Below are the news briefs from the Leon County Commission meeting that took place on October 11, 2022.
One of the first agenda items the commission heard was the first and only public hearing on approving the Cawthon Multi-Family site development for northeast Tallahassee. As Tallahassee Reports previously reported, an apartment complex is going in adjacent to the current Publix development at Bannerman Road and Bull Headley Road.
Public comments noted environmental concerns related to Lake Iamonia, traffic concerns for Bannerman Road, and in general, how things like the community and schools are not prepared to handle a higher population density.
Commissioner Brian Welch said that he is confident that the “development review has gone through the county’s processes, they are extensive, they are thorough, Barry Wilcox and his staff, and our staff, they make sure the developers are held accountable to what they are entitled to.”
Commissioner Kristin Dozier said that despite the northeast not historically having apartment complexes, she insinuated that a larger conversation needs to be had regarding growth in the historically residential northeast when housing in Leon County is strained.
Commission Chairman Bill Proctor deferred to Welch’s leadership to possibly develop a new revised management plan for Lake Iamonia.
The commissioners considered an agenda item entitled “Overview of Local Ordinances that Require Rent Increase Notification to Certain Residential Tenants, and that Allow Such Tenants to be Released from their Residential Leases, Without Penalty, in Certain Circumstances.”
The bulk of the conversation centered around Commission Chairman Proctor asking “Is it right, fair, … for renters to receive notice within 60 days, or 30 days, or 15 days, if rent increases will occur at the expiration of their lease agreement. That’s the question. Y’all looking at stuff that ain’t got nothing to do with the question. Isn’t this question about notice if you’re going up on rent?”
It was noted during the conversation that according to Florida TaxWatch, rent in Leon County has gone up 15 percent in recent years. Proctor continued his comments by saying:
“What we have to give is an opinion about the number of days for notice if we believe the landlord should give tenants. And you’re right, Commissioner Minor, folks done got jacked up all over the city and ever since President Biden told folks they didn’t have to… or suspend their rent payment, landlords across America have come back with a vengeance because they were under some communist regime that they were told ‘You can’t get your money. And it’s been hell to pay ever since President Biden did this.”
Proctor then said maybe the commission needs to have a conversation about rent control.
In the end, the commission approved a motion to research demographic information into who is dealing with the gravest rent increases in Leon County.
During the public hearing portion, numerous citizens from the Fort Braden community expressed their opposition to renaming the Fort Braden Community Center after the recently passed Commissioner Jimbo Jackson. The citizens expressed their deep appreciation and friendship for Jackson and for his service to the community at Fort Braden School and on the commission board, but they felt, given the history of the community and the community center, for it to remain as is.
The commission, after the comments from the citizens, said they could put a pause on a new sign at the Community Center with Jackson’s name on it until District 2 has an elected representative on the board after the November election.
The full meeting can be viewed here.