Visioning Initiative Introduced

From Facebook post by Linc Clay – 3/1/2017

Good Afternoon Neighbors,
Several us of had the pleasure of attending the Woodland Drives NA annual meeting last night. The original agenda had been a review of the our combined LPA presentation. Since the comp plan amendment had been withdrawn, Commissioner Ziffer was invited to speak. He presented a proposed path forward to address the parks parcel.

Here is a synopsis of his remarks and the proposal.
– Mr. Ziffer first stated that he regretted that we had come to loggerheads and the commission was not fully aware of the evolving issue. The LPA meeting raised a “red flag” (pun intended).
– Mr. Ziffer also noted that the small group with whom he met several times made it clear that they were representing only themselves and not the neighborhoods at large.
– He provided some background on the issue, how it evolved, and the process in a general sense.

– He stated that as of this moment, we are back at the beginning of a discussion. The situation is the following:
– – The City believes the Parks and Recreation staff can be more efficiently housed in a different location.
– -The City is unsure of the structural state of the Trull complex, but we do know it is older construction, is not energy-efficient, and may have other issues as well.
– – Mr. Ziffer suggested an independent building assessment is needed to determine the state of the complex.
– – Once the staff moves out, what happens to the building and land is not known at this time.
– – Mr. Ziffer stressed that like it or not, Tallahassee is growing and is expected to grow significantly. Urban infill is necessary to accommodate this growth because the city is constrained to the north and east by the plantations in conservation easements and to the south and west by national forest. Additionally, infill is better for the environment as it reduces the reliance on cars and does not require an ever-increase extension outward of infrastructure. This parcel is special because it is public land, but infill has to occur.
– – There is one idea that has been suggested, it is the Progress Pediatric’s idea of a supportive facility on the site. However, Mr. Ziffer stressed this is simply “an idea” at this point and nothing more. (Progressive is evaluating other sites that may be better suited around town as well.)

– Mr. Ziffer suggested goal of working together would be to:
– – Determine the highest and best use of the parks parcel, and
– – Develop a durable solution so that we are not faced with the same land use issue 5 to 10 years in the future.

– At this point Mary Frederick opened the floor for questions. Questions were answered and opinions given on the comp plan amendment process, the Progressive proposal, working with the City, and the public land aspect of this case.

– After about an hour of questions and opinions, someone asked “how do we solve the problem?”
– Mr. Ziffer proposed that a small work group be formed to gather ideas and build a consensus on the best idea(s). While stressing that he could not guarantee results, he is guaranteeing that he will present the group’s conclusion to his fellow commissioners. He proposed the work group be composed of
– – three members from Woodland Drives/Myers Park (most affected neighborhoods)
– – one from Indianhead-Lehigh (affected neighborhood)
– – one from Betton Hills (to include another mid-town neighborhood)
– – one from DOT (due to the railroad and bike/ped opportunities)
– – one from Parks & Recreation (for obvious reasons)
– – one from City planning (due to the land use/zoning impacts)
– – Mr. Ziffer would facilitate and serve as chairman
– There were several questions and opinions about the proposed work group, but overall the group agreed that this approach was a very good way to proceed.
– One suggestion that was embraced by nearly all was the concept of the neighborhoods conducting a “visioning” workshop early in the process to tease out the range of ideas and options attractive to the neighborhoods.
– Regarding a timeline, Mr. Ziffer hoped that a consensus would be reached by June so that any budgeting issues could be addressed at the City’s budget workshop held in the summer.

– The meeting then turned to Woodland Drives business.

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