I took a break this afternoon to look through a packet prepared for candidates for City Commission by the City Manager, Michael Pleus. This package includes the 2022 budget proposal that is an inch and a half thick, the City of DeLand Strategic Plan covering 2015 – 2025, a list of all current or future developments that have been approved, and the vision for the future aka DeLand 2050. I’m not a career politician, an insider, or one of the ‘Good ‘ol Boys’ that it seems has been running this City for years; so I decided I’d better be prepared.
I started with the list of current and future development projects and was instantly blown away. I learned that there are currently either under construction or soon to be 8 new Apartment/Condo complexes (at least one of which we know to be designed with luxury in mind) and 3,088 brand new houses that will likely start at over $200,000.
Back to my reading this afternoon. I decided to start with the Strategic Plan since it was only 18 pages long, and I was only taking a break from work. I didn’t get past the first plank of the plan before my eyes were rolling. They specifically mention in the plan that we will “develop and implement programs and services that enhance the small town atmosphere and quality of life in DeLand.” Call me crazy, but rapid expansion with “luxury” apartments/condos and thousands of unaffordable new houses is hardly keeping with the small town atmosphere.
I get to the second page and the third plank is regarding the economy. The Strategic Plan in this section states that we will “have a sustainable growth policy requiring the wise use of fiscal and natural resources.” What the current members on the City Commission are doing is the exact opposite of having a sustainable growth policy. We absolutely cannot sustain this rate of growth. I wonder what other goodies await in my reading. It’s time DeLandites stopped voting for more of the same widely known career politicians and send someone to City Hall that will listen to the voters and ensure we stick to the Strategic Plan rather than bulldoze right over it. I could be that voice if you’ll let me!