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Commissioners against multi-family complex rezoning near Nightwalker

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Though there was a request for postponement by the petitioner, Oritz Planning Solutions, an extended discussion took place among the commissioners. The petitioner requests the rezoning of a property located near the south side of Cortez Boulevard, approximately 700 feet east of Nightwalker Road.

At the regular meeting on July 12, 2022, commissioners unanimously granted the postponement until September 13, 2022, however, Chairman Steve Champion and Commissioner John Allocco expressed during the discussion that they would not vote to approve the petition when heard in September.

The 44.89-acre site is seeking rezoning to PDP(MF)(Planned Development Project (Multifamily)) and PDP(OP) (Planned Development Project (Office Professional)) with specific C-1 uses and Deviations. It is currently zoned PDP(OP) (Planned Development Project (Office Professional)) and PDP(SF) (Planned Development Project (Single Family)).

According to documents, The site was originally approved in 2005 for single-family homes, multi-family homes, and townhomes, and Office Professional with C-1 uses. The original approval permitted 110 dwelling units and up to 40,000 square feet of office space. However, no development took place.

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With this petition, the applicant plans to increase the floor area ratio (FAR) and height of the 20,000 square foot commercial building and increase the density and height of the 11 residential buildings totaling 500 units.

Planning Director Michelle Miller mentioned that there were “several challenges” faced by the Planning and Zoning Commission, which recommended 5-0 to deny the request. “What were some of the challenges,” asked Allocco, “Besides the huge cavern underneath the piece of property?”

Miller reported some “intense dialog” with the petitioner relating to the cavern system. “Unfortunately, they were insistent that the cavern system didn’t exist.”

County Planner Omar DePablo displayed the parcels, the aerial map showing the southernmost almost completely marked by water. The northeast corner of the structure contains a cave called Nursery Sink, which is 245 feet deep.

Several residents spoke during Citizen’s Comments, all advocating for the denial of the rezoning. In addition to geographical, environmental and traffic issues, Diana Fletcher reported that a School Board analysis shows that area schools have the ability to accommodate new students coming into this district, however, Fletcher stated that the analysis was conducted based on single-family homes, not multi-family homes. She also pointed out that that the information was obtained in 2019.

Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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