City Hall to Move Next?

City Hall to Move Next?

Now that Winter Park voters are on board to pay for a brand new library, the city is cautiously considering moving city hall into the current library building.

After city staff recommended exploring the idea Monday, city commissioners called for more information about the site’s strengths and weaknesses. A staff report said the building was in “good” condition with a “fairly new” heat and air-conditioning system and energy-efficient lighting. City Manager Randy Knight also said some current city-hall functions could be moved to another site if they didn’t need to be in a prime location.

Not everyone was enthusiastic about the idea, however. Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel noted the city already knows about the existing library from the research done by the Library Facility Task Force. The task force nixed renovating the building after concluding it has too many challenges, including poor wi-fi connections and limited space and parking.

Commissioners Pete Weldon and Carolyn Cooper both stressed the importance of hearing from the public before making any decision about city hall or any other high-profile city properties valuable to residents. Cooper said it was “fiscally responsible to explore reuse of that [library] building,” but she would not support selling the property.

One staff option for city hall never made it into the discussion. Staff raised the possibility of another bond-issue to build a new city hall on the Park Avenue site, but Mayor Steve Leary said any discussion of that idea was “premature.”

Meanwhile, Winter Park’s new library seems destined to be built in Martin Luther King Jr. Park. The issue was never raised Monday except for a plea from former mayor Joe Terranova during the public-comment portion of the meeting. “You’re going to have to reconsider this,” he said, noting the close vote on the library bond issue. “You have a split community now.”

Progress Point Bid Withdrawn

Cites City Failure to Clarify Terms of Sale

Progress Point Bid Withdrawn

On February 23, ROC Seniors Housing Fund Manager, LLC, formally withdrew their offer to buy the Progress Point property to build a mixed use development consisting of an assisted living facility, a memory care unit and a restaurant.

To view notice, click here.

The Short End of the Land Swap

Progress Point – that infamous piece of land the City acquired when they traded away the State Office Building property up the road at Morse and Denning. At the junction of Orange and Denning, right beside the railroad tracks, split down the middle by a road, contaminated by heavy metal, it has sat unwanted and unloved since 2011.

For Sale Sign Goes Up April 2015

In April 2015, the City put it up for sale. They advertised in the Sentinel and on Loop Net. Thirty packets containing the Notice of Disposal (NOD) were sent to potential buyers. After 90 days, there was one response.

One Potential Buyer

A proposal was submitted by ROC Seniors for an 82 unit assisted living center with a 32-bed memory care facility and a 6,000-square-foot restaurant. The developer, represented by former Winter Park City Commissioner Phil Anderson, offered $4.5 million which, according to City records, was in keeping with a 2011 appraisal of $4.4 million.

Staff and EDAB Recommend the Project

Both City staff and the Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) recommended approval, pointing out that the development would “activate the taxable value,” adding between $71,000 – $86,000 annually to the General Fund. “Staff feels that the project meets the character of Orange Avenue,” read the Agenda Item, “promotes new jobs and creates active redevelopment along Orange Avenue.”

ROC Seniors cited several important benefits their project would bring to the City. There would be no impact on schools. The facility would provide an under-served need for seniors. The project would create greater employment opportunities than other uses and would be an attractive presence consistent with existing Orange Avenue businesses.

Price Just Went Up

On the Friday before the September 14, 2015, Commission meeting, the City received a new appraisal, which had been ordered after the NODs went out. It came in at $5.69 million. As a result, ROC Seniors came before the Commission with an offer that was nearly $1.3 million below what was now the most recent appraisal.

Leary Opposed

A lengthy discussion among the commissioners about whether the proposed use was appropriate for the Orange Avenue corridor began with Mayor Steven Leary’s unequivocal opposition to ROC Seniors’ proposed use.

 

The NOD had contained no guidelines regarding what kind of project the City would like to see there. Public comment, mostly from business owners along Orange Avenue, was heavily in opposition to the project.

ROC Meets the Price

After an acknowledgement from Mr. Anderson that ROC Seniors would meet with City staff to discuss raising their offer to meet the new price, the Commission decided to table the issue and send the question to Planning and Zoning for their opinion on an appropriate use for the  site.

How Did We Reach This Point?

How did such an unlovely site gain $1.3 million in value, you might ask. In a November 5, 2015, letter from ROC Seniors to the City, Anderson points out certain ‘assumptions’ the appraiser used in assigning the $5.69 million value.

  • The City would realign Palmetto Avenue so that it would no longer run through the middle of the property, creating one contiguous piece of land.
  • The City would deliver a “clean, clear site” by removing residual contamination.
  • The City would accommodate storm water offsite.
  • The City would approve a mixed use.

In his letter, Anderson requested the City definitively clarify the appraiser’s assumptions. He also highlighted the need of surrounding businesses, including the Jewett Clinic, for additional parking and suggested the City retain a portion of the Progress Point land for that purpose.

To view the entire letter, click here.

Bottom Line: No Progress on Progress Point

After six months of discussion between the City and ROC Seniors, the City failed to come to a clear decision. The City has not confirmed that it would complete the items on which the appraiser based his valuation, and it has not clarified what kind of use they believe would be appropriate for that site.

“No one has said they want an assisted living facility or a mixed use project on that site,” Anderson told the Voice. “And no one has said they don’t want that kind of project. It’s time for us to move on.”

Commission Okays Skinny Lots

Ignores Staff Recommendation

Commission Okays Skinny Lots

geri-2A snug row of four large homes soon will occupy what is now a vacant, tree-shaded lot on Pennsylvania Avenue. Lot frontages will average 60 feet, instead of the 75- to 85-foot minimum called for in city laws.

A majority of city commissioners at the September 28 meeting had no problem with that tight squeeze. They ignored city planners’ recommendation to deny the request and snubbed a formula that staff has used for some 30 years to come up with such positions.

Instead, commissioners agreed with their planning and zoning board’s unanimous recommendation for approval. The site’s location at the edge of a neighborhood and enthusiastic support from four nearby homeowners appeared to have swayed the advisory board more than the city’s subdivision rules, its comprehensive plan and staff’s opinion. The homeowners, who earlier had written almost identical letters of support, told the city commission they were glad to see the lot finally developed. No one spoke in opposition.

The .87-acre lot north of Tantum Avenue, owned by the Morse Genius Foundation, is more than big enough for three residential lots, but the request sought several exceptions to the rules. The applicant wanted to create room for four homes, each about 3,500-square-feet in size, to be marketed to empty nesters. Besides the narrower lots, the applicant sought a rear setback of ten feet instead of the required 15 feet to allow rear access. Rebecca Wilson, an attorney representing the applicant, noted the mixed zoning south of the site, including an industrial building, denser residential lots and the city golf course. She argued that nearby homes on Beloit Avenue had rear access and frontages less than 60 feet.

City planners said they had no choice but to recommend denial, even though by one measure the new lots exceed zoning requirements. (They will range from 9,191 to 9,985 square feet, compared to the code minimum of 8,500 square feet.) The frontages, however, would be too small by any measure, staff said. The zoning code requires 75-foot frontages in R1A areas and 85 feet for corner lots. Both the code and the comprehensive plan say a lot split should create lots consistent with homes within 500 feet.

Using a formula in practice since the mid-1980s, Planning Manager Jeff Briggs checked how well the proposal meshed with neighboring residential lots. He found a large majority of those frontages were at least 75 feet wide. The average was 69.7 feet; the median was 75 feet. Expanding the radius to include 91 homes produced similar results.

The only way for the city to approve such a deviation was through a zoning variance, said planning Director Dori Stone. “It’s not staff’s job to ask for approval of variances. It’s our job to recommend enforcement of code regulations.”

Mayor Steve Leary and Commissioners Sarah Sprinkel and Tom McMacken voted for the request, with the condition that the houses vary in appearance. Commissioners Carolyn Cooper and Greg Seidel opposed it. Concerned about large oaks on the site that might be specimen trees, Seidel asked for a tree survey, but staff said code didn’t require it. McMacken said he didn’t agree with those tree rules, “but it’s the code.”

P & Z Thwarts West Side Zoning Change

Approves Comp Plan Change for Lakeside Crossing

P & Z Thwarts West Side Zoning Change

 

Lakeside Crossing Wins More Parking

 

On June 2, Unicorp’s request to the Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Board for a Comprehensive Plan change, unlike many of their previous efforts, sailed through. Unicorp was requesting permission to add 75 parking spaces at the Lakeside Crossing project on the site of the former Mt. Vernon Inn. The additional spaces will change the garage from two to three levels, amounting to a 3.4 percent increase in Floor-Area Ratio (FAR). According to developer Chuck Whittall, half the spaces will be for Lakeside Crossing use and the other half will be for public parking.

 

Comp Plan Change to Affect 17-92 Corridor

City Planner Jeff Briggs stated that the change in the Comp Plan would apply to all developments along the 17-92 planning area. Most unusual in this context was Briggs’ smiling countenance as he enthusiastically recommended that P&Z approve the Comp Plan change. P&Z approval was unanimous.

 

 

Applicant Seeks West SideUp-Zoning

In an all-too-familiar scenario, the next applicant, land planning consultant Javier Omana, requested a zoning change for a single-family lot on West Lyman Avenue in the Hannibal Square neighborhood. Omana and his partner, Chris Hite, plan to build a single-family dwelling  and wanted the lot re-zoned from R-1 to R-2 to enable them to build a larger house. R-2 zoning would allow them to build a duplex on the property if they chose, and would allow greater square footage.

The subject property is in the middle of a block that is zoned R-1. The Comprehensive Plan specifically prohibits rezoning lots smaller than 50 by 150 feet, which this lot is. Granting the request would set the stage for other lots in that area to be up-zoned.

 

“No Multi-Family”

Omana assured city staff that he had no intention of building a duplex on the land, that he simply needed an additional 220 square feet in order to complete a two-car garage at the rear of the property. City staff and P&Z Board members suggested possible remedies for the 220-square-foot shortfall and offered to help the applicant obtain a variance, which would require no zoning change.

Omana and Hite insisted on their demand for up-zoning. As part of their justification, they presented an ‘Urban Design Plan’ for the entire neighborhood to show what the area could look like — if only the zoning were different. There was liberal use of buzz words like context, connectivity, place-making, new urbanism, and TOD (Transit Oriented Development). Omana regretted the City’s lack of “institutional and regulatory framework to allow us to do what we’re doing. However,” he said, “we appeal to the City’s sense of doing the right thing.”

Bellows Weighs In

Speaking on behalf of the applicant, developer Dan Bellows supported the application for R-2 zoning, insisting that the City “amends the Comp Plan all the time.” He failed to mention his own experience before this board, which repeatedly turned down his requests for up-zoning in the Hannibal Square neighborhood, finally resulting in a project that is compliant. The Orlando Business Journal reports that Omana has served as a consultant to Bellows on the Ravaudage project.

Neighbors Aren’t Buying

One Winter Park resident approached the podium, somewhat sheepishly admitting that this was “the most awkward way” he had ever found to meet a new neighbor. His back yard adjoins the back of the lot on which Omana plans to build. He stated that he and his wife had made a substantial investment in their home and hoped that the single-family, low-density character of the neighborhood would not be disrupted.

The remarks of Christina Hite’s son brought into sharp relief the difference in perspective between those who live in the Hannibal Square neighborhood now and those who would move in. He stated his belief that history should not be a concern, because there was really “not much there.” In his view, the block is largely empty and up-zoning would create an opportunity for others to move in to the area and improve it.

 

P&Z:“NO”

Once again, P&Z was unanimous in their decision, this time to deny. Tom Sacha argued for maintaining current zoning, citing previous attempts to change the zoning. In each case, the applicants eventually came back with plans that fit within current zoning requirements. While Sacha did not name the applicants, it was clear that at least one project he referred to had been proposed by Dan Bellows.

Pete Weldon summed up the board’s stance in the interest of the City. “The City should be patient,” he said. “It shouldn’t be stubborn and it shouldn’t be dogmatic, but it should be patient. I don’t see anything here that says we should become less patient than we are.”


Bank on Fast-Track to Develop WP Gateway

Fifth Third Coming Soon to Aloma/Lakemont

Bank on Fast-Track to Develop WP Gateway

In a move that has some asking, “What’s the rush?” on April 7 the Planning & Zoning Board unanimously approved Fifth Third Bank’s application to develop the northwest corner of Aloma and Lakemont– without having seen final plans for the new project.

 

The Bank requested P & Z to grant both preliminary and final conditional use approvals at the single April 7 meeting. Neighboring residents expressed concern that they had received notice of the meeting only 10 days prior.

P&Z Fast Tracks Fifth Third

The rationale for fast-tracking the project stems from the fact that Fifth Third Bank’s lease on their current Aloma location next to the Mellow Mushroom expires soon.

Bank + Office Building Slated for Aloma

Plans for the new Fifth Third branch on Aloma and Lakemont includea free-standing commercial office building in addition to the new bank branch with drive-through lanes. The combined square footage of the projects will be just over 9,200 square feet and will be built on five combined parcels, one of which is currently zoned R1-A (single-family residential).The others are all zoned commercial.Despite this, there never has been a significantcommercial presence at this location.

In order to build the project, the bank sought conditional use approval for the drive-through lanes plusa Comprehensive Plan amendment and rezoning of the single family lot from R-1A to parking lot (PL). A portion of the rezoned lot willprovide four additional parking spaces and the rest will serve as a retention pond. The R1-A lot abuts three single-family homes on Edwin Blvd.

17-92 Branch Stands Idle

Ironically, Fifth Third owns another Winter Park location in the old K-Mart Plaza across from Winter Park Village which has full signage and completed drive-through lanes – and which currently stands idle and empty. When one resident inquired of bank representatives when they planned to open that branch, the representativesavoided answering the question.

City Recommends Approval

According to the city staff report, all previous applications to develop this corner were denied as too intrusive on surrounding residents.In their report, staff recommended approval of Fifth Third’s application,acknowledging that while there was “no enthusiasm for a bank with drive-though lanes” at this location, the proposed development is significantly smaller than what might be permitted on the 1.25-acre site. Briggs said he thought families in the three homes bordering the residential lot might find a retention pond and parking lot preferable to another single family home.

Neighbors attending the meeting raised concerns about traffic, lighting (especially night time bleeding of light), noise and landscaping. Others opposed the necessity to amend the Comprehensive Plan and rezonethe residential lot. One neighbor who owns an adjoining commercial lot currently for sale supported the project. .

Resident Suggests Green Space

Ann Hicks Murrah suggested the property be developed as greenspace –perhaps bearing the name of her late husband, philanthropist Kenneth Murrah.

Fifth Third Goes to Commission April 27

The P&Z Board dismissed citizens’ reservations about increased traffic. Board member Peter Weldon said that any traffic concerns would have to be addressed by the City after the project is built, once the effects can be evaluated.

Fifth Third Bank had commissioned their own traffic study, which supported their contention that the project would produce almost no new traffic. Bank representatives explained that since Florida law governs lighting requirements for banks, citizens’ concerns about night time light-bleed were subordinate to the safety and security of the financial institution.

The P&Z Board instructed Fifth Third Bank to make several changes intended to address residents’ concerns, but granted final approval without the board or the residents seeing any final plans.The City Commission will take up the bank’s application at their April 27th meeting.

North - South Corridor Development

Further Update and Clarification

North – South Corridor Development

The Voice received queries, both from readers and from the City, regarding the Transit Oriented Density Update published March 9. The report is a snapshot of this place at this time. The data gathered includes the north-south corridor along 17-92 and vicinity from Reagan Center (Flea World) to downtown Orlando.  The attached chart [click here] shows that the Voice understated the number of units originally reported.

Revised numbers include The ‘Yard at Ivanhoe,’ which has modified their plans from 585 to 630 apartments.  Three additional projects not included in the original tally are ‘SkyHouse’ – 320 apartments, ‘Artisan 420’ – 299 apartments, and ‘Citi Towers,’– 235 apartments.  It is important to note, projects that do not currently have a number of units assigned are placeholders for possible future development.

While every effort is made to confirm the accuracy of this information, by their nature, real estate transactions are always in flux.  Orange and Seminole county property appraiser records, construction company reports, architectural portfolios, real estate company announcements, company web sites, local and national media reports and design team participants all were sourced in the making of this story.

The Voice will continue to follow development along this corridor and will bring you periodic updates.

North - South Corridor Development

Further Update and Clarification

North – South Corridor Development

 

The Voice received queries, both from readers and from the City, regarding the Transit Oriented Density Update published March 9. The report is a snapshot of this place at this time. The data gathered includes the north-south corridor along 17-92 and vicinity from Reagan Center (Flea World) to downtown Orlando.  The attached chart [click here] shows that the Voice understated the number of units originally reported.

Revised numbers include The ‘Yard at Ivanhoe,’ which has modified their plans from 585 to 630 apartments.  Three additional projects not included in the original tally are ‘SkyHouse’ – 320 apartments, ‘Artisan 420’ – 299 apartments, and ‘Citi Towers,’– 235 apartments.  It is important to note, projects that do not currently have a number of units assigned are placeholders for possible future development.

While every effort is made to confirm the accuracy of this information, by their nature, real estate transactions are always in flux.  Orange and Seminole county property appraiser records, construction company reports, architectural portfolios, real estate company announcements, company web sites, local and national media reports and design team participants all were sourced in the making of this story.

The Voice will continue to follow development along thiscorridor and will bring you periodic updates.

Transit Oriented Density

See What’s Planned in Orange and Seminole Counties

Transit Oriented Density

 

As the mayor and commissioner hopefuls near the finish line, Winter Park mailboxes are stuffed to the gills with flyers and the buzz is one everyone’s lips. Winter Park readers awoke Friday, March 6, to a Sentinel story headlined, “Development  sits at core of Winter Park mayor race.”

Mackinnon Favors Re-development in WP

In this article, Cynthia Mackinnon told the Sentinel that she is “very much in favor of re-development in Winter Park . . . But we do not have to change the rules in order to attract high-end development.”

Leary Pushes Transit Corridor Plans

The Sentinel quoted Steve Leary as saying, “I’ve got experience managing development . . . and I’ve been the one pushing plans the transit corridor.”

The Winter Park Voice has teamed up with the Property Appraisers Offices of Orange and Seminole Counties to compile an update on construction currently in the pipeline for the aforementioned “transit corridor” – that is, 17-92 and vicinity.

See What’s Headed Our Way

The maps of developments that are coming our way were compiled by Kirt Thomas, CCF, of the Orange County Property Appraiser’s office, and Sara Hunsinger, Customer Service Project Specialist of the Seminole County Property Appraiser.

For links to the Orange County and Seminole County maps, click here :

[ ORANGE] and [ SEMINOLE] 

 

10,000 Apartments Planned

The maps show that in the two counties combined, there are more than 10,000 apartments either planned or already built in the 17-92 corridor between Flea World/Reagan Center and Downtown Orlando. This is the “transit corridor” that is being pushed by Mr. Leary, whose campaign has been generously fueled by development dollars. Click the link below for campaign finance reports.

Nearly Half the Projects Are in Winter Park

The Orange County map shows that 18 projects – close to half – are located in Winter Park. Of those, ten are residential, representing approximately 700 units.

The rest of the units, both north and south of Winter Park, will eventually shelter people who will drive through Winter Park. They will likely begin driving through Winter Park about the time I-4 begins its lengthy, “Ultimate” reconstruction.

 

Special Election 2015 Section in The Voice


To see full candidate profiles, interviews, filings, positions on various issues and other stories as they are published, click on the “Election 2015” button >  

Campaign Treasurer’s Reports can be found on the City of Winter Park website at http://cityofwinterpark.org/government/city-info/election-info/financial-reports/

P&Z Nixes Assisted Living Facility

Building Too Big for the Pumpkin Patch

P&Z Nixes Assisted Living Facility

On December 2, the Planning & Zoning Board met before a standing-room-only crowd of St. John’s Lutheran Church parishioners and other Winter Park neighbors to hear the application of Sentio Investments LLC to build a 73,000 square foot Assisted Living Facility (ALF) on 1.88 acres fronting 17-92. The vacant acreage hosts the Halloween pumpkin sale each year and is known locally as the Pumpkin Patch.

St. John’s Faces Hard Times

In recent years, St. John’s has fallen on hard times financially and is facing the necessity to sell the adjacent land facing Hwy 17-92. According to City Planning Manager Jeff Briggs, the ALF proposed by Sentio, “per square foot, for the property it’s on, would be the largest building, at 90 percent floor area ratio, [on the entire Winter Park section of the] 17-92 corridor.”

Winter Park resident Wendy Anderson, President of the St. John’s Church Council, told P&Z that the church has “a very large mortgage which we frankly cannot afford. If we cannot sell this property, there is a good likelihood that St. John’s will close its doors.”

“No More Monsters”

Many residents of the Mead Gardens community were present to oppose the project. One concern was the amount of cut-through traffic, which would be added to traffic already clogging the area as a result of commuter rail and the density of development along both 17-92 and Denning. Another concern was the sheer size of the proposed building, which far exceeded anything currently allowed under the existing zoning.

Using the location to build a facility for assisted living and memory care did not pose much of an issue. Though church spokesmen said the use would be compatible with the mission of the church, they acknowledged that the proposed ALF was a for-profit enterprise and was in no way faith-based.

Residents Speak Out

Winter Park resident Sara Brady spoke for many of her neighbors when she stated that while they were not opposed to development or to the church selling the land, “We want smart, compatible development.” 

P&Z Denial Unanimous

When the chairman closed the floor for public comment, P&Z Board Member Peter Weldon spoke first.  He said he respected the situation in which the church found itself. However, “What’s before us is not the condition of the church,” he said, but questions of land use policy. He stated that he would not be opposed to a similar project at that location, but one that was much smaller. “I’m going to vote no,” he concluded.

Board Member Tom Sacha pointed out that over preceding months, P&Z has set a precedent with other developers who came before them asking to put large structures on land previously zoned for low-density single family dwellings. P&Z has denied those developers on grounds that if they acquired land with a particular zoning, the new projects should fit within the existing zoning. Sacha, too, voted against the Sentio proposal.

The rest of the board members followed suit, and Sentio’s request failed on a unanimous No vote.

Change in Development Rule Likely

Downtown Core and Wetlands at Risk

Change in Development Rule Likely

 

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Comes now a tale, wonky and dry as a bone, about a seemingly simple piece of bureaucracy that could forever alter the face of Winter Park. You may want to wade through these words to find out how Monday’s vote could affect the city.

 

Rules Change Proposed for Downtown & Wetlands Development

City commissioners appear poised to change the rules for approving buildings in wetlands and in the core of downtown. A commission hearing at 3:30 p.m. Monday will consider eliminating the current requirement of a 4-1 super-majority vote to allow downtown and wetlands development, reducing the requirement to a simple majority of 3-2 votes.

The proposed change may appear minor compared to votes on looming projects such as the huge Ravaudage development. Arguably, however, it could have long-term effects.

Vote Requirement Change from 4-1 to 3-2

If it is approved, developers who want to build three-story buildings downtown would need to win over only three commissioners instead of four. The same would hold true for someone wanting to build in the city’s floodplain between Lake Sue and Lake Virginia and those north of Lake Maitland. The current city commission often votes 3-2 in favor of development, with Mayor Ken Bradley and Commissioners Steve Leary and Sarah Sprinkel voting in the majority.

Historically, Winter Park has held the line on tall buildings and wetlands construction. The super-majority requirement was a safeguard to ensure that proposals for downtown and wetlands developments have broad community support.

City Staff: Change Would Bring ‘Consistency’ 

Most of the current commissioners, however, have little love for 4-1 votes. It stripped most of them from its books after City Attorney Larry Brown issued an opinion that they conflicted with the city charter. Brown said a better way to handle concerns about development would be to word land-use policies more strongly. No such stronger language is under consideration, however.

Left on the books at the time were the requirements for 4-1 votes dealing with wetlands and downtown. Brown said those conditional-use votes did not conflict with the charter. But at the October 13 commission meeting, City Planner Jeff Briggs said their removal would bring “consistency” to the code.

Cooper: “There May Be Times a 4-1 Vote is Desirable”

Most commissioners said they liked that idea, but Commissioner Carolyn Cooper opposed it because she said there may be times a four-vote majority is desired. As a compromise, Commissioner Tom McMacken proposed toughening those reviews by increasing the number of public hearings required from one to two. 

P&Z Shoots Down McMacken Compromise

The Planning & Zoning board, however, on October 28 unanimously recommended against that change. Advisory board members said two hearings would run “counter to the city’s desire to streamline the development review process” and would delay some requests. 

 

Mayoral Candidates: Lukewarm Toward Super-majority Votes

In interviews with the Voice, neither Cynthia Mackinnon nor Commissioner Steve Leary, the two candidates in the current mayoral race, expressed enthusiasm for super-majority votes. Mackinnon noted they “are relatively rare,” but added she was “not in favor doing a bunch of piecemeal changes” related to land use before the city finishes its upcoming visioning process. “To me, the best approach to any changes in the code is to finish the visioning first,” she said.

Commissioner Leary dismissed the idea that a simple majority vote could make it easier for development to occur in wetlands and downtown. “It’s never as simple as, if you’re doing this, you’re making it easier,” he said. “I don’t believe it’s going to be an issue.”

Monday’s vote is the first of two. The second and final hearing on whether to eliminate the super-majority vote is likely to be held in December.

 

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