Palm Bay Residents Protest Proposed 264-Unit Apartment Complex to be Built in Single-Family House Subdivision
By Space Coast Daily // August 11, 2019
'This is a clash between the neighborhood and the big developer from New Jersey'
BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA – Palm Bay residents filled the chambers during the Palm Bay City Planning and Zoning Board meeting on August 7 to express their concern about the proposed construction of a new apartment complex on a 20-acre parcel in the middle of the single-family house subdivision.
The item in question was the approval of the Cricket Drive Apartments preliminary development plan for a proposed Planned Unit Development to allow for a 264-unit, multiple-family residential development called Cricket Drive Apartments.
The 19.62-acre parcel is located north of and adjacent to Cricket Drive NE, in the vicinity between Nolan Street NE and Nogales Avenue NE, specifically at 825 Cricket Drive NE.
“The Palm Bay City Planning and Zoning Board was flooded with petitions from residents and the city hall was crowded with approximately 200 protesting citizens,” said Palm Bay resident Renata Kolodziej-Smith.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE MEETING
Kolodziej-Smith said that even with a short notice about the new apartment complex project, angry homeowners quickly mobilized by flooding city hall with hundreds of petitions and phone calls.
A near-capacity crowd of about 200 residents then attend the Planning and Zoning Board meeting last Wednesday and were told the developer rescheduled his presentation last minute.
“This is a clash between the neighborhood and the big developer from New Jersey who is trying to establish a precedent of spot zoning, exploiting a small community by building an enormous 264 unit apartment complex on a 20-acre parcel in the middle of the single-family house subdivision,” said Kolodziej-Smith.
Kolodziej-Smith said “after initial angry reactions from the community,” the developer decided at the last minute to reschedule their presentation to September 4.
“This last-minute postponement by the developer left people gagged with no voice,” said Kolodziej-Smith.
“If the Palm Bay Board and Council pass a comprehensive plan to turn the single-family parcel to multi-family rentals, it will create a precedent in the city of Palm Bay and other subdivisions may be affected in the future.”
In a growing movement by neighborhood residents where approximately 900 homeowners live, a protest is being planned for the September 4 Planning and Zoning Board meeting.
“More petitions are being signed, and signs ‘Stop Cricket Apts’ are spreading throughout the neighborhood,” said Kolodziej-Smith.
“Residents want the property developed as currently zoned (residential estates) by a responsible developer who cares about the trees, wildlife, environment and community.”
The Palm Bay City Planning and Zoning Board conducts hearings and makes recommendations to City Council in regards to requests for proposed changes in the land development regulations (rezoning, conditional uses), proposed subdivisions, and revisions to the comprehensive plan.
The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers, located at 120 Malabar Road, SE.
STAY TUNED TO SPACE COAST DAILY FOR UPDATES
CLICK HERE FOR BREVARD COUNTY NEWS