Ginn wants to modify the previously approved Ocean Hammock development agreement, reallocating residential density to allow a hotel and/or condos along 16th Rd and on some existing golf property.
Palm Coast, Florida – April 30, 2009 – Real estate developer, Ginn-LA (Ginn plus financial partner Lubert Adler) has riled Ocean Hammock and Hammock Beach residents with its petition to change the existing development order in order to shift currently unused but previously approved residential density to a newly created cluster currently occupied, in part, by golf course property. The newly created cluster, designated as #35 in the map at the right, would be entitled for 1,147 "Ocean Recreation Hotel" units. [Note: click on the map for an enlarged image.]
When a proposed development is so significant that its approval will have regional impact, it is identified as a Development of Regional Impact (DRI). Known as the Hammock Dunes DRI, the original plan was approved in 1984. It covered the 2,258 acres of what became Hammock Dunes, Ocean Hammock, and Hammock Beach. 6,670 residential units were approved along with "related commercial, institutional, recreational, and other uses."
The DRI was subsequently amended in 1995 to reduce the number of residential units to 4,400. There are approximately 3,200 residential units (including vacant lots) in the current community. The remaining vested units are scattered among nine areas designated as cluster communities. Ginn-LA wants to amend the DRI to shift 1,147 residential units to a newly created 34 acre cluster on what is now partially golf course and practice area and the current lodge complex. Needless to say, current residents are angry; angry about the concept, and angry that no property-owner group was contacted prior to Ginn's petition.
About 100 residents and property owners attended an Ocean Hammock Property Owners Association (POA) meeting to express their feelings. Another 40 – 50 residents attended Council Chair Milissa Holland's community chat Tuesday evening. While voices were not raised, the discontent was palpable.
The Notice of Proposed Change (NOPC) was filed with Flagler County on March 2, 2009. Following public notice, the item was placed on the April 20th County Council agenda. Petitioner Ginn-LA Marina LTD, LLLP indicated it had simultaneously filed petition copies (as required) with the North East Florida Regional Planning Council and the Bureau of Local Planning, Department of Community Affairs. When county staff discovered that the simultaneous filings had not occurred, the item was removed from the agenda. The petition is now scheduled to be on the June 1, 2009 County Council agenda.
County Council's task will be to determine whether the petition constitutes a "Substantial Deviation" from the DRI as currently approved. Florida statute is very clear on the process which must be followed. If the council determines that there is not a substantial deviation, the development may proceed without an avenue for appeal. Of course the magnitude of the change would require re-platting, site plan approvals, etc.
Should County Council determine that the proposed change is a substantial deviation, it would trigger a review process involving regional and state entities as well as public hearings.
In addition to the relocation of residential density, the petition also requests a three-year extension of the DRI from February 2009 to February 2012. A recent state law essentially makes this extension automatic.
Why is Ginn-LA proposing 1,147 more condo/hotel units? The economy and especially the luxury condo market are weak. Ginn's organization has been unraveling since the Credit Suisse loan default 10 months ago. Three major properties have been sold, two at bankruptcy sales. Company divisions have been eliminated and Ginn is gradually being replaced by outside companies to operate (and in some cases develop) the remaining company properties. It is suggested that the beachfront condo/hotel entitlements would greatly increase the present value of Ginn's Hammock property in the eyes of any potential purchaser, perhaps by more than $100 million. That's a pretty compelling reason.
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