The first phase of Cresswind, a subdivision of 600 age-restricted homes planned for the east shore of Lake Winnemissett in DeLand, is allowed to innovate.
The city commission unanimously approved on Nov. 15 the preliminary flat for the first phase of the neighborhood, which will include 155 single-family homes on just under 92 acres.
Before Kolter Homes can innovate, the developer needs a stormwater license from the St. Johns River Water Management District; a permit from the health service for the use of well water on part of the site; and infrastructure permits with the city, DeLand city manager Michael Pleus said by phone.
The project will be developed in five phases over approximately 318 acres, of which approximately 52 are submerged.
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Half a dozen residents of eastern DeLand brought their still unresolved concerns to the commission at the November 15 meeting.
At the first development rezoning commission hearing scheduled for July 2020, around 30 residents spoke to the commissioners about the potential impact of the development on the lake and surrounding environment and the already congested roads of the region.
The final rezoning commission hearing was held in September 2020. Members voted 3-2 in favor of the plans; Deputy Mayor Charles Paiva and Commissioner Chris Cloudman spoke in dissent.
Focus on environmental factors
Pleus said city staff spent more time reviewing elements of the plan due to environmental factors and new requirements for low-impact planting and development.
Pleus said this was also the reason why the city asked developer representatives to run the commission through the preliminary platform almost line by line, which is not standard procedure.
The purpose of a preliminary platform is to confirm that the plans meet the city’s technical requirements, said CobbCole attorney Mark Watts, representing the developer.
Representatives pored over the details of the platform due to environmental sensitivities and concerns from residents and officials.
One of the biggest concerns of area residents during discussions about Cresswind is the quality and health of Lake Winnemissett.
“Any fertilization anywhere in the lake’s watershed will accelerate the degradation of the lake,” Nancy LaRiviere, member of the Lake Winnemissett Civic Association, said Monday. “The removal of phosphorus is essential because the main cause of the current trend of increasing eutrophication of the lake is due to phosphorus.”
Don Hearing, a LEED-certified landscape architect on the developer’s team, said the âtreatment train,â or the multi-step method of treating stormwater, was a major part of project planning.
âWe sought to use the natural qualities of the site and design the water management system to take advantage of it, so that 100% of the drainage did not have to go through pipes and be artificially displaced by man, which is quite normal. train today, âHearing said. “It takes longer, it costs a little more money, but the end result is much better development.”
The first phase will include 36 houses on 40 foot lots; 74 houses on 50-foot lots; and 45 homes on 60-foot lots, as presented by Kolter Homes. There will be nearly 52 acres of raw open space, which includes areas called future development; open space; tree protection; utility easement; wetland setbacks; and wetlands.
The 7.3-acre amenity site will need its own approved site plan, Hearing said.
The streets, which have been reduced from 24 feet wide to 20 feet wide, will be lined with oak trees to help “reduce the heat island effect,” Hearing said.
Heat islands form when “vegetation is replaced with asphalt and concrete for roads, buildings and other structures necessary to accommodate growing populations,” according to the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
An association of owners will be responsible for the maintenance of each batch and will only hire certified professionals who follow best practices in managing green industries, Hearing said.
Green Industries Best Management Practices is an educational program of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension at the University of Florida that teaches environmentally responsible landscaping.
Each batch will also follow the extension’s Florida-friendly landscaping program, which follows the principles of selecting the right plants; efficient but careful irrigation; appropriate fertilization; use mulch; attract wildlife; manage pests responsibly; recycling of garden waste; reduce stormwater runoff; and the protection of the banks.
Irrigation systems east of the power lines will use reused water while those west will come from the aquifer, Hearing said.
The development will include biological ditches, which are shallow vegetated depressions in a landscape that serve to capture, treat and infiltrate runoff water.
Hearing said biological gullies not only reduce sediment, but increase the time it takes for water to drain and remove more nitrogen and phosphorus before it enters wet ponds.
“In addition to allowing the reduction of nutrients and the improvement of water quality, they will also be perfect for wildlife and the introduction of wildlife to the site, which was also part of this overall train that we have spoken, “Hearing said.
Connect the woes
With the overall development already approved, residents stressed the importance of ensuring that the development agreement is fully honored.
âWe now have to be very vigilant about how the rules are followed,â said Barry Brassard, who lives near the north shore of Lake Winnemissett. “They can say a lot of wonderful things, but keeping your feet on the fire, I think, is very important.”
Residents also said that the property rights of the owners of the commission area are just as important as those of the developer.
âThe value of my property will decline as the serenity of the neighborhood is permanently lost,â said Jeanne Savoie, who lives near Lake Winnemissett Drive. âWhile the presentation we just heard has some excellent points, please take into consideration that the rights of the people who live around the lake will be seriously, seriously diminished. “
John Engle, vice president of the Lake Winnemissett Civic Association, said he did not believe the city would be able to meet adopted standards for service levels or have adequate public facilities if development progressed.
Engle also said the legacy and political future of the commissioners would be affected based on their recent development-related votes.
Both Paiva and Cloudman have commented on their concerns about Cresswind, but Monday’s vote was on whether or not the platform complies with the requirements set out in the planned development agreement.
âObviously, I wish we could go back in time and get a third vote,â Paiva said in reference to the final vote from the dezoning hearing.
Mayor Bob Apgar said he believed “all the guarantees that were in the PD have been incorporated into this preliminary platform.”