Palm Bay homeowners concerned about overdevelopment in rapidly growing city

PALM BAY, Fla. - People are asking for development to slow down in Palm Bay as neighbors worry about the city's rapid, unmanaged growth.

This week, residents started an online petition to slow down the growth after a property near their homes in Southeast Palm Bay caught a developer's eye.

An undeveloped area off of Alcazar St. NE is what sparked the movement. The property’s been vacant for years, but a developer wants to change the zoning to build apartments or condominiums. That would butt up to single-family homes. Neighbors say the city’s growing too fast, and it’s time to slow down.

"It’s almost like we’re not being heard. We want to speak out and say that we don’t want some of these things, and we’re just not being heard," said Kim Evers, who’s leading the charge for change.

Homeowners feel like it’s the people versus Palm Bay regarding overdevelopment.

"Are they even going to listen to us?" said Sheryl Cicchese.

"We are growing too fast," added Nathan White, now running for Palm Bay’s city council because of concerns about the city’s direction.

Frank Bolvari says the city continues to "Add, add, add, add — but you have to think about roads."

These homeowners are worried about how fast the city of Palm Bay is growing.


"I don’t feel the single-family zoned properties should be re-considered and re-zoned into the high density to hold so many people in a small area," added Evers.

She started a petition two days ago because she’s at risk of losing her slice of paradise to high-density housing. She quickly saw that other people who live in Palm Bay have similar concerns.

Neighbors who live near the space say they aren’t opposed to new housing, but squeezing in apartments, condos, or townhomes doesn’t make sense when they’re surrounded by single-family homes.

"This is a residential neighborhood, not a multi-family," said Mike Hammer, who also lives in the neighborhood and is running for city council. "You’re going to bring 200 people in here. It’s not going to work."

Some thought the city was starting to see an issue with overdevelopment because, at the last city council meeting, there was an agenda item to discuss a pause on new carwash and storage facilities. The discussion ended up being pulled before it ever happened on May 2.

"Councilman Johnson has requested to withdraw items 2 and 3 under public hearings related to temporary moratoriums," said Palm Bay City Manager Suzanne Sherman.

These homeowners aren’t backing down, and they’re spreading awareness now so growth slows down before it's too late.

"I just think they’re building everything backward, not having the roads built first to handle all this traffic that is going to come through," concluded Richard Perez.

These neighbors were expected to meet with the developer who is eyeing the zoning change on Friday evening.