Palm Coast Plantation Property Owners Fear Annexation – Object to Palm Coast’s Strong Arm Tactics

Palm Coast City Manager meets with owners. Owners listened politely but there was no meeting of the minds.

Palm Coast Plantation Palm Coast, FL – February 6, 2010 – Property owners in Palm Coast Plantation adjacent to the City of Palm Coast, FL fear annexation by the city. The private community is located between Colbert Lane and the Intracoastal Waterway on the City’s east side. Property owners are required to have a water and sewer connection agreement with the city before they can get a building permit from Flagler County. But the City will only allow a hookup if the property owner signs a pre-annexation agreement, consenting to any possible future annexation into the City. Owners do not want to be annexed and object to the City’s strong arm tactics. Annexation will increase taxes while adding no new services.
Here is what is at issue. When Palm Coast Plantation was platted, and lots were sold, Palm Coast’s water and sewer services were provided by a private company. The City had only been incorporated for a few years at that time. Palm Coast subsequently purchased and now operates the water and sewer utility service.
Several issues erupted between City and County officials as the new City began to establish its identity. Liken it to dogs spotting trees to mark their neighborhood territory. One conflict centered on the issue of water and sewer services. Both the City and County fought to extend and/or protect their territories from the other. The County feared that granting the City rights to expand their services only invited future annexation of the expanded territories.
The City Manager and County Manager have since been replaced, coinciding with a turnover of several elected seats on the City Council and County Board. The water war was ended through negotiation. The City won the right to expand the area which it could serve as long as it agreed to not seek annexation of designated areas (for instance The Hammock). Palm Coast Plantation was not on the list of excluded areas; at least according to Landon.
One property owner claimed that a map associated with the agreement clearly showed Palm Coast Plantation outside the targeted annexation area. Landon responded that there was more than one map. He stood behind the City’s interpretation.
To Landon’s credit, he accepted the invitation to talk with owners, knowing he would be entering a potentially hostile environment. He was often candid. He attempted to quiet fears, telling owners that the City had no present plans to annex their community. He said he doubted if it would ever happen because elected officials are not prone to make decisions that will anger a large number of voters.
Yet, he defended the pre-annexation agreement policy. He argued that if the City did not actively protect its potential annexation rights in Palm Coast Plantation, it could weaken their defense in other annexation disputes. He admitted that he could not guarantee no future annexation attempts would be made. He also acknowledged that the signed agreements would be used against the owners in the future if a battle erupted; even if signed under protest.
Less than 50% of the community has built out. By requiring pre-annexation agreements for all new construction, the City will eventually have enough agreements in hand to force the issue. Basically, Landon was asking owners to trust that the City would not take advantage of that situation. To this end, he was unsuccessful.
Owners have an option of fighting the pre-annexation agreements now or waiting to fight annexation after enough agreements are executed. Landon suggested that doing something now might attract too much attention to the issue, ultimately to the owners’ detriment. A skeptical observer might infer that he had an ulterior motive.

When asked about the goal of the meeting, Property Owners Association President, Rick Staly responded, "All we’re trying to do is preserve our right to vote on annexation, for or against, in the future."

3 replies
  1. George Edward Chuddy
    George Edward Chuddy says:

    Palm Coast

    …A fifteen year moratorium on the use of the 51,000 acres surrounding the 42,000 acres under development has also been agreet to . Respondents were unable to accurately compute the cost for implementation of these changes, however, an estimate of almost $ 30,000,000.00 was suggested by respondents to give staff an idea of the magnitude of their expected costs and write-offs.

    This order, if accepted, represents the largest amount of consumer redress ever ordered by the Federal Trade Commission.
    ‘Consent Agreement’ :
    International Telephone and Telegraph, et. al., 933p.
    Docket # C-2854
    Findings, Opinions, and Orders, July 1, 1976 – December 31, 1976 Volume 88
    United States of America Before Federal Trade Commission
    ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE Docket No. C-2854
    In the Matter of:
    International Telephone and Telegraph Corporaton, a corporation, ITT Community Development Corporation, a corporation, and
    PALM COAST, INC., a corporation.
    ICDC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITT. It is a land sales and development firm engaged in selling and developing "Palm Coast", a land development in northeast Florida, and various areas surrounding Palm Coast. Palm Coast, Inc., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ICDC, and manages the "Palm Coast" development, which is located between Daytona Beach and St. Augustine, Florida….
    , for an additional period of five (5) years, except with the prior authorization of the Federal Trade Commission, reposndents shall continue to limit and restrict the development presently known as Palm Coast and consisting of approximately 93,000 acres, to a maximum of approximately 48,000 registered lots in a maximum of 42,000 acres, including substantial acres set aside for commercial, industrial and reserve parcels, locations for multi-family housing and areas of conservation and preservation; and, accordingly, respondents shall neigher register any lots nor sell any registered lots in the balance of such approximately 93,000 acres….
    Page 5.
    United States of America
    Federal Trade Commission
    Washington, D.C.
    Date: September 20, 1991/October 4, 1991
    FROM Joseph J. Koman, Jr. Attorney
    Ronald D. Levis, Investigator
    Division of Enforcement/BCP
    Sugject: Show Cause Order
    International Telephone and Telegraph, ITT, ITT Community Development Corporation ICDC and Palm Coast, Inc., Docket No C-2854

    …The staff spoke with ICDC officials on Augsut 27 and 28, 1991. Mr. Braunstein advised that ICDC will not oppose the Commission in extending the moratorium another five years. ICDC still has an inventory of unsold registered lots at Palm Coast and in recent years it has decided to upscale the area east of the Intercoastal Waterway. ICDC is centering most of its development acitivites and financial resources east, from the existing core area at Palm Coast towards the Atlantic Ocean. It will take anywhere from ten to twenty years to develop this area. ICDC is not interested at this time in developing lands outside those contained in the CLUP Agreement. ICDC is pouring millions of dollars into making this area a ‘Second Palm Beach" in which only the wealthy can afford to live. For example, it has spent more than $11 million on a Mediterranean-styled Equity Country Club, to be used exclusively by residents in the communities…

  2. Tom Pruitt
    Tom Pruitt says:

    Strong Arm Tactics are not New

    This is no different than the pressue the City exerted on The Grand Haven CDD to turn over the Grand Haven water facilites to them. Threats of "Eminant Domain" takeover protracted legal costs and other scare tactics and no payment for our Water operation (which at the time of takeover had a net gain from operations in excess of 20%). For no additional services and the same water, we got a guaranteed rate increase in perpituity from the City.

    No wonder People don’t like the Government these days.

  3. Tom
    Tom says:

    Palm Coast Plantation

    The city needs revenue and they are looking at at everything they can and next year will be worse because property values are dropping and according to the property appraiser we can look at 10 to 12% reduction. This will enhance the city to try what every means they can to get revenue. What they need to do and have been trying for the last 5 years with no success is get economic development started and get jobs and commercial development going. The problem is they have have not anything with any substance. If they spent the time and displayed a friendly attitude towards welcoming new business into Palm Coast we would start to increase our tax base, and have good paying jibs. It appears they have taken the path of least resistance by going after Palm Coast Plantation homeowners, that path will not be the path of least resistance, especially trying the strong arm approach.

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