Monday, July 6, 2015

City Council Meeting This Tuesday

There will be a City Council meeting this Tuesday, July 7 at 6:00 p.m. You can find a copy of the agenda linked at the end of the article. Here is a brief description about some of the items that will be addressed at the upcoming meeting.

Property Development at Nela & Seminole

At the recent City Council Workshop on Wednesday, July 1, City Attorney Frank Kruppenbacher rendered his legal opinion on the zoning of the property at 6806 Seminole Drive. His opinion addressed only the question of the property's present zoning status. More specifically, he addressed whether the property is R-2, which would allow for medium density residential dwellings and a proposed six home gated community at the corner of Nela and Seminole.

Based on the evidence presented, Mr. Kruppenbacher believes that this lot is zoned R-2, although it appears there is still significant evidence that the lot is zoned R-1AA (which would prohibit the proposed development). Although this issue was addressed at the Wednesday workshop and is not on the upcoming meeting agenda, residents are encouraged to speak out about this property development on Tuesday if they wish to be heard.

Planning & Zoning Appeals

There are two appeals of recent P&Z rulings listed on the Tuesday meeting agenda. The first is an appeal regarding a variance granted for a reduced setback from the lake on Oak Island Road.

The second appeal regards a variance recently denied for a 51-foot high extended stay hotel in the business district south of McCoy Road and the Beachline (SR-528). The maximum building height allowed under city code is 30 feet. The hotel developer is seeking to overturn the Planning & Zoning Board's recent denial so that a high-rise hotel can be built.

These appeals will be heard by the City Council on Tuesday as de novo hearings. The council will be acting in a "quasi-judicial" role, meaning that will be acting something like a judge. However. be assured that even judges are swayed by public opinion. If you have an opinion on these issues, please be sure to complete a yellow “Request to Speak” form near the entrance. Speak up when you are called so all can hear your concerns.

Winn-Dixie Property

Although it is not on the agenda, the future of the Winn-Dixie property is an issue that has concerned many residents over the past months and years. Most recently, the City Council instituted a temporary moratorium on issuing certain types of building permits while it could evaluate the potentially negative effects of operating gas stations near residential property.

While this moratorium is in effect, the Belle Isle City Manager is responsible for gathering evidence that could support the need for a permanent ordinance prohibiting 24-hour gas stations near residential areas in Belle Isle. But until that evidence is gathered and presented to Council, the future of this proposed ordinance and the Winn-Dixie property will remain unknown. No such ordinance can be passed without an evidentiary hearing conducted by Council.

Other Agenda Items

Several "housekeeping" ordinances are on the agenda. These are basically changes to the language of our City Code to reflect that law enforcement and permitting in Belle Isle are presently perfocmed by our city departments instead of through Orange County.

However, one proposed ordinance (15-02) is of special note as it changes the method of canvassing of votes in Belle Isle city elections will be done. If passed, canvassing will be performed by the city clerk, city manager, and one city council member. If there is a county-wide election, canvassing will instead be performed by the county elections office. Although this is unlikely to cause any serious issues in the future, it is important to be especially cautious about changes to our voting process.

Please attend this Tuesday, July 7 beginning at 6:00 p.m. Citizen comments are at the beginning of the meeting, so try to be prompt! Agenda linked below:

City Council Meeting Agenda - July 7, 2015

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