Don’t Paint All Developers with the Centex Brush

Centex’s actions are creating public relations issues for all developers. Developer is not a four-letter word


March 8, 2007 – The Palm Coast City Council meeting on March 6th gives some insight into what may be a developing pattern. The meeting had nothing to do with Centex. Centex was not even on the agenda. However, their name came up several times.


Here’s what happened Tuesday night. Seagate, an established builder/developer, with local roots, has been trying for two years to get a PUD (Planned Unit Development) approved for approximately 28 acres along Royal Palm which would include 5 acres donated to the city by the developer for a park. The development is to be named Ryan’s Landing. During the public comments phase, three residents of the area surrounding Palm Harbor Golf Course (which is several miles from the proposed development) spoke, warning the council members of their concern that the developer might not complete the project, leaving the neighborhood looking like the golf course and resort project recently put on hold by Centex. There is absolutely no linkage between Centex and Seagate except that they are both – cover the children’s ears – DEVELOPERS.


Emboldened by the public “outcry” and, in the wake of the recent Centex blunder (see related stories), not wanting to appear soft on developers, the council indicated that they would look kindly on a PUD application only if Seagate agreed to provide $90,000 to fund the construction and equipment for the 5 acre park. In January, the city staff recommended acceptance of a plan, signed by the developer, that did not include developer funding for the park. In neighborhood meetings, residents did not indicate a strong desire for the park in the first place. No resident from the area of the proposed development spoke at the meeting, either against the development or in favor of the park.  The council deferred action until April when Seagate could put forth a new PUD plan.


Ryan’s Landing is a small potatoes project in the scheme of the city. And this is not the first time responsible development has been stopped or unduly delayed by the city or county. But by over flexing their muscles and making developers jump through unreasonable hoops, by fostering a resident vs. developer atmosphere, they are increasing the cost of every new residence in the area.


On one level, I can understand why Centex does not want to rush completion of their marina hotel project in the face of a weak real estate market. However, they have clearly handled their local retreat poorly. They will probably end up being coerced into doing many things they would be better off having done voluntarily. Their actions have adversely affected many investors and local residents. Just as the term “swift boating” became a verb, I can predict the future possibility of people saying they were “Centexed.” All developers are not alike. Just as with people and politicians, there are some who are good and some who are not so good. Let’s not paint them all with the same brush.


But, wait. The system can work. While the Seagate application concerning fewer than 65 residences took nearly 2 hours to reach a non-resolution, the final plat approval for the Weingarten tract (166,000 square feet retail) and the SuperTarget (189,773 square feet retail) tract portion of Town Center at Palm Coast sailed through in about 20 minutes with no objections from city council. It can be done. Council needs to be specific in their guidance to staff regarding council’s standards of acceptance. If it is the policy of the city council that all PUDs include a developer funded city park, staff and developers need to know this. It’s unfair to both city staff and developers to spend resources reaching agreement only to be shot down in council by the addition of new requirements. The new City Manager shows great promise of improving the process but he must be careful not to impose new standards into an application with as much history as Ryan’s Landing.

2 replies
  1. Steve Bennett
    Steve Bennett says:

    Developer Brush

    i just finished your Centex Brush article.
    Dam well done.
    Darn shame that the people’s major income is dependent on developers ane builders are rarely in presence to these meetings. Realtors. #1 largest business in the area I expect, with no members defending their golden goose.
    Look forward to seeing you again.
    My sauerkrout did not do well. Too long in the bucket. I need to talk to you again on how to do it, you ole sauerkrout maker.
    Steve Bennett

  2. Herb
    Herb says:

    Park holdup

    What the City tried to do to Seagate was tatamount to an un-armed robbery.
    Don’t give us the land and pay to install a City Park, which incidentally the residents of the area have told us they don’t want, or we reject your application for the development.
    Where is the equity in this?

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