Palm Coast City Council Holds Rehearing on Cascades Development in Seminole Woods

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Palm Coast City Council held their first business meeting of 2024, on Tuesday January 2nd, 2024. During this business meeting, one of the agenda items was the rehearing for the Cascades Development in Seminole Woods. The City Council heard the rehearing after listening to public comment, which lasted roughly an hour, and many residents spoke to a myriad of issues, including flooding, development, infrastructure, the lack of a swale crew, and cases in Palm Coast Connect.

After a lengthy meeting involving the matter of the Old Kings development near Polo West Club, the City Council heard the rehearing of the Comprehensive Plan Amendment regarding the Cascades Development in Seminole Woods. City staff gave a presentation that recapped the entire process from the beginning in August of 2023. During the presentation, staff made sure to reiterate that rezoning is not an issue in the matter, the zoning would stay single family homes. The land use has not changed, and Pontieri inquired as to the point of the rehearing.

The subject of the rehearing was regarding the hook piece, which is owned by JTL, not the applicant and that hook piece was not supposed to be included in the application, but it was. Pontieri inquired as to whether the land use designation changed to which she was informed it was not changed. Pontieri also brought up that there is documentation along with JTL’s signature stating the hook piece was supposed to be included in the process. Chiumento stated that the rehearing is because the hook piece was never supposed to be part of it. Chiumento stated that Jeff Douglas, project manager for the development, is not an authorized member of JTL, and therefore could not provide authorization. Chiumento stated that city staff and Chiumento both made mistakes.

Chiumento asked council to amend the ordinance, to remove the hook piece; and to approve the 850 units that they had petitioned for originally. This is the second reading all over again. Pontieri argued that she questioned all of the legalities during the November 7th hearing and was told all was correct by Chiumento. Public comment continued and residents spoke up arguing against the applicant and their request. Many residents spoke up to Mayor Alfin, citing what they claimed was his obvious bias for the developer, residents couldn’t hold their applause. Mayor Alfin attempted to suspend Peter Johnson, after Johnson called out Alfin for “corruptness”, however Johnson refused to be silenced. Public comment continued with many residents pleading the council to listen to the residents and vote based on current residents desires not future residents that will fill in the development. Many residents stood up to speak against the rehearing and spoke up to how city staff and Pontieri were treated by the applicant’s representative, Michael Chiumento.

The City attorney stated that the basis of a rehearing is decided on whether the council or staff made an error. The request is to remove the JTL hook piece from the ordinance and put it back to the 850 dwelling units, however Chiumento stated that there is no multi-family zoning 850 units is not needed. Pontieri stated that during the September meeting, Jose Papas, stated on record that the hook piece was part of the limiting policy, but not part of the land use amendment. Chiumento stated that with the removal of the JTL property they would be willing to lower the limit of their original application from 850 to 700, a difference of 150 dwelling units.

Mayor Alfin called a recess before the item could be continued to a vote due to public outcry from residents in attendance, when Danko said he couldn’t work like this anymore. The council then took a 15 minute recess before continuing. Upon coming back to the meeting Mayor Alfin stated that there is a rule, stating no meeting may continue past 11pm. There was a motion to continue the meeting on January 16th, which failed 3-2. Danko made a motion to continue the meeting for 30 additional minutes, which passed 5-0.

Danko asked the city attorney if the council didn’t have the proper authorization, could JTL sue the city; the city attorney said short answer yes. City attorney stated that this all boiled down to a factual decision. The entire issue, as stated by the city attorney, is based on factual evidence, based on the document, and the communication between all parties.

Pontieri made a motion to revert back to the 11/7 decision and it was seconded by Heighter. Klufas asked if the council just removed the hook piece from the ordinance wouldn’t it just stay at 416. City attorney stated that it would be two fold, they would remove the hook piece and then restate the comprehensive plan. Pontieri’s motion failed 4-1. Klufas put forth a motion to remove the hook piece from the ordinance and the comprehensive site plan limits of 416 stays the same with Pontieri seconding the motion. The motion passes unanimously. The Cascade development will stay at the 416 dwelling units.



By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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