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CONVINCING THE RESIDENTS — Attorney Mark Watts, representing the developer of the proposed Pine Ridge subdivision, speaks to residents of the surrounding neighborhood at a community meeting Feb. 12.

Though the tone and tenor of the meeting were generally civil and respectful, the longtime homeowners in a semirural section of Deltona are not relenting in their opposition to a proposed subdivision featuring small lots and closely packed houses.

When the meeting ended, both sides were no closer to compromise. Residents near the proposed Pine Ridge subdivision expressed their continued opposition to having so many new homes so close to them, while the developer shows no willingness to reduce the density.

At issue is whether 13 acres on the west side of Howland Boulevard — across from Pine Ridge High School — should be rezoned for 58 homes to be built closely together and adjacent to acre-plus lots and ranchettes.

The intended developer, Howland Holdings LLC, proposes to build the new homes on much smaller lots. Both the old plat and the proposed new one are known as Pine Ridge.

“I appreciate your coming out,” Mark Watts, the attorney representing the developer seeking the rezoning, said. “Obviously we disagree,”

Watts failed to sway many hearts and minds of those already living in the neighborhood during a Feb. 12 meeting at Deltona’s Harris M. Saxon Community Center.

“This neighborhood is in the middle of the middle school and the high school,” homeowner James McCully said. “These 58 homes — how are they going to go to Heritage [Middle School]? They’re going to go through our neighborhood.”

Another resident, Alan Holley, said he and his wife had moved to the area years ago because they had wanted to live in a quieter place.

“We raised eight kids there,” he said. “We like it.”

The request for the new and more dense community goes before the Deltona City Commission Monday, Feb. 17.

Approval of the subdivision would come in the form of changing the zoning of the 13 acres from Residential Estate (RE-1), with a minimum lot size of an acre, to RPUD (Residential Planned Unit Development). The RPUD lots, as submitted, would be about 40 feet wide and 120 feet long.

The new neighborhood, according to the longtimers, would not fit with its surroundings.

With the proposed development, its critics say, will also come more traffic and noise.

The Deltona Planning and Zoning Board voted 6-1 to advise the City Commission to reject the rezoning request, but the commission is not bound by the board’s recommendation.

“This plan, as it exists right now, is not compatible with the comprehensive plan, and it should be denied,” McCully told his neighbors and Watts, referring to Deltona’s growth-management plan. “This will alter the quality of our life.”

Watts said the old Pine Ridge neighborhood will be separated from the new Pine Ridge by buffers and fences.

“But if there’s a buffer, it doesn’t prevent [anyone in] two-story homes from looking onto our property,” one Pine Ridge homeowner countered.

The City Commission convenes at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, at Deltona City Hall, 2345 Providence Blvd. The meeting is open to the public.