On October 25 2023, the Tallahassee City Commission held a public hearing to consider a development agreement between the City and Greenpoint Developers, LLC related to the Welaunee Heel property amid concerns about a road that had previously been approved.
The Welaunee Heel Planned Unit Development (PUD) was approved by the City Commission on June 14, 2023 in a 4-1 vote with Mayor John Dailey, and City Commissioners Curtis Richardson, Dianne William-Cox, and Jeremy Matlow in favor of the PUD. City Commissioner Jack Porter voted no.
The Welaunee Heel PUD details permitted land uses, building heights, road infrastructure, and densities and intensities for the property.
The property is located north of US 90/Mahan Drive and east of Interstate 10 and is approximately 894 acres. The proposed development contains residential, office, industrial park and retail commercial uses. The agreement addresses traffic concurrency obligations, among other issues.
One public speaker noted the previously approved PUD parameters would disrupt part of the Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway property. He also noted the Greenway property is owned by the state and is not part of the Welaunee Heel property, and explained to the Commission that using the Miles Johnson road instead could be an alternative solution.
The president of Capital City Cyclist stated, “We’re concerned about the safety of cyclists and pedestrians on the Miccosukee Greenway with the development of additional roadways crossing the Greenway. Currently the Greenway is a State Conservation area, and it provides a safe place for individuals and families to cycle, walk and run in a natural green space. The spine road connection which this development would create would be highly disruptive to the Greenway users and will introduce new traffic related risks to walkers, runners, cyclists, strollers and equestrians who use the Greenway.”
The speaker asked the Commission to postpone the item to allow for more public input and then told the Commission if they were to move forward with the motion that they amend the agreement to require a traffic safety study and that the road be designed to include best practices for safe road design, speed controls and non-motorized user crossings.
However, the P.L.A.C.E. Director stated that, “The roadway crossings for these different corridors actually pre-date the establishment of the Greenway.”
City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow expressed his concern moving forward with this issue, noting it would be “insane” to entertain following through with the item. He stated, “I don’t agree with crossing the Greenway again. I think it’s going to be detrimental, not the death nail, but it’s really going to impact peoples’ enjoyment of the Miccosukee Greenway to add this road connection. I’m willing to support everything in this development agreement if we go back to the table on that crossing and say were not going to add another crossing to the Miccosukee Greenway. There’s a lot of things I disagree with, and I’m willing to swallow all of it if we bring the community in and resolve this issue.”
However, Mayor John Daily stated, “We’ve already approved this in the PUD and that’s not what we’re dealing with tonight.” The City Manager chimed in explaining that the PUD the Commission previously authorized allows for the crossing.
The development agreement says the developer will pay for the road as opposed to the City, and whether or not the development agreement is approved or not, it will not affect the Greenway crossing.
Matlow replied saying he understands what’s been done, but there can be a willingness to work with the developers while the City negotiates the development agreement and see where changes can be made. Matlow stated, “Nothing’s been built yet, no tree has come down, no stones have been unturned. This project isn’t too late to save a community asset.” He then pointed out the Commission made a huge mistake by not listening to the community who uses the Greenway sooner.
The Commission approved the Development Agreement by a vote of 3-2, with John Dailey, Diane Williams-Cox and Curtis Richardson voting in favor and Jack Porter and Jeremy Matlow voting against.