Royal Oak Golf Course was a thriving 18 hole golf course from 1964-2015. It was a popular winter destination for many “PGA of Canada” professionals and touring pros, including Moe Norman. It is a 147 acre property designed to provide community based recreation and conservation uses, and land use is designated as Recreation and Conservation. Current zoning is OR (Open Space & Recreation) and General Use. Per the city’s Comprehensive Plan, Policy 1.4.5, the Recreational/Open Space designation is clearly meant to reserve the land.
The conservation areas (lakes) on the property provide flood control and nutrient filtration for stormwater runoff for the surrounding community. There are 15 existing city drainage structures using the Conservation areas for stormwater management. The interconnected lakes outfall directly to an Area of Critical Concern to the south.
The property was purchased in June 2022 by Toulon Apartments, LLC out of Brooklyn NY for $4.5 million. The new owner is now requesting rezoning/Land use to “High Density Residential/Planned Development” and submitted a concept “Master Site Plan” to the city of Titusville in March 2023. The plan calls for a total of 1038 dwelling units: 380 apartments, 541 Townhomes, and 117 Single Family homes with 1 car garages. Eighteen members of City staff met with the new owner in April to provide feedback about the concept plan, but the meeting was not open to the public.
Royal Oak Neighbors is a grassroots committee opposing the rezoning and is asking the city officials to respect the Comprehensive Plan and deny rezoning to High Density. More than 450 residents have signed the petition stating they are not in favor of the rezoning of this proposal. More than 275 yard signs are displayed echoing that sentiment “No Rezone.” There has been no attempt by the developer to engage the residents to discuss highest and best use of the property he purchased. A wise investor would be seeking a community compromise that allows reasonable marketable residential properties that co-exist with amenities that enhance the Royal Oak Subdivision.
There are several serious concerns about development of this property: Inadequate infrastructure, stormwater and flooding, water resources, sewage treatment, increased overcrowding of schools, and inadequate roads to handle an additional 8823 vehicle trips per day. Environmental concerns are significant: Agent Orange and other pesticides were used on the golf course for many years. What would be the effect of dredging the lakes and stirring the toxins in the water and air? Is there no protection for the wildlife living on the golf course? We’ve observed scrub jay, gopher tortoise, eagles, mottled ducks, and nesting sandhill cranes. It is clear this is not merely a local issue; the impacts would be city-wide.
Royal Oak residents did due diligence when purchasing their largest investment-their home. They researched to determine the zoning of their neighbor and felt some assurance the city would respect that zoning, based on the Comprehensive Plan. Those purchasing homes fronting the golf course paid premiums for those lots.
Negative impacts to the stakeholders while the developer potentially receives tax breaks, as he has on 3 other developments in Florida, does not make good sense to us for our community and our schools.