- Associated Press - Thursday, May 7, 2015

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Volusia County officials on Thursday passed measures that would eventually remove driving from a quarter-mile of Daytona Beach and pave the way for the development of two new oceanfront resorts.

The Volusia County Council voted 6-1 to pass the measures, including the one shrinking the number of miles cars can drive on the beach. Before the vote, it was less than 16 miles.

Dozens of opponents packed the council chambers, urging that the proposals be put to voters. They said limiting driving on the beach took away from a proud tradition in Daytona Beach.

“You’re not creating the opportunity for success. What you’re creating is the obligation to give away the beach,” said Greg Gimbert, founder of Let Volusia Vote, a group that opposed the ordinances.

Supporters said restricting driving to the area of the beach would encourage new development that could revitalize the area. They said it would help in the redevelopment of the Desert Inn into a Westin resort, as well as with the construction of a Hard Rock Hotel & Cafe.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal (https://goo.gl/fsfdax ) reports that the proposals have been among the most contentious issues in local politics this year.

Volusia County beaches have allowed driving almost since the mass popularization of the automobile almost 100 years ago.

But officials have implemented more restrictions during the past three decades. In the 1980s, nighttime driving on the beach was banned, and 9 miles of beach driving were closed in the 1990s to protect sea turtle nests.

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Information from: Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal, https://www.news-journalonline.com


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