Caught between a rock and a hard place, developer Jim Cullis and Discovery Senior Living will go back to the drawing board to overcome objections raised in a city staff report opposing the project.
Palm Coast, FL – April 14, 2015 – What has been billed as a contentious Wednesday hearing before Palm Coast’s Planning & Land Development Regulation Board (PLDRB) will likely be quiet. The developer has requested a continuance. Caught between a rock and a hard place, developer Jim Cullis and Discovery Senior Living will go back to the drawing board to overcome objections raised in a city staff report opposing a small-scale land use amendment.
Discovery Village, a proposed 228-unit Adult Living Facility and 25,000 square foot medical office, was proposed to occupy 15 acres on a 72+ acre site on the west side of Colbert lane, north of the Wild Oaks section of Grand Haven. As proposed, the senior care and medical facility faced two sources of opposition. Palm Coast planning staff objects to the project’s impact on 1.79 acres of wetlands while local residents complain about the potential visual impact of a proposed five-story structure. Other than the height issue, the project has overwhelming support from Grand Haven residents, particularly those living in Wild Oaks, the section nearest the proposed project.
Several hundred signatures have been collected (to date) on a petition reading:
“We, the residents of Wild Oaks and surrounding neighborhoods, support the use of the property just north of Wild Oaks for a three-story senior living facility. However, the proposed five-story building is out of character with residential neighborhoods in Palm Coast. The undersigned petitioners recommend and support a facility design that is no higher than three stories.”
A modified version of the plan, possibly with height modifications, will likely be proposed on the same parcel, but further north than the originally proposed location. The relocation should help mitigate the wetlands and tree concerns raised in the current staff report.
Plan revisions will take time, perhaps a month. City staff will have to respond to any new proposal. The current staff report is biased toward denial, omitting several facts and reports that support the project. The most important elements milling from the staff report are the need for and expected economic impact of an Adult Living Facility.
While the topic of “ageing in place” has been raised by public officials several times, the fact that the Palm Coast area is critically underserved by facilities for seniors is not mentioned in the staff report. Neither are the projected 189 new direct and indirect jobs nor the projected total local economic impact of $80 million nor the staff estimated increase in Countywide property taxes over a 30-year period of $22 million. And the report ignores several conservation mitigation proposals advanced by the developer.