Strategy shifts for development in Crystal River; City Council sets septic-to-sewer assessments | Local News
After hearing concerns about design uncertainties, a property developer decided to revise their pitch to build a mix of condos, shops and offices in Crystal River.
Rob Benjamin, vice president of Heritage Development Company, told the city council on Monday evening, Sept. 13th, that he would amend his application to rededicate and reclassify a portion of the 51 acre property at 8800 W. Pure Lane along US 19.
“I don’t mind stepping back,” he told city officials on behalf of the property owner, Crystal River LTD. “If there is a way to work with the city, we are ready to do it.”
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On advice from the council, Benjamin said he would draft a proposal for a planned unitary development (PUD) that would give a developer flexibility beyond building codes but would limit them to a specific design that the council has yet to approve.
After working with the city’s staff for about a year, the developer asked the council to designate 32 acres of the northwest corner of the property for high-density residential areas that can accommodate up to 384 apartment buildings in multi-story apartments.
This is a conceptual plan for a mixed-use home, business and office development at 8800 W. Pure Lane in Crystal River.
The remaining area remains unchanged as a motorway commercial area, which provides shop fronts and offices.
Brian Herrmann, Director of Urban Planning and Development, presented the developer’s concept plan to the city council, but admitted that the application for re-zoning would not bind builders to a specific design.
Herrmann said the facility is a dense combination of living and business connected by sidewalks, green spaces, lakeside paths and playgrounds.
“We want to come in and do something different than we did in the past,” said Benjamin. “We felt that this was the best option for us to develop this country.”
Councilor Robert Holmes was the first to ask questions about the level of development in relation to neighboring Crystal River Airport, the potential impact on wetlands, rainwater runoff and traffic on West Pure Lane, which has no traffic light at US 19.
“If that happens we will have problems with it,” he said, repeated by other council members. “You have to do it right.”
Herrmann pointed out that building permits would later have to be approved by the city, the Federal Aviation Office and other supervisory authorities before the groundbreaking ceremony.
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Jackie Brooks, who lives behind the property, said destroying the wetlands for the impermeable surfaces of development would destroy wildlife and worsen the flooding she and her neighbors experience after just a day of rainfall.
“If you build something up behind me, the water has nowhere to go but us,” she said. “This is not a good project for anyone.”
Herrmann said other communities could have maintained dense development in their wetlands. Environmental regulations also prohibit a development from contributing to more rainwater runoff.
Holmes said that “nothing can happen on God’s green earth” as the land slopes down to the surrounding plains and golf courses.
A tree line, 50 meters of space and an old railway line separate the development from the adjoining subdivision in the west.
The council agreed to have the Heritage Development Company listed the property on its website for $ 5 million. In 2020, Citrus County’s real estate appraiser valued the property at $ 423,690.
Benjamin said it was his company’s intent to develop the property before it is sold.
“My job is to maintain websites that we develop,” he said. “It could be for sale; Everything is for sale. “
The council asked Benjamin why he wasn’t following a PUD application, which officials said would help get a better picture of what the developers are thinking.
Benjamin said he went this route because other communities rejected PUD applications.
“If a PUD can help us and help you,” he said, “then we are open to it.”
Council sets final rating rate for land affected by septic tank-to-sewer project
The council voted Monday to approve the final valuation rates for the 90 properties affected by the city’s Phase 1 wastewater expansion project in Indian Waters.
The project is expected to break ground in 12-14 months, decommissioning 77 septic tanks and connecting properties to the Crystal River sewer system.
Crystal River Approves Additional Funding for Septic-to-Sewage Project
City officials are pursuing the project to reduce nitrogen leaks from septic tanks
Affected residents would pay the balance the city couldn’t cover for the $ 2,152,677 project.
In the end, the council’s vote gave property owners the option to either prepay the $ 5,976 or pay an annual tax bill of $ 832 over the next 10 years starting in November.
CR Council Sets Preliminary Assessment for Septic-to-Sewer Project; Keep looking for more funds
Residents faced either an annual estimate of $ 861 or an upfront fee of $ 10,304.
However, city workers were able to raise an additional $ 500,000 in government funding to offset the above budget costs, which allowed the valuation to be reduced. Crystal River also contributed $ 100,000.
City manager Ken Frink said the city is applying for grants to cover the $ 3,200 fee that each affected property owner is estimated to have to pay to have their home connected to city sewer within 365 days of availability.
Council approves agreement with the city’s current garbage trucker for status quo service
The council voted on Monday to keep Waste Management – formerly Advanced Disposal – as Crystal River’s garbage haulier until at least September 30, 2028.
While Waste Management’s original bids were higher compared to the two competing bidders, city officials and their advisors recommended the company for its unwavering service.
CR Council approves preliminary garbage truck contract; ponders ecotourism committee
After negotiating with city officials, the waste management industry agreed to set the residential pickup rate at $ 23.90 per month – an increase of $ 7.91 from the current price. Waste Management will also unload commercial dumpsters for $ 7.75 per cubic meter instead of $ 8.73.
There have been no changes to how rubbish and recycling are collected from the curbs or dumpsters within the city. Waste management also agreed to the recycling of glass.
To remove the waste from Crystal River, the city’s waste management department has to pay $ 140,000 annually in equal monthly installments.