Residents in the 4,000 home Killearn Estates neighborhood recently received a questionnaire from the Killearn Homeowners Association (KHA) asking how they would like the Association to move forward with regards to the redevelopment of the land that was previously a nine hole golf course. The current owner is seeking a zoning change from the City of Tallahassee that will make it easier to develop.
The options outlined by KHA include mediation, legal intervention, and buying the golf course from the current owner.
However, if you have been watching the City Commission’s recent actions with regards to neighborhood zoning issues you would conclude input from neighborhood residents really does not matter!
Consider these recent votes.
First, there was the move by the City Commission to develop 10 acres of City owned land that is located between Myers Park and Cascades Park. The land is the current home to the City’s neighborhood and park administration offices.
However, out of nowhere, an issue about noise impacts on the Myers Park neighborhood turned into a debate over a potential development.
How did this happen? An unidentified developer told a City staffer that he would be interested in purchasing the property. That was enough for the City staffer to present the option to the City Commission.
Despite pleas by Myers Park residents, the City Commission voted 4-1 (Commissioner Richardson voted against) to move forward with the potential development.
More recently, the City Commission sided with a developer involving a multi-family project on the soutside. The 3-2 vote occurred despite objections from the City’s own Planning Commission and impacted residents.
Mayor Gillum and Commissioner Richardson voted against the request. Commissioners Maddox, Miller, and Ziffer supported the project.
Consider the process that took place for this development.
A developer asked the City’s Planning Commission to change the zoning of a 30 acre parcel located off of Ridge Road on the southside of town from 8 units per acre to 18 units per acre to accommodate a four story multi-family dwelling. When the developer bought the property in 2007, the zoning allowed 8 units per acre.
Residents of the crime ridden section of town complained the development would only increase problems in the area and would do nothing to promote responsible home ownership.
The Planning Commission agreed and denied the request. The Planning Commission told the developer to alter the plan and come back for another review. The developer said no thanks, I will just go before the City Commission.
This past month, a number of residents showed up at the City Commission meeting to fight the development. Representatives from two homeowner associations with over 200 residents spoke against the project.
However, three City Commissioners voted to ignore the the Planning Commission and the concerns of residents.
It would be wise for residents of Killearn Estates to take note of the recent actions by City Commissioners which demonstrates no respect for the planning process or for the concerns of people most affected by developers who want to change the character of a neighborhood.