City of Tallahassee officials showed up to the clubhouse at the Summerbrooke golf course with a plan to discuss the Tallahassee-Leon County Comprehensive plan moving forward.
The citizens that showed up had another plan.
The approximately 30 concerned citizens that showed up wanted to discuss the development that was recently approved by the Leon County Commission at the intersection of Bull Headley and Bannerman Road.
The city officials facilitating the workshop divided the attendees into three groups. The report that follows is based on the discussion in one group.
Citizens were asking how the project, which was zoned for high density residential and commercial development, could be approved without constructive input from residents.
Once the group understood the vote to allow the specifics of the development took place in 2015, the citizens turned to addressing concerns about the process.
First, citizens complained about communication between local government and the neighborhoods around the proposed development.
The local officials present at the meeting said proper notice was provided in 2015, however, specific questions to the officials about the communication remained unanswered.
The citizens clearly felt they were not properly informed about the ramifications of the proposed development.
Second, citizens asked about the capability of the surrounding infrastructure to handle the new development. Specifically, the citizens were concerned about traffic on Bannerman Road.
One attendee asked “how congested do roads have to be before development is not approved”?
Others thought improvements to Bannerman Road should take place before the development moves forward.
Complaints about traffic on the two-lane Bannerman Road have become more frequent over the last year and focuses on the late afternoon traffic headed west from Thomasville Road.
Developers of the project, who were present at the meeting, told the group that they had followed the rules laid out in the Tallahassee-Leon County Comprehensive Plan.
The developers agreed that better communication by local government is key to alleviating the distrust between the parties involved.
A common view by some at the meeting was that the current process results in pitting developers against neighborhoods when very little can be changed by elected officials.