Local Planning Agency Meeting Recap

From Facebook post by Linc Clay – 2/8/17

Good Morning Friends,
We had a really good turnout last night at the Local Planning Agency Public Hearing. Thanks to all of you who braved the bad weather, long lines, and 6-hour hearing. To say it was a standing-room only crowd understates the case: we ran out of standing room and City staff set up chairs in the lobby where speakers broadcast the discussion.

There were two contentious issues that brought in the large crowd: the Killearn Golf Course and the Myers Park applications. The Myers Park issue was last on the agenda, but even after our Killearn neighbors left, the room was pretty full with some folks still leaning against the wall. (It was nearing midnight at this point, and a large number of supporters had already left due to the length of the proceeding. Nevertheless, showing up for only part of the meeting had an impact in our judgment.)

There was a broad coalition of neighborhoods represented from mid-town and south-town, plus a large number of public interest groups. There was only one of our neighbors who spoke in favor of the application. (He DID NOT need security as he left, as feared by one of our planning commissioners. We are park people, and therefore reasonably peaceful….) After the staff presentation, the Friends’ report presentation, and additional citizen comment, the planning commission discussed the issue. The discussion focused on the merits of the application and issues raised by the Friends’ and citizen comments. The commission voted unanimously to recommend denial.

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This was the first battle in our fight to maintain neighborhood integrity and to retain our public land for future generations to enjoy. This fight is not over.

One of the complex planning issues raised by this case is that several of our older parks have this same “planning defect”: the land use class is Open Space while the zoning is RP-2. This is an inherent conflict. We believe the “take-away” from this experience is that our community, particularly the mid-town and south-town neighborhoods where this occurs, need to engage with the City to chart a path forward so we can resolve these “planning glitches”.

As noted above, the fight is not over. This application will still be presented to the City Commission. While the planning commission recommends denial, the City staff recommends approval.
We are not done yet. Please stay tuned as we organize for the next phase of this effort.

Thanks again for your support.
The Friends

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