Daytona commissioners focusing on affordable housing, flooding for next budget

DAYTONA BEACH — The mayor and city commissioners have another six months before they have to make final budget decisions for the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, but they've already lined up their top three priorities.

At a Tuesday evening two-hour workshop, they settled on the creation of more affordable housing, improvements to infrastructure, and increased leisure time activities for their top-three list.

Daytona Beach city commissioners huddled Tuesday evening at the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Center for a workshop meeting to discuss their priorities and goals. They chose creation of more affordable housing, infrastructure improvements and increased activities as their top three priorities.
Daytona Beach city commissioners huddled Tuesday evening at the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Center for a workshop meeting to discuss their priorities and goals. They chose creation of more affordable housing, infrastructure improvements and increased activities as their top three priorities.

They discussed building more affordable housing that could be everything from apartments to owner-occupied homes to tiny homes.

Their focus on infrastructure will include roads and utilities that have an impact on flooding, a persistent and devastating problem east of Nova Road.

Increased activities will include new things for children, senior citizens, residents of all ages and visitors to the city.

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The city manager and city staff will get to work now on more specific plans, schedules for projects, and financing for their ideas.

Safety, development, housing priorities for Daytona commissioners

Zone 1 City Commissioner Monica Paris said the city should work on access to jobs, infrastructure, the "feeling of safety," quality of life, the environment, cleanliness, economic prosperity, parks, recreation for kids, parking and signage.

Zone 2 City Commissioner Ken Strickland wants more organized activities and sports. He'd also like something added to the Boardwalk to attract people.

Strickland worries that the large amount of new development in Daytona Beach is going to tap out the city's water supply, something he wants to monitor closely.

After they completed a goal-setting workshop Tuesday evening at the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Center, Daytona Beach city commissioners posed for a photo. Also shown in the photo are the city manager, assistant city attorney and consultant who helped facilitate the meeting.
After they completed a goal-setting workshop Tuesday evening at the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Center, Daytona Beach city commissioners posed for a photo. Also shown in the photo are the city manager, assistant city attorney and consultant who helped facilitate the meeting.

He said Daytona Beach also needs to attract jobs with salaries people can survive on financially, and the city needs more affordable housing.

"As rent goes up, we need to be mindful that there will be more homeless," he said.

Strickland is also troubled by the state reducing Florida cities' home rule, and he wants Daytona Beach to protect its ability to make decisions about how the city government is run.

Zone 3 City Commissioner Quanita May said she wants affordable housing units where people can have their own space, and tiny homes could be one way to make that happen. May would also like to see historic heritage tours in Daytona Beach, and police having a more visible presence to improve residents' sense of safety.

May also said First Step Shelter should be promoted regularly.

Beachside parking, tiny homes and a sports complex

Zone 4 City Commissioner Stacy Cantu would like to see a list of the existing affordable housing in Daytona Beach. Cantu also wants more parking on the beachside to help businesses there.

Zone 5 City Commissioner Dannette Henry wants Daytona Beach to focus on homeownership as the city strives to create more affordable housing. Henry said too many Daytona residents are going to get priced out of the local rental market.

She said Jacksonville has been using 3-D printing to make tiny homes, a cost-saving approach she wants Daytona to explore.

A construction crew clears land next to the Clyde Morris Landing affordable apartment and senior housing complex being built out at 1381 N. Clyde Morris Blvd., a mile south of LPGA Boulevard, in Daytona Beach on Wednesday, July 20, 2022.
A construction crew clears land next to the Clyde Morris Landing affordable apartment and senior housing complex being built out at 1381 N. Clyde Morris Blvd., a mile south of LPGA Boulevard, in Daytona Beach on Wednesday, July 20, 2022.

Henry also wants to create a sports complex, offer more support for small businesses and expand the city's parks and recreation programs to offer more than sports.

"Give them experiences that lead them to jobs," she said.

Zone 6 City Commissioner Paula Reed wants the city to assess its current stock of affordable housing and to do something about the dilapidated buildings in the city's urban core area.

She would like a new multi-purpose center as well as a center for senior citizens where they could learn about things such as computers and Social Security.

"If we're such a great place to retire, we need to support them," Reed said.

Mayor Derrick Henry said a property near Campbell Middle School could be used to build affordable housing.

"We need more infill development," the mayor said. "We don't want to be a city of gentrification."

A bicyclist had the road to himself as he pedaled past empty storefronts along Main Street in Daytona Beach one day back in 2017. Some recent property sales along and near Main Street have sparked new hope for revitalizing the beleaguered roadway.
A bicyclist had the road to himself as he pedaled past empty storefronts along Main Street in Daytona Beach one day back in 2017. Some recent property sales along and near Main Street have sparked new hope for revitalizing the beleaguered roadway.

He also wants the city to start an affordable housing trust fund with at least $3 million in it.

Henry also said Main Street needs beautification and lighting, as does Seabreeze Boulevard. The mayor said the city needs to continue road and sidewalk projects, increase its focus on the impacts of global warming, and make its leisure service programs "more holistic."

What Daytona Beach residents have to say

At Wednesday night's meeting, city staff members also shared the results of a recent citizen survey conducted at the beginning of this year. A total of 2,800 surveys were mailed out in early January, and 11% of the recipients responded.

The vast majority of the respondents, 96%, said the city should focus on its overall economic health and utilities. More than half of them, 62%, said Daytona Beach is a good or excellent place to live, and 69% said Daytona Beach is a good or excellent place to visit.

The majority, 70%, said they plan to still be living in Daytona Beach in five years. A slightly smaller number, 67%, said they would recommend living in Daytona Beach to others.

City staff also held a meeting earlier this month to hear directly from citizens about what they think is good and what needs work.

Many of the 30 residents at that meeting said they want the city to be safer, and they want the city to work on improvements to flooding, the amount of workforce housing, road surfaces and trash pickup. They also said they want more fun activities available in Daytona Beach, and better communication about the activities and facilities that are available.

You can reach Eileen at Eileen.Zaffiro@news-jrnl.com

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Top Daytona Beach priorities are affordable housing, infrastructure