Don "Toby" Tobin is a licensed real estate professional affiliated with Grand Living Realty. Toby is a member of the Flagler County Association of Realtors®, the Florida Association of Realtors, Enterprise Flagler, Flagler Home Builders Association, and the National Association of Realtors.

GoToby.com proivdes real estate news, commentary, and analysis for Palm Coast and Flagler Country Florida, as well as Realtor® referrals and consultation to buyers, sellers, and developers.