Hammock Beach Developer Proposes Settlement Agreement on NOPC Appeal for Hammock Dunes DRI

Should the Flagler commissioners agree to pursue the developer’s settlement offer or embark on a costly upcoming trial?

Palm Coast, FL – December 2, 2010 – Should Flagler’s Board of County Commissioners (BOC) agree to pursue a proposed settlement with the Hammock Beach developer who seeks to build more residential units on the beach side of the existing condo/hotel or should they roll the dice with a costly trial scheduled for December 15–17? Lubert-Adler’s settlement offer follows a breakdown in negotiations with two property owners associations who want to restrict and tightly define any future development at the Oceanside resort.
Because some sections (Clusters) of the development were built with densities lower than approved by the Hammock Dunes development agreement, several entitled residential units remain "unused" with no place to put them. The developer seeks to create a new Cluster (#35) east of the south tower condominiums where the present lodge, pro shop, restaurant and parking lot are sited. The potential for development of additional residential units would be attractive to potential investors and operators. Many residents agree that some additional development would enhance the community and help support its many lifestyle amenities.
April 5th, a unit of Reynolds Plantation, acting under a management contract with Hammock Beach developer Lubert-Adler failed to get approval from the Flagler County Board of Commissioners for a change to the DRI development agreement. At issue was a Notice of Potential Change (NOPC) submitted by the Hammock Beach developer that would modify the Hammock Dunes Development of Regional Impact (DRI) development order. That DRI was approved in 1985 and provided the framework within which up-scale Hammock Dunes, Island Estates, Yacht Harbor Village, Ocean Hammock, Cinnamon Beach, and Hammock Beach were developed. Lubert Adler appealed the rejection. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) has scheduled the trial for December 15-17. The developer appealed BOC’s decision. The upcoming trial is a result of that appeal.
Since April, the developer has continued to negotiate with two separate property owners associations; the 3-bedroom condo association (from the condo/hotel at Hammock Beach) and the Ocean Hammock Property Owners Association. The organized protest of property owners had played a role in influencing the BOC’s April rejection of the NOPC. Negotiations were aimed at minimizing the impact of additional development on existing property owners. When negotiations stalled, LRA opted to approach the county with a settlement offer.
Note: The developer filing the original NOPC was Ginn-LA (Bobby Ginn and financial partner Lubert-Adler). Since, Ginn has been removed from most Lubert-Adler partnerships. Lubert-Adler is now operating partnerships previously associated with Ginn under Legacy Resort Assets (LRA). See "Bobby Ginn’s 12-year Relationship with Lubert-Adler is Ending." Commissions Options
The Commissioners will have two options:
  1. Direct their attorneys to request a postponement of the upcoming trial in order to negotiate a final agreement with the developer. That agreement would be brought back to the commissioners for another public quasi-judicial hearing and vote.
  2. Direct their attorneys to proceed to trial. If the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) rules in the county’s favor, the county’s earlier denial of the NOPC is affirmed. On the other hand, if the ALJ rules in favor of the developer, the developer gets all the entitlements requested in the original NOPC. A trial would likely be very expensive for both the developer and the county with no unpredictable outcome.
Proposed Settlement Highlights
  • The settlement offer is significantly downsized from the entitlements to which the developer insists are its right under the terms of the DRI. It excludes 600 residential units "abandoned" years ago by Bobby Ginn. It also excludes 272 of the 561 residential units remaining on the development order. It asks that the 272 excluded units be transferred to property owned by the developer outside the DRI boundaries. No more than 289 units will be built on Cluster 35 under the proposed settlement.
  • The settlement offer also allows the developer to create fractional ownerships. According to the developer’s proposed settlement, the fractional ownerships will be top tier properties as opposed to traditional time share units. The agreement sets height limits no higher than the existing lodge. (Architectural features may exceed this limit.) A meeting facility constructed on the present golf parking lot site would be no higher than the south tower pool deck’s gazebo.
  • The proposed settlement agreement maintains the developer’s option to realign 16th Road to provide additional building placement options. This idea originated from the Ocean Hammock POA in negotiations that preceded the NOPC denial.
  • The settlement offer also recognizes the need to preserve view corridors, but makes no specific commitments as to how view corridors would be accomplished. LRA’s position is that these items will be determined when construction plans are submitted to the county. The reason for the NOPC is to assure entitlements, not to present a final plan for approval.
  • Finally, the proposed settlement lists several amenity related improvements that are not tied specifically to Cluster 35 or to the NOPC. County attorneys suggest that these elements should be in a separate agreement between the developer and the associations.
Admiral Corporation, an ITT subsidiary and developer when the original DRI was approved is an intervenor. Admiral has an obligation widen the Hammock Dunes Bridge to four lanes when and if a certain traffic volume is reached. Admiral wants this obligation to transfer to the HDCDD (Hammock Dunes Community Development District) which owns and operates the bridge. The two property owners associations represent the remaining intervenors.

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5 replies
  1. Evelyn Palmeri
    Evelyn Palmeri says:

    Hammock Dunes DRI

    Why even go through these farcical charades, there hasn’t been a single development scheme/scam that elected officials in this county have turned down in the twenty years we’ve lived here.

    Just declare open season on taxpayers and eliminate the boring meetings.

  2. John Miller
    John Miller says:

    I am tired

    I have lived here for 11 years and when did the OH POA board start to think they were the concience and voice of the Hammock?

    This current board has tried to stiff us on assesments, take away our property rights and now they cannot or will not come to terms to help settle this issue…well I am tired of their arrogant and abusive manner.

    This is our community and without the club and businesses like it here in the County we would be sussering faw worse than we are, stop the madness and work for the rights of all.

    I am told but noone will confirm that by the end of this NOPC fight the County will spend about $190,000…just to support the OH POA? This is stupid!

    As far as I can tell the County would be best served if the current board all resigned…You decide if that should be the OHPOA or the BOCC.

  3. John Boy
    John Boy says:

    LA, Ginn, et all

    We have been screwd by the developers too many times. If the County does anything to allow more building there needs to be time frames, security bonds and other money laid on theb table to ensure that the raping of the public is prevented. Ginn has screwed all of us and we keep going back for more. LA doesn’t give a rat sass about anyone other than lining their pockets with money from the public and homeowners who continue to buy into the crap they are peddling.

    Why does the county continue to deal with these people, none of them have ever lived up to the promises they’ve previously made.

  4. Bob McGraw
    Bob McGraw says:


    Unfortunately your article completely misses the most critical issue. The original Development Order, the deed and the plat addenda only permit the addition of golf course, recreational and/or park facilities anywhere on the 190 acre golf property, which includes the lodge facility area. The Ginn-LA organization agreed to this when began development of the community and again when they acquired the golf course property in December, 2006. The County Commissioners are to be commended for adhering to this standard. It is the basis upon which the community was developed and which each of the property owners and residents of the entire Hammock have relied on to protect their property rights, their values and the oceanfront dune environment. It is the developer/owner who is creating additional and unnecessary legal costs for the residents of the Hammock and all Flagler County citizens. Any reasonable developer/owner proposal which adheres to the land use criteria provided in the Development Order, the deed and the plat addenda would likely be agreed to by all parties.

  5. Toby
    Toby says:

    Reply to Evelyn

    Actually several developer plans are denied or significantly altered as a result of governmental review. Some very good plans have been squashed by our elected officials, both local and state. One of them was a Seagate Homes project called Ryan’s Landing which was denied by the city. As part of the modest project, the builder agreed to donate and clear about 5 acres of land for a city park, but that was not enough. The city wanted Seagate to build and equip the park too. The result was the project was eventually approved two years later after the city wasted thousands of dollars in a legal battle to defend what amounted to extortion.

    If you asked local builders and developers whether or not Palm Coast and Flagler County are easy to work with, I think you would be very surprised at some of their responses.

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