Preservation

The property at 620 S. Riverside Drive, owned by Curtis and Laura Hodges, was the residential winner for New Smyrna Beach’s 2020 Donnadine Miller Historic Preservation Awards.

The New Smyrna Beach City Commission gave its final approval to buy about 10 acres as part of the Turnbull Creek Land Preservation program.

The commissioners unanimously agreed Oct. 13 to the price of $1.2 million for three parcels on the south side of State Road 44, east of Walker Drive.

The commissioners had approved an option agreement June 23 to buy the land.

The purchase is part of the Turnbull Creek Land Preservation Bond Referendum which voters approved in 2018.

The city will buy the 10.08 acres from Sea Star Realty. Assistant City Manager Brian Fields said the land is “low and wet with extensive tree cover.”

Mr. Fields noted the land is “developable.” In May 2019, Sea Star Realty submitted an application to build a 15,000-square-foot boat sales and service facility on the property.

“I think we’re delivering what the voters told us they wanted in 2018,” Mayor Russ Owen said. “To preserve some of this open space for future generations.”

The price is less than two independent appraisals of $1.415 million and $1.256 million.

The funding for the purchase is available through recently received Florida Communities Trust grant funds reimbursed from the city’s Turnbull Trace purchase. The city paid about $8.9 million for the Turnbull Trace property but was reimbursed $3.57 million through the grants.

Of the $15 million that voters approved in the bond referendum, the city has $8,434,560 remaining for land acquisition.

In other business:

• Robert Mathen, the city’s historic preservation officer, presented the 2020 Donnadine Miller Preservation Awards.

The New Smyrna Beach Yacht Club at 1201 S. Riverside Drive was the non-residential winner, while the property at 620 S. Riverside Drive, owned by Curtis and Laura Hodges, was the residential winner.

Award winners were selected by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission based on historic significance, community significance and charm.

The yacht club was constructed in 1928 while the residence at 620 S. Riverside was built in 1915.

The city created the historic preservation awards program in 2002 and renamed the awards in 2009 in memory of Donnadine Miller, who was an active community volunteer.

•The commission approved a new lease for the New Smyrna Boat & Ski Club at 241 N. Causeway, but not the version the club preferred.

The club originally leased the facility from the city in 1960. The most recent lease expired on July 31 but was extended to Oct. 31 by the commission to give city staff and the club time to work out a new lease.

The commission was given two versions of a five-year lease at $300 per month with an option to renew for an additional five years. The city chose option A, which gives it the right to cancel the lease with 365 days written notice.

The club preferred option B which did not contain a canceling clause. In fact, the club had hoped to eliminate the entire section in the lease agreement that gives the city the right to terminate before the lease’s expiration date.

The commission approved option A with a 3-2 vote but added into the agreement a termination of the lease would have to be approved by a super majority of the commission -- at least four votes.

Commissioners Michael Kolody and Jake Sachs voted against that version. Mr. Kolody was against the super-majority requirement, saying it would set a bad precedent.

The monthly fee in the new lease is $100 more than the current lease.

•The commission agreed to accept the county’s sub-grant of Covid-19 relief funds through the CARES Act. New Smyrna Beach will receive a cost reimbursement of up to $968,872.

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