On the night of Tuesday, May 3, Winter Park residents spoke to the Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Board to successfully defend the single family scale and character of the Hannibal neighborhood in west Winter Park against another expensive, speculative development of high-density, multi-family units.
Developer Asks to Build Three-Story Duplexes
Attorney Becky Wilson, representing the developer, came before P&Z to request approval to develop the properties at 326 and 354 Hannibal Square East and at 465, 463 and 455 West Lyman Avenue with six three-story duplexes totaling twelve residential units.
City Planner Recommends Denial
City Planning Director Jeff Briggs, who presented the application to the P&Z, recommended P&Z deny the applicant’s request on the basis of the Comprehensive Plan, which “strongly discourages” out of scale development in neighborhoods with single family zoning.
Comp Plan: Land Use Bible?
Ensuing discussion centered more on the purpose of the Comprehensive Plan, to protect the village scale and character of Winter Park, than it did on the relative merits of the proposed development. In his recommendation for denial, Briggs referred to the Comprehensive Plan as our “land use Bible.”
That sparked a spirited response from attorney Becky Wilson, who countered that the Comp Plan was not “divinely created.”
No More Chipping Away
When the floor was opened for comment, one after another, the neighbors approached the podium, to decry the speculative development of multi-family projects that are “chipping away” at the character of the Hannibal neighborhood.
Several also displayed a detailed knowledge of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Notable among them was Bob Cambric.
Talk of Social Justice
Citizens and P&Z members both spoke of social justice. Barry Greenstein, who had worked on the staff of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in Washington, D.C., warned about discriminatory zoning practices.
P&Z Upholds the Comp Plan
The men and woman who make up the Planning & Zoning Board listened to the residents. They heard the voice of the people. They upheld the recommendation of City staff and the principals set forth in the Comprehensive Plan. They voted unanimously to deny the applicant’s request to further chip away at the essence of the Hannibal neighborhood.