Mayor Announces Comp Plan Task Force
Comp Plan Review in 2016
In the closing minutes of the May 23 Commission Meeting, Mayor Steve Leary announced the formation of a three-member Comprehensive Plan Task Force. Leary explained the purpose of the task force is to “help [staff] synthesize all the information from the advisory boards and to keep [the review process] on schedule.”
Comp Plan Task Force
Named to the task force are Nancy Miles, Marc Reicher and Laura Turner.
Reicher served as chair of the Economic Development Advisory Board. Laura Turner is a certified city planner who has also served on Winter Park advisory boards. Nancy Miles served on the Tennis Advisory Board and the Library Task Force.
Comp Plan: How We Grow
The Comprehensive Plan is the blueprint for how the City develops and grows over the years. The City reviews the plan every seven years and makes a formal report to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). The plan was last updated in 2009, so is due for review in 2016.
City May Choose to Update Comp Plan – or Not
According to the DEO, the state agency that oversees Comp Plan reviews, the City may “determine whether the need exists to amend the comprehensive plan to reflect changes in state requirements since the last time the comprehensive plan was updated.” The DEO website notes that Florida has relaxed its regulations to afford local governments “more discretion” in determining whether they need to update their comp plans.
WP Review to be Public Process
City Communications Director Clarissa Howard told the Voice that the Winter Park Comp Plan review, “. . . will be a thorough public process to review each element [and] will involve the input and analysis of city staff, advisory boards and residents. The city will offer a variety of opportunities for public participation at advisory board meetings, special public workshops and City Commission meetings.”
City to Publish Comp Plan News
“All dates, locations and times will be posted on the Comp Plan page of the city website at www.cityofwinterpark.org/comp-plan,” Howard wrote.
Howard also noted that information will be emailed regularly to those who sign up for the Comp Plan email subscription at www.cityofwinterpark.org/citEnews.
Here we go again.
All anybody has to do to predict what the final outcome of any “study” in this town will be is research the background of the “task force” members appointed by the mayor. Remember when Mayor Ken Bradley first appointed the library “task force?” And then about midway through, he got nervous that it wasn’t stacked enough in favor of a new library so he kept adding additional “representatives” of various “groups” that were “important” to “Winter Park?”
Now we have Reicher, a long time real estate developer, Turner who has a planning business, and Miles who proved to be an effective ally of Leary’s on the library task force. And we’re supposed to believe this “task force” is “representative” of 30,000 Winter Park residents?
Here’s how we can imagine the final report might read: “Winter Park’s Comp Plan is woefully outdated, and urgently needs modernization to preserve our sense of community. We must all work together as a community to ensure that a balance exists between historic preservation and the needs of our people. To do this, we recommend 1) Increasing maximum building heights, 2) Increasing FAR ratios, 3) Allowing more flexibility to convert single family residential zoning to multi-family zoning, 4) Utilize heavy fines as a tool to intimidate homeowners to sell their older homes to developers, 5) Designate MLK Park as “raw land suitable for high density development,” 6) Partner with Rollins College to convert as many downtown buildings to College buildings as possible, 7) Build at least one new $450 million City building (because Buddy Dyer did and we don’t want to be outdone by Orlando), 8) Create additional City ordinances to increase rents on Park Avenue and get the City Communications Department to come up with some flowery wording about it “protecting the character of Park Avenue,” 9) Amend the City Charter to stop any more concerned citizens from circulating any more petitions to save Winter Park. 10) Move the library to MLK Park, the hospital to Winter Park Village, Winter Park Village to the hospital. Then move City Hall to the library, The Alfond to Calvary Assembly, Calvary Assembly to St. Margaret Mary, St. Margaret Mary to Central Park, Central Park to Rollins College, Rollins College to The Via’s, The Via’s to Lake Sue, Lake Sue to Lake Virginia, and move Lake Virginia to The Mayflower. This will ensure that Winter Park is a world class 21st century city. Pay no attention to those conspiracy theorists who say that these changes to the Comp Plan are just to make the mayor and his friends more money. They are only seeking to divide our community and thwart the will of the people. Instead, let’s all come together as a community and unite behind these Comp Plan changes for the good of our children and our children’s children.