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Sweetwater Coalition Member Discusses Yorktowne Extension at City Council Meeting

Mon, Jul 23, 2018 at 11:40AM

Port Orange, FL - During the July 17 City Council meeting Derek LaMontagne, a Port Orange Environmental Advisory Board member and a member of the Sweetwater Coalition, presented to the City Council regarding the Yorktowne Boulevard Extension.

In LaMontagne’s presentation he had several goals that he wants to reach in order to stop the extension. The goals are as follows:

  • Save the city money.
  • Prevent increased flooding risk.
  • Alleviate transportation problems.
  • Keep Sweetwater Canal and Spruce Creek healthy.
  • Protect Horizon Elementary School children from noise/air pollution.
  • Preserve natural habitats.

“[These goals will] potentially save the city millions,” said LaMontagne.

He wanted to make it clear that they weren’t challenging the city, but rather the Water Management District (WMD) and the permit they received. He said that the city intervened after they challenged the WMD.

Some of the evidence LaMontagne presented regarded map discrepancies. He claims that most of the county is in a floodplain and that engineers used an old map from 2002 to make their calculations. The floodplain has expanded dramatically between 2002 and 2014, so the calculations were off. He claims that engineers admitted to making the mistake.

He also stated that Port Orange currently receives a discount on flood insurance, but if provisions are violated by building in a floodplain the city could lose their discounts and FEMA money.

LaMontagne also outlined some health risks he believes will be a result of the extension. He states that stripping the forest along I-95 will:

  • Get rid of the absorption of rain and storm water.
  • Not allow the water to be filtered and the pollutants to be degraded.
  • Get rid of the most effective mitigation.
  • Increase the air pollution from the interstate affecting elementary schools, public parks, sport fields, and a new residential area.

The air pollution is believed to be detrimental to the students of Horizon Elementary and the quality of life in the new residential community.

LaMontagne also stated that he doesn’t believe it will alleviate traffic from Dunlawton and that it will add traffic to the Willow Run area. After he spoke to the council other residents spoke about the negative effects they believe will be caused by the Yorktowne Extension. In order to watch the full presentations click here.

Following the residents’ presentations the council members had the opportunity to comment on the presented topics. Most of the members decided not to comment and Councilman Bob Ford said he wasn’t going to comment because Yorktowne is only in the beginning stages and there will be plenty of time to discuss it down the road.

Councilman Scott Stiltner addressed some of the citizen’s comments that claimed the council was trying to silence their voices. He said that they welcomed the citizen’s comments and went on to say that some of the evidence Derek LaMontagne presented was misleading.

“Many opinions have been passed as fact,” said Mayor Donald O. Burnette. “Nothing has been finalized. I like Derek LaMontagne, but I respectfully disagree with some of the stuff [he] offered because it’s not showing the full picture.”

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