When you decide to try and make a living as a developer/contractor you have to know right up front your job will require some destruction of nature.
How much you destroy will depend on how big you get. Those who build subdivisions and huge shopping malls know they will have to replace many square miles with pavement and structures, while on the other end, the smaller contractors (as I was) realize they too will have to kill nature, but on a lesser scale.
Somewhere in the middle is Paul Holub, the builder doing Granada Pointe in Ormond Beach. Mr. Holub has received a lot of flak for clearing the woodsy area on West Granada Boulevard for his latest project. The local citizenry are up in arms over the loss of the woodlands and the increased traffic it is expected to create.
Now I don’t know Mr. Holub (though we met briefly back in the 90’s), but I would wager that if you asked him if he cared about the environment, he would answer “of course.” Most people would at least say that.
It is Mr. Holub’s lot in life to constantly look for undisturbed pieces of nature where he might erect convenience stores, fast food joints and other businesses. I suppose someone has to do it.
To be fair, the property where Granada Pointe is going up was probably destined to become apartment buildings and few would want that. Progress, however, will not be stopped. Of course, it would have been better to just let the woods sit as it had since Henry Flagler closed his nine hole golf course there, but we all know that could not last indefinitely.
Back when I was a contractor in the cramped Chicago suburbs, I sometimes felt pangs of guilt when I had to take out a hedge where small birds nested or a tree that was home to woodpeckers and squirrels. It was a cost of doing business. Every contractor pays that cost in some way.
One thing is for sure when you start taking out stands of trees, you are going to hear about it. Mr. Holub has heard plenty. The fight over Granada Pointe has been especially dirty with old accusations being brought up that have absolutely nothing to do with the work being done. Both sides are going for the throat. Too late! Granada Pointe will be up and running in a short time.
The citizens of Ormond Beach,(and every other community in Volusia County, can now only work to be sure all future planning will be done in the sunshine.
To be sure the mayor and city commissioners of Ormond Beach did everything by the book. Notices were sent out when the work was still in the planning stages as the law requires and the project was discussed at length in city commission meetings. Obviously that was not enough.
Heed my warning. If the elected officials across this county hope to keep their jobs, they must do a better job of making the public aware. A legal notice in the paper or a blurb on their website won’t do it. I know at times it appears as though the public is in a deep slumber, but when something like this wakes them up, there will be hell to pay!
Dan Smith is on the board of directors for the Ormond Beach Historical Society and The Motor Racing Heritage Association and is the author of two books, “The World’s Greatest Beach” and “I Swear the Snook Drowned.” Email questions and comments to email@example.com or call (386) 441-7793.