New Smyrna group fighting proposed low-income housing development

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VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. —

A group of New Smyrna Beach residents is fighting a proposed low-income housing development near their neighborhood.

A Winter Park developer is planning to build Causeway Landings, an apartment complex along the North Causeway, next to the upscale Venesia neighborhood.

WFTV's Steve Barrett talked to residents about why they're against the project.

Delores Burkhard is one of the residents organizing the opposition to Causeway Landings. The proposed 239-unit complex would be for families making $20,000 to $40,000 a year.

"We don't want that many rentals here. I don't think there are that many renters in New Smyrna Beach. So units will sit empty, and it just isn't what we were looking for as the gateway to New Smyrna," said Burkhard.

The group calls themselves Citizens for Smart Growth, and they said the development is not what residents expect for the gateway to the tourist area of the city.

Burkhard said citizens want the City Council to consider the consequences of the development very carefully, and she said opposition is growing in the city.

"I mean, this is the biggest objection that I've seen since I've been in New Smyrna Beach, and I've been here since 1984," she said.

The property has already been approved for 202 units, but the new owners want to expand that number and reduce the income requirements. Those changes would be left up to politicians.

WFTV talked to Atlantic Housing Partners, the developer proposing the project. It said it is in the planning process with the city and is listening to the concerns of nearby residents about the development plan.