Volusia County 2070
Photo by Haley Busch
Saving Special Places • Building Better Communities
Advocating for Volusia County
On April 12, 1000 Friends Policy and Planning Director Jane West presented to the Volusia County Council during their day-long workshop on growth management and permitting. County planning staff provided a comprehensive overview of Volusia County’s role and responsibilities in managing growth and Council Members engaged in discussion about the challenges associated with balancing the community’s needs.
Volusia County’s distinct urban-rural character, access to pristine springs, riverfront and beaches, and charming communities make this region a desirable place to live, work and play. Amid increasing population and development trends, what can we do together to protect and promote Volusia’s quality of life?
On November 3, 2021, smart growth organization 1000 Friends of Florida and St. Johns Riverkeeper joined forces to host Volusia 2070: River Friendly Planning at the Stetson Water and Environmental Resilience Institute’s Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center. This interactive workshop delved into quality-of-life factors in Volusia County, and included presentations and a “Q&A” session with smart growth advocates providing an opportunity for attendees to join a sustainable development coalition for Volusia County and the greater St. Johns River Basin.
Volusia County 2070 Findings
People want to live in Volusia County. The University of Florida’s Landscape Conservation Center projections in the county’s 2070 report forecast that Volusia’s population will grow from 500,000 in 2010 to nearly 700,000 by 2070. This is a 40% increase in population between 2010 and 2070. The Florida 2070 and Water 2070 reports allow us to speculate how Volusia’s rural and conservation lands will be impacted if current patterns of development continue (“trend”), or how these lands may be protected through a modest 20% increase in density (“alternative”). Due to a combination of rapid population growth and sprawling development patterns, the Volusia 2070 Trend projections would lead to an increase of total developed land from 29% to 46% of the county, reducing the unprotected land for agriculture and other purposes. The 2070 Alternative projection would spare more than 66,000 acres from pavement and rooftops through a 20% increase in development density.
Development-related water demand is on track for a 122% increase, whereas the 2070 Alternative would yield a 46% increase in water demand.
As the 2070 maps reveal, a change in development patterns is clearly needed if the county’s natural lands and waters are to be adequately protected from the impacts of growth. For a more thorough and nuanced analysis of 2070 maps and data, please view the Volusia 2070 presentation slides here.