Adding more Density is NOT Smart Growth!.


Politics - Pronunciation:\'pä-l?-?tiks\
noun, from the Greek word poly, meaning many, and ticks, meaning blood suckers.

Welcome to, your guide to why Daytona Politicians and power brokers want a “Vision Plan”.




Daytona Beach residents and landowners should be aware of a back-door tactic the City Manager and Commission are positioning to use that will allow them to quickly and quietly make changes to the height and density (density is the number of units per lot or acre) permitted for new development anywhere in the city. If their strategy is successful, the public hearings and state agency review presently required for all such changes would be eliminated. It is completely legal and here is how it works:

Future development in the city is controlled by the city's Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan). The Comp Plan consists of "text" which describes the rules, and "maps" which show which areas are covered by which rules.  The maps, of course, are the heart and muscle of the Comp Plan.  To change the allowable height or density in a neighborhood, no text change is necessary; all that is needed is to change the neighborhood's designation on the maps.

Because all development depends on the Comp Plan, state law requires that major changes to the Comp Plan must go through two public hearings and be reviewed and approved by the Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA).   In 2005 the law was changed to give local governments a way around this review.
  Florida Statute 163.3184(17) now says that if local governments adopt a "Community Vision Plan” and an "urban service boundary" line, then, for all map amendments within the urban services boundary (in Daytona Beach, the entire city would be within the urban services boundary), there is no longer any DCA review, and only one public hearing is required, with only 7 days notice that it is on the agenda. That means that if you are not carefully scanning the legal notices every day, by the time you hear that there was a vote, the heights and density in your neighborhood can already be changed, with no second reading, and no state review.

It’s not too late to stop this from happening. The Vision Plan has to be passed at two City Commission public hearings, and then approved by DCA to become part of our Comp Plan.  Do not be fooled by the city staffs’ suggestion that the "Vision Plan" contains some kind of beneficial vision for the city's future. The only beneficial part of the Vision Plan for the residents was removed at the request of Cobb & Cole Development Attorneys and The Daytona Beach Chamber.

The "Vision Plan" contains no vision at all. Contrary to the Land Use Action Team’s specific request, the paid consultant and Steering Committee who changed the plan included no conditions, criteria, or limits to the heights or density, which can be set for any neighborhood in the city. What kind of "vision" does not include anything about height or density?

Once the Vision Plan is approved, with the higher density maps that they will source from other failed plans (yes that’s legal under 163), it will be a simple matter to declare the city to be an urban services area, and the new procedures - eliminating second reading and state review for map amendments - will automatically kick in.
  The only thing left is the addition of the maps, which is exactly why the Commission and the Steering Committee will declare that this is to be an “ongoing process” or a “living document”.  It will go on living until they slide in the maps they want and get it approved by DCA.

All Daytona Beach citizens concerned about the future of their neighborhoods should contact both the City Commission and the DCA with their objections to the adoption of this Vision Plan. Without neighborhood specific criteria and limitations for future increases in height and density, the Vision Plan is just a quick ticket to back room zoning and removal of your ability to rebuild your “grandfathered” home after a storm or fire.
  In the future when you wonder just how did that 7-11s, nightclubs and condos wind up in the middle of your residential neighborhood, and the answer will be “Vision”.  The question is if this is your Vision or just the one of the unscrupulous large-scale developers who drive up your taxes and lower your quality of life? 


Can we really control growth or not?

The City says it’s about getting “Smart Growth” and “Good Development”, but how shall we grow and where shall we grow are questions that have already been answered.  They are answered in our Comprehensive Land Use Plan, commonly referred to as the Comp Plan. 

What is a Comp Plan and why should you care? The Comp Plan is a state mandated locally administered guideline for development. You should care because the Comp Plan is what guides our Zoning laws. Zoning determines what building permits will be allowed which in turn dictates what can be built on your land and your neighbors land. In court cases that involve land use, the courts must adhere to the rules and regulations of the Comp Plan. 

One of the regulations in the State’s Growth Management Act requires State review of changes to the Comp Plan. For instance if a developer wants to build more condos on the beach or houses in the woods than allowed in our Comp Plan, it must be approved by the City Commission and then reviewed by the State Department of Community Affairs (DCA).  Comp Plan changes are supposed to be rare and have a broad public benefit to offset the often negative impact to neighboring lands. The DCA is a weak watchdog for the broad public benefit but they are better than nothing.

Why does the city want a Vision Plan?

Why is our city spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to adopt a Vision Plan? Couldn’t they just go through the current process and conduct business as usual? Of course they could but they would rather not have to go through the months long process and have  to pass the state DCA overview. The danger in having a “Vision Plan” in a city is that the city can make changes to its Comp Plan at will without needing approval from the DCA!

What does it matter if the commission is making fast track changes to the Comp Plan? Well, the changes are always to allow for more buildings and people to be squeezed into our city. That’s very important in matters of road congestion, school capacity, crime, quality of your life, your neighborhood's existence and so much more.

I encourage you to take some time to read up on Florida Statute #163.  It opened the door for "Vision" and the removal of your property rights.  It can be found from the Senate website.  See the link below.  It is an extremely long statute but rich in "opportunities" for our irresponsible land use changes, tens of millions in tax giveaways, and the waiver of impact and utility fees for developers.  Get informed...
Common Sense Government?

The most basic growth question is how much growth are we already obligated to? How many residential units (homes, condos, apartments, townhomes, ect) are we allowed to build under our current Comp Plan? How much would we grow if we bulldozed every building in the city, homes included, and rebuilt the city to the limit of our current Comp Plan? Would the residential increase be 50%, double, triple? The FACT is that it would be NINE times more residences than we currently have! Just imagine 9 times more cars at every stop light, 9 times the kids at school, 9 houses stacked on every house, apartment, condo,  ect.

 The irrefutable fact is that 900% growth is allowed RIGHT NOW without any changes needed to the Comp Plan. Please see the Density Documentation page for proof.  The alarming part is our City Commission keeps granting density bonuses on a project by project basis. Translation - the City Commission allows more units to be built than the current Comp Plan and Zoning allows. More buildings and more people, and you cannot take it back, not without property owner lawsuits. Once you grant the land use changes there’s really no way to force it back.

Water, water....everywhere?
Mad yet? There’s more. There are strict limits on how much water we are allowed to pump from the Aquifer and the state will not increase it, no matter how much we grow in size or density. We are today, pumping more than 75% of that allowance. That’s right, we are already obligated to support water usage for 900% more residents with only 25% more water… and the City Commission keeps allowing more and more density.  Please see the Water Documentation page for more details

Bottom line

We must not let the development representatives, who will be overwhelmingly represented in the Vision Plan’s “Stakeholder Group”, distract you with threats that density increases are the only path to affordable housing, lower taxes and more jobs. If we cannot get those things, by growing in some amount at or below 9 fold, then we might just be better off without them.  Don't fall for this second attempt by our City Commission to wholesale increase the Density in our city beyond our current obligation.  See the density documentation tab for information about just how high that obligation already is.

What can you do about it?

Act Locally by supporting

Act Statewide by supporting

Please contact your City Commissioners and Mayor and demand they put the STAND Amendments on the ballot.  Their information is available on the city website at

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