Protect our Land Use Codes

Op Ed by Carmine Miranda

I felt the need to write this Op Ed to keep our residents informed about a concern I share with many city residents.

Specifically, it is the special exception petition SPX-22-123 to change the current ‘OPI’ Land Use Code (Office, Professional, Institutional) to Multi Family (M/F) on an 11.7 Acre tract of land off Sumter Boulevard and Pocatella Avenue. The Commission Meeting will be held on January 10, 2023 @ 10:00am in Commission Chambers.

The lawyers for this special exception state that the Comprehensive Plan and ULDC provides that any use not explicitly permitted nor expressly prohibited in the OPI zoning district, may file for a special exception. This precedent could have far reaching negative impacts to any current land use codes assigned today. This means any zoned parcel in the City is subject to a special exception unless zoning specifies what code is permitted or prohibited. Having a code like OPI specifies it is Office, Professional and Institutional. Doesn’t OPI explicitly permit or expressly prohibit any code other than OPI?

I THINK IT CLEARLY SPELLS IT OUT. With a city forecast for explosive growth, the time is Now to protect the land use codes that support the Six Strategic Planning Pillars. There are three growth areas of vital importance contained in the Six Strategic Planning Pillars 1. Bring skilled jobs to North Port 2. Grow the Commercial Tax base 3. Preserve the Environment The North Port Staff Report highlights the benefits of the OPI land use vs the Multi-Family land use for this special exception in the documentation “Comprehensive Plan - Chapter 2 - Future Land Use”. It states: “IN FURTHER COMPARISON, TWENTY YEARS AFTER PROJECT COMPLETION, THE MULTI- FAMILY DEVELOPMENT WOULD REALIZE A NET FISCAL BENEFIT TO THE CITY OF $3.9M AND POTENTIALLY CREATE 15 JOBS. THE IMPACT FOR OFFICE USE WOULD PROVIDE A NET BENEFIT OF $7.15M HOWEVER, POTENTIAL JOB CREATION IS SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER AND PROJECTS 343 JOBS”.

I also researched the City’s Development Viewer and have determined that there are 9,248 residential units proposed for North Port. 4004 are Single Family homes while 5,244 are Multi- Family homes. One large project with 500+ acres did not provide a total of homes proposed that will no doubt add to this count. There is no shortage of Multi-Family homes being proposed and many of these are part of a larger well thought out residential community development plan to incorporate Multi-Family units. I feel very strongly about keeping with the Six Strategic Planning Pillars, and staying focused to ensure our Comprehensive Plan, ULDC and Land Use Codes support these goals in developing our growing beautiful city.

I hope you feel the same way and come to the Commission Chambers on Tuesday, January 10, 2023 at 10:00am.

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