Former Mayor Phil Anderson will lead new design board

The committee formed by Mayor Sheila DeCiccio will set aesthetic standards for new development in key corridors

June 19, 2024

By Beth Kassab

Former Mayor Phil Anderson will lead the new Design Guidelines Committee appointed to set the tone for new development within the districts along Park Avenue, Morse Boulevard and Orange Avenue.

The group met for the first time on Monday and Anderson noted how a number of recent projects leading up to the end of his term in April showed the need for clear standards.

A proposal by Rollins College to build faculty apartments along New England Avenue, for example, has undergone a number of revisions and architectural changes and still doesn’t have approval.

“There was a feeling that the applicant didn’t know how to view compatibility,” Anderson said. “One of the thoughts was let’s clarify what we mean and create less anxiety for some of applicants … take some of the mystery out of it about what the elected officials opinions were of what the residents want to see.”

As the new board is starting its work, the city is also in the process of hiring a town architect who will work closely with the group.

Planning & Zoning Director Allison McGillis noted that some of the guidelines haven’t been updated since 2010.

Mayor Sheila DeCiccio tasked the board with updating standards for the Central Business District, which includes Park Avenue and Hannibal Square; the Orange Avenue Overlay and Morse Boulevard.

The group will consider architectural design, building setback and other standards. Other rules such as limitations on building height are already spelled out in city code.

The other members of the board are Charley Williams, who will serve as vice chairman; Deborah Ziel; Maurizio Maso; Emily Williams and Lucy Boudet.

To start, the group plans to meet for six months, but the time will be extended if their work is not completed.

Beth Kassab is editor of the Voice.

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