Read this before moving to DeBary, FL!

January 24, 2023 | By Chuck Shaver
DeBary's Main Street concept image

Big changes are coming for Debary, Florida. Are they GOOD changes? Well, maybe. I surely HOPE so. I’m going to address some MAJOR changes that are coming to Debary that could change the face of Debary for years to come-maybe forever. So it’s a good idea to read this before you consider moving to DeBary.

They aren’t in any particular order, and they ALL have an impact on this little town, but the last one is the one that concerns me the most, so be sure to read through for that one.

I’ve lived and worked here in Central Florida for many years and I’m a HUGE fan of Debary. I mean, everyone I know seems to like Debary for what it IS. Debary is NOT Orlando, or even Deland, for that matter, Debary just doesn’t have the glitz of so many other towns.

Debary is sort of like your friend’s little brother-everyone knows he’s there, he’s funny, and everyone thinks he’s great, but they don’t take him seriously. But these changes that are coming to Debary SHOULD be taken seriously. As a local Realtor® I try to attend public meetings whenever I can to get the latest scoop on what’s going on. Now I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t know ALL that’s going on, but I recently attended a State of the City presentation where they discussed upcoming plans for Debary’s future (Watch the presentation HERE).  I’ll be addressing WHAT these changes are and then, towards the end, I’ll be addressing how these changes will impact the residents of Debary, Florida.

What and Where is DeBary – Debary is a small bedroom community north of Orlando, just over the bridge from Seminole County in West Volusia, where people come to LIVE. People just don’t come to Debary FOR Debary itself. However, the City of Debary has some pretty aggressive plans for Debary’s growth, and I think these plans are fantastic, but I AM concerned that the face of Debary could be changed forever. Like most cities, Debary has faced it’s share of difficulties in the past, but I get the impression that they’re serious about getting things right. They’ve addressed their stormwater issues that have plagued Debary for many years. They’re adding a fire station through a grant, they’ve added some staff, and they say that the ad valorem taxes, and crime rates are the lowest in all of Volusia County, and they say they’re trying to run the city like a business – and I think that’s a GOOD thing!

Alexander Island (Riverbend South) – Debary purchased Alexander Island, which is planned to be a freshwater research and education center on the St. Johns River. This area is planned to be a city park with kayak and canoe access as well as walking trails for the residents of Debary. Who knows? Maybe Alexander island will be something that they’d come up from Orlando to see? Alexander Island is a beautiful piece of land, about 170 acres not far from Fort Florida Road behind the Black Bear Wilderness Area. This is supposed to be part of the Debary park system totaling 640 acres with hopes to connect Alexander Island to the East Central Rail Trail.

Traffic Safety – Next, most of us know that Debary is growing – and FAST, we’ve got all sorts of new subdivisions here. As such, traffic is becoming a bigger and bigger issue and the City of Debary has taken notice. As such, they’ve got with the Florida Department of Transportation and they’re adding some traffic lights and reconstructing a couple intersections along 17-92, and they plan to decrease the speed limit. Of course, this SHOULD help with safety concerns that I’ve heard of from Debary’s residents, but I also know that it’ll take us longer to get through Debary as we’re heading down to Sanford or Orlando.

DeBary Main Street – Debary also has plans to develop its very own Main Street, giving people a reason, and a means to come to Debary. It’ll be across from the SunRail Station on about 20 acres of residential, retail, and public use space with plenty of parking. The commercial component is expected to be ground floor retail space with residential housing on the upper floor along with some townhomes and apartment buildings in there. The idea is to add to housing while giving Debary it’s very first downtown area with a community activity area, along with a swimming pool and plenty of trails that connect to Debary’s already huge trail system. It’s my hope that this will give the Orlando folks a reason to stop in Debary once the SunRail is finally expanded up into Deland.

Now, all this growth makes it sound like the City of Debary is trying to GROW Debary, but I don’t think that’s the case at all, in fact, one of its members stated that they’re actually trying to SLOW growth so that it aligns with their vision. I said earlier that I’m a huge fan of Debary, and perhaps I’m a fan of what Debary is NOT. It’s NOT Sanford, it’s NOT Orlando, it’s NOT Deland, it’s DEBARY. Debary is a little bedroom community, and I’m already concerned for this sleepy little town’s future as it grows up. Maybe I’m a sucker for Mayberry and the good ole’ days, but I’m concerned that as every little town grows up, we’ll have traffic lights on every street corner, crime will be an issue in EVERY little town, and all these towns will melt together like they do down in and around Orlando. I am confident that improving safety conditions along 17-92 will be better for Debary residents and having a downtown area could increase home values and, who knows, maybe the business down there will help to lower Debary residents’ tax burden even further? Of course, a downtown district also gives Debary residents something to do IN Debary. Maybe the new downtown’s proximity to Debary’s massive trail system will help to encourage the locals to get outside? Maybe its proximity to the SunRail will encourage its residents to use the SunRail and skip ANOTHER car out there in the I-4 mess? What do you think? Please shoot me an email because it IS important to know what this community has to say. Watch my YouTube video on this topic.

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