Every month Councilor Jonathan Melton publishes a newsletter summarizing the actions of City Council for that month. In his April report, he included a bonus from the May 2nd meeting which was an explanation for his vote on the zoning case Z-54-22, Peace & West Streets.
The text is here:
If you had not followed this zoning case closely, you could be excused for not noting the obvious errors in Councilor Melton’s explanation. And, maybe he had not followed the details of the case as closely as he should have. But, he published this newsletter on May 7th, 2023. I sent an email to the entire City Council, inlcuding Councilor Melton on April 27th. It included all the data you see here and more. I also had a conversation with him via social media discussing the details of this case on May 3rd when he tweeted a shorter version of this explanation. That is why I was surprised when his newsletter came out containing the same misinformation.
Let’s break down the assertions from the Councilor’s newsletter.
“I met with the neighbors on this case at least twice. The neighbors’ primary concern was height.”
Yes, absolutely, the neighbors’ primary concern was height. And, any unbiased reading of the Comp Plan data I shared with Councilor Melton would bring you to the conclusion that the max height allowable at the site of this case is 12 stories. And, the site is already zoned for 12 stories. What the applicant was asking for was an increase to 30 stories. A full two and one half times what the Comp Plan says is the appropriate maximum for this location.
This map shows downtown in white, the gray is not downtown. Where the two meet is considered the “edge”
- The area outlined in RED is the Glenwood-Brooklyn neighborhood.
- The GREEN line is West Street
- The area outlined in BLUE is the proposed development site
The case was deemed as inconsistent with policy DT 1.12.
Policy DT 1.14 should also have been deemed inconsistent.
The transition policy calls out the Glenwood-Brooklyn neigborhood for protection from Central Business District heights.
“Also, right along Peace Street there are already several taller buildings, including a planned 40-story building across the street that was approved by the 2017 City Council”
This assertion is NOT TRUE and I pointed this out to Councilor Melton in our Twitter conversation.
Across the street from the proposed West Street site is the 12 story building that houses a Publix grocery store. For him to repeat this claim after having been corrected and acknowledging that correction is inexplicable.
There is a planned 40-story building at the intersection of Peace Street and Capital Blvd. But, there are three major differences between that location and the proposed location at Peace and West Streets.
- The Capital Blvd location is NOT on the “edge” of downtown while the West Street property is.
- The Capital Blvd location is not located next to a residential neighborhood while the West Street location is. The Glenwood-Brooklyn neighborhood near the West Street proposal is called out by name in the Comp Plan for protection from downtown heights.
- The Capital Blvd location is where a planned Transit Station will be located while the West Street location is NOT.
All of this explains just why the additional height is appropriate at the Capital Blvd location and why it is NOT appropriate at the West Street location.
And, again, Councilor Melton had all of this information BEFORE writing and publishing his newsletter.
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