The province agrees to BJ’s wholesale club despite unresolved traffic problems

A traffic nightmare may develop on State Route 100 and on Seminole Woods Avenue as several new business developments make their way through the county’s regulatory steps. But the biggest development, BJ’s Club and five subsidiaries, is moving in though there is no complete analysis of traffic issues going forward.

“For me, the biggest quality-of-life issue on this topic is traffic and impacts over 100,” County Commissioner Andy Dance said at the meeting Monday, when the county approved a major development step. “I am not ready to agree to this. I personally think I need input from the city since they annexed it.”

The development site is currently in the province’s jurisdiction. But it will be annexed to Palm Coast once the water and sewer lines are extended. Dance has been in contact with a Palm Coast traffic engineer. “Although he was involved in the Traffic Study methodology, he never received the Traffic Study and did not provide input on the Traffic Study,” said Dance.

Palm Coast traffic engineer Michael Grunwald wrote Dance before Monday’s meeting: “I’ve provided opinions on items I’d like to see as part of the Traffic Impact Study. I don’t recall what happened to these comments. This was the latest update on the Traffic Impact Study.” “. He had specific concerns about the proposed traffic light at the intersection of SR100 and McCormick Drive, but as for the traffic study itself, since he hadn’t seen it, he couldn’t address them.

Dance – who also chairs the county-level traffic safety team, a cross-section of local governments and agencies – is seeking to delay approval of the development application until October to give the city time to review the study and “look at the impacts in the surrounding area and do what traffic engineers are supposed to do.” We do not have this specialization in our staff.” His fellow commissioners were uninterested.

The Flagler County Commission cleared the way for BJ’s wholesale club and five subsidiaries near the intersection of State Route 100 and Seminole Woods Street. But she did so after a 4-1 vote.

Dancing was not the only concern. Commissioner Dave Sullivan backed the motion to approve the application, with an important caveat: “It’s mostly because that’s a good thing for the county,” he said. “But I’m telling you, unless we can get to Seminole Boulevard at some point, this thing with increased traffic at this intersection on Seminole Boulevard and 100 is really horrible. We have to come up with a solution.” Regarding a cut from BJ’s development to Seminole Woods Boulevard, he said, “Sooner or later, there’s going to be an axle that way. I’m telling you, or it’s going to close at 100.”

County Commissioner Andy Dance.  (© FlaglerLive)
County Commissioner Andy Dance. (© FlaglerLive)

Adam Mengele, the county planning director, has spent most of his presentation discussing traffic issues and identifying unresolved problems, although he has been relatively supportive of the development project. He’s spoken in far more worrisome terms than the dance does, but the commissioners scoff at the prospect of the new development, knowing that very soon, it won’t be their problem because they brought up the issue on Palm Coast once it’s attached to town. Basically, commissioners can take credit for “bringing in” BJ’s and take none of the blame for subsequent traffic issues.

Regardless of Sullivan’s remarks, the four commissioners seemed neither particularly concerned nor curious about oncoming traffic even after Mengele clarified the issues. Commissioner Joe Mullins was only interested in pointing out the jobs and tax revenue that the big box store would generate. He did not notice that the jobs would not be waged living jobs, but rather service jobs at the lowest end of the wage scale.

“We’re going to feel some pain but I mean that’s a good pain. That’s a good thing to happen,” Mullins said, claiming, without evidence, that it would cut taxes on residents. Evidence suggests otherwise: Despite the largest residential and commercial growth in 16 years Neither the county nor Palm Coast cut taxes this year. Both agreed to tax rates that indicate tax increases of about 15 percent. Mullins immediately submitted a proposal to approve the initial draft of BJ development.

The set of specific applications was an initial panel and for permission to move away from parking space regulations. The items were detailed before the county planning board last week. (See: “Building plans for BJ’s wholesale club, gas station, and several convenience stores on a clear county council of SAR 100.”) On Monday, Mengele outlined the upcoming demand and annexation mechanics. But his focus was on traffic issues not just about future development, but on its surroundings, including “what is already a very busy intersection coming up at Bulldog Airport”.

One particular problem unresolved: The county was hoping to acquire a plot of BJ property via RaceTrac to Seminole Woods Boulevard. RaceTrac refuses.

“RaceTrac has informed the owner, the developer of this property, the potential buyer, that this is a conflict for them,” said Mingle. The county and city are pushing for this interruption because it would ease already congested traffic on State Route 100 and northbound traffic in Seminole Woods that would make a left turn into 100. Mengele made the point with a slide he showed to the commissioners: “What you see is all the traffic that we see every day. It piles up heading east on State Route 100.”

Traffic analysis of the development concluded that an additional state road 100 traffic light would be required at the entrance to the BJ shopping center (to be paid for by the developer), and that the current traffic light at State Road 100 and Seminole takes Woods a long time to navigate through. “My point is that we want this access to happen behind RaceTrac in some way,” Mingle said. “But it’s not part of the current plan.”

Mengele said RaceTrac’s position is defensible, even though BJ’s gas will only be available to members — and BJ has “a different kind of product mix.” So if RaceTrac allows for cutting, it can easily drive customer traffic for snacks, drinks, and the kinds of things that are only easily sold in bulk at BJ’s.

There is a county easement to the south of RaceTrac, which opens up the possibility of cutting the road there. For RaceTrac, this would be the surest way to completely lose the chance of picking up some BJ traffic, since that traffic would completely bypass State 100 and RaceTrac, and head straight south at Seminole. So far it seems that this risk is not a concern for the station owners.

Since the county has this easement, “there may be access to there, but it will extend through the middle of the wetland,” Mengele said, “that would be costly for the [BJ’s] I am asking for a job. It may involve further mitigation of wetlands that would be required. It would also be something that would likely have some environmental damage because it could be fixed.”

Mitigating the effects of wetlands is expensive. It requires developers who demolish wetlands in one location to purchase wetland credits in another, assuming that the net total of wetlands demolished in the state will be limited. “You could have box arches, you could have aqueducts that let the water flow in, but it would also undoubtedly still have some effects,” Mengele continued.

In previous regulatory steps, there was also discussion of cutting off traffic through the county airport to the south and west of the property, but that was set aside because “the airport was not interested in pursuing it because it would throw a lot of traffic into the potentially airport.” This, again, emphasized the dance point: Traffic is an issue that requires further study.

That doesn’t take into account “doubling the size of the airport’s small venue at the moment,” as Sullivan described the expansion of the commercial strip on State Route 100, near the airport entrance and opposite Bulldog Drive. “We are closing this street.”

“We have a lot going on in this area,” Mengele said. “We are not alone with this. We are working with the city. We are clearly working with the Department of Transportation,” the Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over 100. Mengele said the state views State Route 100 as a critical artery that would be prioritized if traffic flow fails. the traffic.

“Currently you have the failure that happens at the intersection. As you enter the project you have some other failure points, Mengele continued. But those that I think can be dealt with uniformly through intersection improvements. This is what the traffic impact analysis showed us. We also don’t expect any Doubt it – everything gets dumped into this – you’re going to have an inevitable expansion. And so we know we’re now tracking quite a few ghost trips, we call them ghost trips because they’re not on the way. But they are things that are currently approved in the pipeline and could evolve Any day now. They will continue to add traffic, to this traffic shed, and they will continue to affect the roads.”

There may be three SR100 lanes in the future, but when that happens, the road will become an urban road with gutters and sidewalks rather than set in rural areas with lower boundaries now, Mengele said. When that happens, the speed limits will be lowered. “That would be pretty awful,” he said.

At that point Dance spoke of his objection to moving forward with approval, in the absence of a full review of traffic analytics by a Palm Coast traffic engineer.

Mark Hodgins, Matthew Development representative, the developer on the project, said a traffic study has been submitted to the city. It may not have been circulated to the traffic engineer. “But the city’s traffic engineer didn’t review the traffic study, so you can make it look nice, but that’s the truth,” Dance told Hodgins.

Hudgins said the permit goes through Flagler County and the state Department of Transportation, not the city. As far as the developer is concerned, it has fulfilled its responsibilities. “At the end of the day, FDOT is the leading jurisdiction on traffic light and all traffic improvements here,” Hudgins said.

“Our companies[rehensive] A plan that specifically talks about coordinating multi-jurisdictional approaches to solving problems,” said Dance. That, especially if included. That’s my point. That’s it. I won’t argue with you on this.

Hudgins cited the work done so far, and his focus on getting the app across the county. “Obviously, we don’t want to delay implementation more than is absolutely necessary,” he said.

The majority of the committee did not.

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