It seems another developer is doing his best to convince the City Commission that the density code should be relaxed so that the parcel of land at Lime and 14th Street can go from under 50 units to more than 200 with some commercial space added in for good measure. All because the bank – that isn’t even local – who owns the property is trying to make good on a bad investment. And the City Commission is buying into it.
We fought this same issue for this same parcel against this same bank with a different Commission last year. And we won. But this current Commission seems to think it knows better. Is it succumbing to the old ploy “jobs, jobs, jobs” and more property tax revenue?
I heard one say “It’s better than a used car lot.” But really is it? (And considering the wetlands on the property could a used car lot be put there?)
Pat Foster Turley wrote: “The proposed change to our Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code is to allow developers to count the total area of their parcels, to avoid the non-permissible building on the wetlands portion, but to increase the density allowable on the remaining part of the parcel, the uplands. And this will apply to all parcels with wetlands in the City, and will also apply to additional land that may be annexed into the City in the future. Take Crane Island for instance. Under existing codes 169 houses are permitted; these new rules would increase this to 1080 houses! We are not just talking about some parcels on Lime and 14th, we are talking about all future development in our City.”
Some will argue this isn’t true. But we know better. We’ve seen it before. This change does not only affect wetlands, it affects the overall and growing density of the human population on the island. It affects our precious maritime forest and canopy as more trees are cut. It affects our birds and their habitats reducing their species on our island. It brings more concrete and retention ponds. On a practical level, it makes evacuation of the island far more difficult. Yet at the first reading of this ordinance our Commission passed the new Code changes at a vote of 4 to 1.
This Tuesday, August 16, at 6:00 PM at City Hall, a second and final reading will be held on this proposal to loosen our Comp Plan’s restrictions against over-development. Please contact Commissioners — http://www.fbfl.us/index.aspx?NID=842 — and urge them to vote against this change. Attend the meeting if you can. The Commission does respond when large numbers of voices SPEAK OUT. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD.