Public Hearing dates for Proposed Changes in Rural Zoning
July 8, 6:00 pm & September 2, 6:00 pm
County Courthouse, 5th Floor, Commission Chambers
Public Comment Welcomed and Needed!!!
County staff have proposed changes in the Rural Zoning district regulations. (link to document provided below). This is in direct response to the KIRC and leadership from our County Commissioners. In addition, the Count Commission imposed a 120 day moratorium (starting July 8th) on application for commercial development in the Rural Zoning district which allows time for the changes to adopted so that any further applications will have to follow the new rules.
This is all good!! YEAH!
However, this amendment is only a “stop-gap” measure. The actual effect of the amendment is to shore up the justification for the site and design requirements that County required of the applicant for the gas station/convenience store at Crump & Miccosukee.
This is what is in the amendment:
- Removes allowance of commercial development on the corners of local roads.
Effect: Development on local corners was restricted to 1/2 acre which really meant that no commercial development could occur because it’s nearly impossible to fit all the requirements for commercial site development on 1/2 acre. These include a large septic system, stormwater pond and conveyances, access road in and out including space for customer parking and delivery, emergency and fire vehicles to turn around, required landscape and natural area, and of course, the building itself.
- Makes explicit site and development design standards. Effect: The County staff already required significant site and development standards of the applicant for the gas station/convenience store at Crump and Miccosukee. So this just makes requirements explicit for future applications.
- Increases level of review.
Effect: This is an actual change, but has little actual effect. All of the review standards remain the same, the application is simply review by a “higher” level of administrative staff. For gas stations/convenience stores, the application requires County Commission. However, as the standards remain the same, none of these higher level of review, including the County Commission can reject the application for arbitrary reasons. If the application meets the standards it should be approved, no matter how much citizens dislike it.
What remains if this amendment is adopted:
- 34-40 intersections in the Rural Zoning district remain eligible for commercial development of up to 20,000 sqft in total. This includes gas stations, convenience, grocery, hardware, liquor stores, just about any type of retail.
- Huge capacity for commercial development in the Urban Fringe Zoning District – the zoning between Rural and the Urban Services Area (suburban Leon County and the City of Tallahassee) continues to permit unto 100,000 sqft of commercial development at many intersections and up to 50,000 sqft at the remaining non-local road intersections.
- Site and design standards that only change the number of pumps, the lighting, the roof line, etc. The development itself is still allowable.
If the application for the gas station/convenience store at Crump and Miccosukee were submitted with these “new” requirements, it still would have been recommended for permitting. The County Commission may have voted against it, but they would have to make the same arguments KIRC is making – the Comprehensive Plan does not allow such developments at all in the Rural area and if all of the Comprehensive Plan is interpreted and appropriately implemented in full.
LET’S MAKE THE COMP PLAN REALLY REALLY CLEAR!
Here’s the proposed amendments for the Rural Zoning District: