Adding more Density is NOT Smart Growth!.

What's the solution?  Well the first step is to stop making it worse.  Stop adding density to our city.

The first step lies in holding the line at our current density obligation.  That is unless you want us to eventually build out to many times bigger than we are now.  The next step is to determine what we want to do about our situation.  We could change the comp plan and slash the allowable density city wide but that is not likely with our political leadership.  It would not be fair to many property owners either.  Another option is to resign ourselves to the comp plan as we have it now.  Not great, but at least they will no longer make it worse.  There is also an option to try to make the best of the situation we are in and try to explore Density Mitigation aka Density Transfer.

Density Transfer involves taking the units that could be built on a piece of land and transferring them to another piece of land upon which development is going to happen anyway. I propose a 2 to 1 ration of transfer in areas that have an attractive element like a body of water v/s nearby lands with no atractive element.  In areas without an attractive element I propose a 1 to 1 ratio.

The application of this concept can be skewed towards the developers favor or in the citizens favor. What I offer here is a fair application of this principle that can benefit not only the development community with increased profits but also the citizens with free land.

First let’s explore the concept. Lets say I had land that was Comped and Zoned for 40 units but I wanted to build 80 units there. To implement the transfer I would have to acquire more land that had development rights for the additional 40 units. Next I would have to agree to give this additional land to the city in order to have the privilege to build those additional units on my original property. Hence the name Density “Transfer”.
Now let’s explore the application of such a concept with condos along A1A in Daytona Beach. Developers want to build higher and higher buildings with more and more units to increase their profitability. In this time of eroding beaches, citizens want open access and parking for the beach as well. We can have both in a FAIR manner that will yield free east and west side A1A property for the city while increasing the profit opportunity for the developer beyond what is allowed today. All this with no loss of tax base, in fact increasing it beyond what would have happened building by the rules. 

Please remember that the city and our citizens do not owe any property owner density above the current Comp Plan. Furthermore, any additional density allowed would be built on top of the units already allowed. The additional top units generate much higher sale prices than the ones below and add to the developer’s profitability exponentially. It should be obvious that one 14-story building yields many times more profits than two 7-story buildings via lower construction costs and higher unit sale prices. 

Most citizens I have spoken with believe that we should hold transfers to strictly east side A1A property so we get the maximum beachfront access, if we even allowed them at all. This would be great for the citizens and offer additional profit opportunity beyond the current rules. Unfortunately there is a stigma associated with condos that neighbor public parks. Most people would rather have a condo in a more private less congested area of the beach all other things being equal. In order to provide incentive for developers and improve the profitability above strictly east side transfer I offer the proposal to let them have access to transfer west side A1A property as well at a 2 to 1 ratio. Meaning for every two acres of west side land we allow developers the privilege of transferring, they must also transfer 1 acre of east side land.

Why west side too? No matter how elementary the benefit of strict east side transfer, it will do no good if no one takes us up on the opportunity. These west side lots are cheap compared to east side land and offer huge profit potential to developers. Furthermore we will need the west side land to provide parking for the east side ocean access and parks. If we allow west side transfer from ONLY those lots that front A1A, we will also protect those neighborhoods behind these lots. Finally, with the additional west side lands we will no longer have to build parking garages. This will spread the beachgoers access and impact across the whole beach. Please see the following 3 examples for a realistic view of what we will get if we (1) Build by the rules, (2) We leave the city leaders to continue their giveaway or (3) Finally get a fair compromise with the development community. Note that the compromise could also be applied to our riverfront and any other lands that had an element of desirability v/s the neighboring lands.

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