Despite protests from neighborhood associations, the Leon County Commission unanimously voted to move forward with the Brookside Village residential development off of Ox Bottom Road.
Tallahassee Reports previously reported that the neighborhood associations for Ox Bottom Manor and Moore Pond filed a petition to challenge the Brookside Village development that was approved by the Leon County Development Review Committee.
The Brookside Village development is a proposed 61-lot single-family detached residential subdivision on the upland portion of the 35 +/- acre parcel with environmentally sensitive areas being contained within a conservation easement.
Lot sizes range from 0.14 acres to 0.42 acres, with two larger lots of 2.00 acres and 2.19 acres being proposed adjacent to Heartland Circle.
One of the arguments put forth by neighborhood representatives in the court filing, and before the county commission, was that the proposed density is not compatible with the bordering neighborhoods.
The court filing notes that the density of Brookside Village is 3.3 times higher than Ox Bottom Manor and 14 times higher than Moore Pond.
However, according to the developer and other planning officials, density is judged by “gross density”, not “net density.” This interpretation of the rules allowed for the inclusion of a conservation area when calculating density. The validity of this approach was verified by a state judge and accepted by the county commission.
In addition to planning issues, the political influence of the developer, Steve Ghazvini, was raised at the meeting.
Ryan Andrews, a local attorney said that “Through his companies …. he’s made many donations to a lot of your campaigns. Including Commissioner Dozier. On October 27th 2017 Commissioner Dozier received 16 checks totaling $4,000 as a donation to her campaign. I’m uncomfortable knowing that Commissioner Dozier may have a vote today.”
This was first reported by WCTV.
A county attorney informed commissioners and the public that the donations did not present a conflict of interest and Commissioner Dozier did not need to recuse herself from the vote.
Ghazvini, who has developed a number of projects in Tallahassee, told the county commission that “we’ve changed a lot of things based on their comments. Everything that we have done either meets or exceeds your requirements.”