Library Concept Clears Another Hurdle

Voters Will Decide March 2016

Library Concept Clears Another Hurdle

library concept drawing

At the November 9 Commission meeting, City staff brought forward a draft ordinance with referendum language asking Winter Park voters to approve a bond not to exceed $30 million, to be paid back over a period of 20 years, for the purpose of building a combined library — civic center complex. The referendum will appear on the March 15, 2016, ballot.

According to City Manager Randy Knight, the financial impact on each property owner will amount to $49 per year per $100,000 of assessed valuation. Assuming the average value of a home in Winter Park is around $400,000, the owner of that home would pay, at most, an additional $196 per year in property taxes.

Nov. 23 – Second Reading

Adoption of the ordinance requires two readings. The second and final reading will be at the November 23 Commission meeting.

If the Winter Park voters decide in March to build a combined library – civic center complex, it will in all likelihood be located on Morse Blvd. at the site of the present Rachel Murrah Civic Center.

ACi Design — Purely Conceptual

John Cunningham, design partner of the consulting architectural firm ACi, presented the report to the Commission October 26, and the Commission voted unanimous approval at that meeting. The report was based on more than a year’s study, dozens of task force meetings, eight public forums and countless individual meetings with Winter Park citizens. Cunningham stressed that the report describes a concept for a new combined library and civic center. The actual building design will be determined by the architectural firm hired by the city if the referendum passes.

Innovative Public Input

hand drawingElements of ACi’s conceptual design are rooted in ideas that emerged during public workshops August 22 – 23. Some of the most innovative of these came from children who accompanied their parents. At right, a Winter Park fourth grader suggests a nap area where small children can sleep while their mothers read or study.

Another fourth grader describes a library with “Relaxing, calm, and soothing areas to quietly read and let your imagination take the words from the book and make it into something amazing.” 

Commission Moves to Adopt Historic Preservation Ordinance

Final Decision Due in December

Commission Moves to Adopt Historic Preservation Ordinance

At last night’s Commission meeting, a standing-room-only crowd hung in there for nearly seven hours while the Commissioners hammered out a compromise version amending Chapter 58 “Land Development Code” Article VIII, “Historic Preservation.” The main motion, to adopt the revised ordinance, passed on a 3 – 2 vote, with Commissioners Seidel, Cooper and McMacken voting in favor and Commissioner Sprinkel and Mayor Leary voting against.

Eleven Amendments

This was the first First Reading of the Historic Preservation Ordinance (yes, you read that right; there will be another First Reading –- more on that later). Of the dizzying array of 18 proposed amendments, 11 passed.

Historic District Requires 50 Percent Plus One

Of particular note, the threshold for formation of an historic district was lowered from 67 percent of homeowners in the proposed district – or 58 percent, depending upon which version you read — to fifty percent plus one. The minimum number of homes required to form an historic district will be 12.

Second First Reading Nov. 23

City Attorney Kurt Ardaman advised that the number of substantive changes to the ordinance necessitates a second First Reading of the ordinance, reflecting last night’s changes. The next First Reading will be Monday, November 23. At that meeting, the Commission will also discuss recommended incentives for Historic Preservation, a discussion that was tabled at last night’s meeting due to time constraints.

Second Reading Dec. 14, Probably

Because November 23 will also be a First Reading, a re-run of last night’s amendment marathon is possible. In that case, there could conceivably be a third First Reading. If the revised ordinance survives the second First Reading more or less intact, however, there will be a Second Reading at the December 14 Commission meeting. The Second Reading will determine the final outcome.

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