Mayor Steve Leary’s Message – June 2017
During our April 24 meeting, the City Commission unanimously approved on second reading, the final update to our Comprehensive Plan. The Comp Plan creates the framework for our community’s public policy in terms of transportation, utilities, land use, recreation and housing.
Updates to our Comp Plan are mandated by the Florida Legislature and are undertaken periodically. The revisions to the nine elements of the Comp Plan were proposed and reviewed by city staff and multiple city advisory boards over many months, presented to the City Commission, and unanimously approved on first reading December 12, 2016. The document was then forwarded to the state for comments and returned to the city. We revisited and revised it to reflect Objections, Recommendations and Comments (ORC) from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO) and will resubmit it to the state for final adoption after our unanimous approval.
The city hosted over 40 public meetings and +67 citizen leaders who reviewed the various elements and made recommendations for changes and refinement. The City Commission sat for a total of over 8 ½ hours taking public comments before our final transmittal to the FDEO. This was an extremely inclusive process that resulted in significant changes, some of which I highlight below:
- Removal of High Density Residential Future Land Use designation and R-4 zoning category for any new development.
- This is the most significant change to the Comp Plan. While many individuals were instrumental in the final document, I want to thank Vice Mayor Pete Weldon for his leadership on this item. This “most dense” residential category has been removed for new consideration, and will help us maintain our traditional scale throughout the city.
- Removal of the Planned Development (PD)-1 and PD-2 Future Land Use designations
- These designations are often misunderstood as they allow cities flexibility to deliver projects that might otherwise be restricted. The existing PD language needed work, so rather than approve a sub-par designation or hold up the entire review process, we decided to remove it. We will be revisiting this type of process in the future, primarily through the Mixed-Use Development designation.
- Continuing to limit height on Denning Drive to three stories
- We maintained the height of future projects along Denning Drive to only three stories, rather than increase it to four stories.
- Creation of a Medical Arts District incorporating the Winter Park Hospital and Winter Park Health Foundation approved plans
- While the Hospital Master Plan had already been codified in the previous Comp Plan, adding the Winter Park Health Foundation and creating a map more clearly articulates the boundaries for those interested.
- Recognizing five gateway corridors with design guidelines for development/redevelopment
- The major corridors leading into and out of Winter Park need special attention and thus they will be studied over the coming months.
- An open process with the community to create a Mixed Use District or Overlay
- Single-Family Residential focus with stronger policies to maintain our residential feel
- A focus on the village and traditional scale attributes within the city’s defined Central Business District
- Maintaining our premier level of service standard for parkland to ensure greenspace
- Focus on multi-modal transportation planning through the eyes of walkers, bicyclists, transit users and drivers
Thank you to all that participated in this process, especially our city staff, consultants, citizen advisory boards, our Comp Plan Task Force and my fellow commission members. This is a process and document that reflects the inclusiveness of our community, and will ensure that future residents inherit this special place which we have been blessed to call home.