State & City Attorneys’ Joint Filing on Library Bond Validation Suit

State Attorney Can Argue Motions at October 20 Hearing

State & City Attorneys’ Joint Filing on Library Bond Validation Suit

city-and-library-logo-scalesCity Attorney Kurt Ardaman reported to the Commission yesterday that Assistant State Attorney Richard Wallsh had withdrawn his motions to strike language regarding the site of the new library in the City’s bond validation suit.

Mayor Leary immediately followed with remarks directed to “media who eagerly reported about the State Attorney [filing] those motions . . . [we are] eagerly anticipating covering dismissal of those motions as well.”

City Seeks to Include Site Language in Bond Validation Complaint

The State Attorney’s motions, filed September 21, challenged the City’s request for validation of up to $30 million in bonds “for the purpose of building a municipal facility in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park” on grounds that the ballot referendum made no reference to the location. “The inclusion of the site is not a proper subject for determination by this court,” reads the State Attorney’s Motion to Strike.

State Attorney Objects to Language, Wants Separate Hearing

As part of his filing, State Attorney Wallsh requested his motions be heard at a separate hearing prior to the October 20 bond validation hearing.

City & State Attorneys Agree to Consolidate Hearings

In a subsequent meeting September 30 between State Attorney Wallsh and City Attorney Ardaman, the two attorneys agreed, in a “Joint Stipulation Regarding the State of Florida’s Motion to Vacate Order to Show Cause and Motion to Strike,” that Wallsh would withdraw his motions and his request for a separate hearing, with the stipulation that he can still make the motions at the October 20 hearing.See Document.

Motions Cannot Be ‘Dismissed’

Motions in court cannot be dismissed. They are either granted or denied, actions only a judge can take. The State Attorney’s motions and his request for a separate hearing have been withdrawn – for now. The substantive arguments of the motions can still be heard at the October 20 hearing.

In other words, nothing has changed except the schedule.

Matthew – Aftermath

Leaving Us to Pick Up After Him

Matthew – Aftermath

Matthew has come and gone, and we can only hope he stays gone.

Winter Parkers are fortunate that Matthew left nothing in his wake but a big mess. Here is how some of our neighbors were dealing with it after the storm moved north.

 

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Michael O’Donnell on Georgia Ave., making good progress.

 

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Peter, Charlee, Concetta and Maria on Via Tuscany. Peter has plans for that limb you see on the ground.

 

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Trees and Port-a-Potties Upended.

 

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Hannibal Square and Park Avenue did not go unscathed.

 

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Just look at all that parking at Trader Joe’s. You won’t see that again soon.

 

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Matthew did leave a fun, if temporary, new jungle gym at MLK Park.

 

 

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The best part of all is having good neighbors who help each other out. Thanks, Michael Vaughn and J.C. Peterson!

Photos courtesy of Kim Allen and Steven McElveen.

H-Words: ‘Heritage’ and ‘Historic’

Are They History?

H-Words: ‘Heritage’ and ‘Historic’

Winter Park’s Visioning Task force has spent more than a year coming up with a vision of how the City will grow and develop. Among the exercises the Task Force conducted was a survey in which citizens were asked what, about Winter Park, was most important to them. The results are illustrated in the graph below. “History/Heritage” beat every other descriptor hands down.
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Draft Vision Statement: No Heritage There

Yet, in the final draft of their report to the Commission, the Visioning Task Force removed the word Heritage from the city’s vision statement. Winter Park went from being “The City of Culture and Heritage” to being “The City of Arts and Culture. . . .”

Historic Districts: Ever More Difficult

Meanwhile, on March 15, after running on a one-plank platform of property rights, Peter Weldon was elected to the City Commission. Throughout his campaign, Weldon promised to undo the combined work of the Citizens Committee on Historic Preservation and the Historic Preservation Board, whose members had worked for more than a year to craft a revised Historic Preservation Ordinance. The Commission had approved the revised ordinance in November 2015.

That ordinance lasted a little more than six months. On May 23, the voting threshold for formation of an historic district was restored. The votes required went from 50 percent plus one to two-thirds. The revised ordinance makes designation of historic districts in Winter Park more difficult than in any other Florida city.

Voluntary Historic Designation ‘Encouraged’ . . .

The amended ordinance calls for the City to publish a list of properties which either carry historic designation or are located in an historic district, so that prospective buyers will have prior knowledge of what they are getting into if they purchase a house that has been designated or is located in an historic district. It also contains language about “encouraging voluntary participation.”

Toward that end, Commissioner Weldon drew up a list of six suggested encouragements, which the Historic Preservation Board (HPB) met to discuss in a June 22 work session. Proposed incentives include reducing or waiving building permit fees, waiving the fee to underground utility service, small need-based rehabilitation grants, ornamental streetlights for districts, a complicated ‘transfer of development rights’ and staff assistance with National Register applications.

But Under-funded

City Planning Director Dori Stone told the HPB there is a total of $50,000 in the City budget for historic preservation incentives. Stone stated that historic preservation, especially updating the Florida Master Site File (an inventory of properties that have been or could be designated historic) will “definitely take a back seat” to the upcoming Comprehensive Plan review.

“Words Do Matter,”

. . . one Voice reader posted on this website. And these words – history and heritage – are still important to those who call Winter Park home. At the June 27 Commission meeting, Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel called on the City to celebrate her heritage. Sprinkel was talking about citizens and their contributions to the City. “Heritage is more than a building,” she said. And to Sprinkel, Winter Park’s heritage is important and worthy of a celebration.

Another way Winter Park could celebrate her heritage is to restore the word heritage to the Winter Park Vision Statement. The final draft of Vision Winter Park will come before the Commission at its next meeting on July 11.

City staff and members of the Visioning Task Force have spent a great deal of time meeting with and listening to the citizens.

Did they hear?

The restoration of this small word, which has no fiscal impact, would carry a great deal of weight with the citizens of Winter Park.

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P&Z Upholds West Side Single-Family Zoning

P&Z Upholds West Side Single-Family Zoning

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.