Another Land Use Controversy

Another Land Use Controversy

The shouts of “save our neighborhood” by residents that feel commercial development is encroaching on their way of life continue to be heard through out Tallahassee.

The latest concerns being voiced come from neighborhoods on the southeast corner of Thomasville Road and Kerry Forest Parkway in Northeast Tallahassee.

An eight acre mostly wooded parcel which has been home to a church for years is up for rezoning to facilitate the development of a commercial center.

Property records show the parcel is currently owned by Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tallahassee, Inc.

As the picture below shows, the parcel borders two small neighborhoods, Mint Hill and St. Ives.KerryF3

The proposed application is for a non-residential mixed-use development allowing up to 25,000 square feet per acre and 200,000 square feet per parcel of commercial and office land uses.

The application states that the parameters of the development includes a 50-foot buffer along Thomasville Road and a 30-foot buffer along St. Ives Lane.

Despite these buffers, residents are concerned about the impact of the rezoning on their neighborhoods.

Signs have been placed around the neighborhood voicing opposition to the plan and an online petition has been started to mobilize forces.

So far the petition has gathered 35 signatures and 17 comments.

Concerns gleaned from the comments focus on traffic issues. For example, Abbey Derby writes:

As a St Ives homeowner, I oppose the rezoning of this parcel. I’m pretty sure my tenants will not appreciate the increase of traffic in their neighborhood. The neighborhood needs the buffer of trees from Thomasville Road to keep the noise levels down. We want St Ives to remain a calm place to take a walk where people can let their children play in the street!

St. Ives Lane. Parcel up for rezoning borders the street on the right.

And Rita Stevens adds:

We are against spot zoning which is exactly what this appears to be. The only adjacent property is a residential neighborhood which has no other outlet besides the small road which will now be shared with this shopping center. When we bought our house in St. Ives, we loved the fact that our street had one outlet. If this rezoning gets approved, the one outlet will be a detriment to our neighborhood because we will be fighting traffic just to enter our residential street. Please reconsider. Imagine if this was your neighborhood.

The petition can viewed here.

The intersection of Kerry Forest and Thomasville has become a major thorough fare in the area.

To the west, the intersection provides access to retail destinations like WalMart, Starbucks and Rummies. The road also provides access to Bull Run, Ox Bottom Manor and ultimately connects to Merdian Road.

To the east, Kerry Forest Parkway  provides access to retail businesses which includes Red Elephant, Beef O’Brady’s and El Jalisco. The road also provides access to Killearn Acres and Killearn Estates.

A similar parcel across Thomasville Road was recently developed. That commercial center includes a dentist office, a mattress store, and a space which is currently vacant.

Check back for updates.

12 Responses to "Another Land Use Controversy"

  1. This is a very one sided part of the story. Why didn’t the writer interview the church to get the full real story?

  2. I hope the Leon County Commissioner will become better informed about enforcing existing restrictions within the district. This includes enforcement of PELUC agreements, illegal removal of protected species of trees from State property, and property setback requirements. The community has grown, but DSEM cannot keep up without a corresponding increase in building inspections and staff. ” The Commissioners mission statement: ” priorities are to protect the quality of life and property values of our NE neighborhoods. To provide adequate recreational and transportation infrastructure to the growing NE community while protecting our environment and keeping our communities safe.” Quality of life is the operative phrase here.

  3. Sad to see how some of the public believes that property rights trump zoning restrictions. Well, this is probably because no rezoning has challenged their investment in property. Property Rights and Comprehensive Land Use Plans are put together to protect property owners and property values. No one has the right to change the use of his or her property at the expense of adjacent property owners. Remember your Civics courses. If you want peace with your neighbor make sure you know where their rights end and yours begin.
    That is why Tallahassee has a Comprehensive Land Use Plan, which establishes appropriate land use and zoning that will not violate or devalue any single or group of property owners for the benefit of one that wants rezoning.

  4. This is a zoneing/land use issue not a property rights issue. The property has been zoned based on a planning commission PUD. Planned unit development wich was developed in 1996 wich includes the 8 acre parcel adjacent to St.Ives and Mint Hill to be only church or residential development. The church owners certainly have the right to sell but should be within the zoning restrictions put in place 20 years ago. The homes are in many cases life long investments based on the land use and zoning. All the property owners rights should be respected not just the owners of the church property.

  5. This is another case of the neighbors having grown accustomed to hearing the birds sing in someone else’s trees. Have the St. Ives residents offered to purchase these properties for non-development and maintenance, and are they prepared to continue paying the real estate taxes and liability insurance associated with ownership?
    Property rights ought not be subject to mob rule, but continue to be vested in the OWNERS of the property.

  6. There is nothing similar about the referenced parcel on the north side of Thomasville Road. St Ives has existed for 20 or more years, whereas the Premier development behind the strip on the north side of the road only recently began to build out. Additionally, St Ives residents ingress and egress will be extremely difficult if the front parcel is redeveloped into a strip of offices and retail.
    Property owners should be able to rely on land uses which exist when they purchase and not be subject to substantial land use changes that result in a reduced quality of life and a reduction in property value and location quality.

    1. Ty: you can’t live a few yards off Thomasville and Kerry Forest and not ecpect commercial development. Cmon man. That’s why the rest of us live in residential areas.

      1. Dirk: Please imagine your nice residential home in a quiet, peaceful neighborhood and your neighbor directly across the street from you decided to sell his home to a commercial developer who then put in a Starbucks with a drive through and you would wake up every day and look out your front door and see not the front of Starbucks but the back of it with its accompanying dumpster as well as being awakened after hours for the unloading of delivery trucks. This of course is against the law. Now multiply that by 32 proposed retail and commercial storefronts. This is what St. Ives is dealing with. There is no other commercial developments that butt up against a long standing residential community anywhere along Thomasville Rd. on either side. This is spot zoning. To change the zoning to benefit one property owner to the detriment of another ( much less 50 others) is against the law.

  7. Just wondering why NOW all the complaints. It’s like dominoes. When you said ok to Walmart, CVS, ABC Liquor, Starbucks and Now the Oasis car wash – this was on inevitable. Same for the folks in Killearn Lakes that complained once Hurricanes went in.TOO MANY PEOPLE COMPLAIN AFTER THE FACT. If they wanted to buffer it, they’d of spoken before the last minute.

  8. Aaand just how many mattress stores does Tallahassee need? Why not build on the opposite corner where there is no housing just another church? Availability may be an issue but really disappointed in the destruction of the greenery! Plus over half of the old Winn Dixie plaza ( Northampton) is empty. Anyone know the phrase “Retail Ice Age”?

  9. Why would you want more commercial space at that location, when the shopping center with Beef o Brady’s and Red Elephant is not fully leased? The old Winn Dixie is still available and has been for years.

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