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City Commission Work Session Minutes - May 27, 2021


Mayor Phil Anderson

Commissioner Marty Sullivan Commissioner Sheila DeCiccio

Commissioner Carolyn Cooper

Commissioner Todd Weaver

City Manager Randy Knight

Asst. City Manager Michelle Neuner

City Clerk Rene Cranis

Also Present:

Planning and Transportation Director Bronce Stephenson

Planner Allison McGillis

Larry Adams, Scott Webber, Darryl Spradley; ACi Architects

Ray Waugh, LandDesign

1) Call to Order Mayor Anderson called the meeting to order at 1:01 p.m. and stated that he would like to review the timeline for the adoption of the OAO provided by staff and then move on to discussProgress Point and the enhancement menu.

Mr. Stephenson reviewed the process to complete the adoption of the OAO including additional work sessions, state review, and public hearings leading to adoption of the OAO in October. Mr. Stephenson responded to questions on components of the time line and the ability to compress the timeline.

Commissioner Weaver expressed concern regarding the Bert Harris Act amendment which will impact the Overlay. In response, Mr. Stephenson explained that staff can start preparing the draft citywide notice for legal review.

Commissioner Cooper expressed her frustration that this process did not move more expeditiously. She asked for an assessment of each subarea demonstrating that there are no “taking issues.” She believes the city should back off from the OAO and make it a future land use area and require rezoning with completed plans and an offer of public amenities and proportionate fair share before any changes are made. She said she is not interested in moving forward unless the assessment guarantees there is no infringement on legitimate current entitlements on properties. She added that development of Progress Point is not critical to the adoption of an OAO.

Mayor Anderson noted that the OAO increases development rights but does not require conditions for that increase. He sees Progress Point separately from the OAO and its development must be addressed even without the OAO. Mayor Anderson said he feels like the city is at the point of moving forward but may need to adjust if the bill is signed by the governor and the risks to the city increase

Commissioner Weaver said he is uncomfortable asking citizens to pay for infrastructure changes to accommodate the current OAO and cannot support the OAO without developers paying a proportionate share of infrastructure costs. He believes developers could interpret this as a burden and taking of their rights.

Commissioner Sullivan said he believes that the requirements for build-to lines, setbacks and open space could be seen as a taking.

Commissioner DeCiccio said that developers will perceive this as a taking because of the requirements for green space, parking, etc. even though they may be given increased FAR. She said she is ready to let the OAO go for now and work on Progress Point and other improvements supported by citizens.

Commissioner Weaver said he believes that moving forward that this point will set the city up for future lawsuits and the OAO should be tabled for now.

Commissioner Cooper spoke on the risk of litigation and questioned whether a developer’s agreement would be appropriate to acknowledge a partnership between the developer and the city where the city would grant additional FAR in exchange, for example, greater setbacks. She further questioned whether it would be appropriate to incorporate a provision to reduce the risk of litigation.

Mayor Anderson suggested finishing the illustrations and the enhancement menu to have ready to proof and print.

2) Discussion Item(s) a. Presentation of the Redevelopment Guidelines & Action Plan for City-owned Progress Energy Land Mayor Anderson said he sees this as an opportunity for this property to be anchor enhancing the city. Mr. Stephenson provided a brief history of discussions on the development of this property as an opportunity to breathe new life into the corridor, help businesses and create an entry to Mead Garden. He said that ACi was tasked with providing a conceptual plan based on the parameters set by the commission that include a 1½-acre park, max building footprint of 20,000 square feet, 2-story maximum and connection of the trail from Mead Garden to the Orlando trail system.

Mr. Adams introduced his staff and gave a presentation of on the concept of creating a public space park space for the community. He outlined the focus, strategy and priorities for development, the process, and methodology. He presented the development program recommendations for public space, food hall, co-work studios, shared rooftop restaurant/bar and infrastructure.

Mr. Waugh spoke on the connection of parks and greenways and secondary types of transportation that are important throughout the city and influence people movement and the framework for other assets in city such as Hannibal Square. He reviewed renderings of the site resulting from public surveys and conversations with the commission on how to activate the park, parking and how the elements work together.

Mr. Adams reviewed case studies of public squares and successful examples of park activation and showed diagrams and renderings based on the input from a survey and charette on the public park, complementary uses, mobility and connectivity.

Mr. Spradley presented market research on trends in public spaces regarding dining and craft breweries, food away from home, co-work space and spaces to boost employee experience.

Mr. Adams showed and described visualizations of the park from different perspectives. He pointed out that the trees are of a caliper to provide immediate shade when planted. Mr. Waugh and Mr. Adams reviewed the tree visualizations and costs and described images showing streetscapes with shade trees, a trellis, seating and walkability providing opportunities for different experiences in the park.

Mr. Adams reviewed architectural guidelines and showed images of mixed-use buildings and responded to questions regarding setbacks, building height and build-to lines. He showed elevations of Orange Avenue from different views which show how the block creates village scale.

Mayor Anderson summarized his understanding of the design and components and users of the park and discussion followed on users and demand for active park use, connectivity and walkability.

Mr. Adams displayed the cost of current development plan which is $10.7 million with the park (including infrastructure) as presented and a 300-space parking garage. Completion of public infrastructure (stormwater, roadway, connectivity, etc.) outside the park would increase the cost to $16 million. Mr. Stephenson noted that these costs include upgrades such as brick streets.

Mr. Adams addressed the realignment of Palmetto Avenue which, as part of the RFP process, the developer would propose how they would participate and be a part of the infrastructure elements before the city made improvements. He stated design and development of the park should be independent from any other development.

Members of the design team responded to questions regarding the parking garage dimensions, footprint of two buildings at park (20,000 s.f.) and parking spaces needed to accommodate visitors and the need to add a partial level (underground) in the parking garage to accommodate businesses.

Mayor Anderson asked staff to look at parking needs and availability for the corridor.

Commissioner Cooper asked for an update on shared, leasing or selling parking spaces. Mr. Adams reviewed the private investment potential for shared parking and the data they requested and reviewed that include rents, cap rates, financial participation, land value and deal structure. Mr. Stephenson stated there has been some interest in shared parking by area businesses.

Commissioner Weaver suggested extending the parking garage over Cypress. Mr. Adams that could be studied. Mr. Stephenson explained the potential for the second level to span Cypress.

Mr. Waugh reviewed maps showing vehicle and pedestrian corridors for connectivity at Progress Point and on Denning Drive, Mead Garden and MLK Park and visualizations of bike and pedestrian lanes on Morse Blvd. He responded to questions and discussion followed a Fairbanks crossing, connectivity to the Community Center and throughout the City.

Mayor Anderson said the next step should be whether to move forward with the development the park and determine the budget. He questioned whether the city is ready to begin the RFP process. Mr. Stephenson advised that guidelines for the RFP process are being prepared by ACi.

Mr. Waugh advised that they still need information on seasonal high-water table data to determine stormwater treatment levels. Mr. Adams advised that should be completed in the next couple of weeks.

Commissioner DeCiccio urged the city to move forward as quickly as possible and spoke on available funding. Mr. Knight advised that park acquisition funds that could be used for part of this but must be approved by the Commission.

Mayor Anderson questioned whether Palmetto Avenue can be left for later date in order to allocate $2 million for the park. Discussion followed on the need to make stormwater draining improvements prior to beginning park development and allocation of funding.

Commissioner Weaver suggested moving forward in a phased approach allocating $1 million to grade and pile excess dirt for future use, plant seven trees and complete rough-in of the irrigation system.

Commissioner Cooper supported moving forward in phases but within the budget and not at the expense of other projects including the post office acquisition.

Commissioner Sullivan agreed with Commissioners Weaver and Cooper.

Mayor Anderson summarized the consensus of the Commission to move forward but suggested asking the design team to bring back a $2 million scope that does not include Palmetto. Commission Cooper suggested that staff look at options to upgrade the interim parking area.

Mayor Anderson noted discussion items for the next meeting will be the conceptual plan and budget for the park and planting trees and how much activation there will be.

b. OAO - Update on the Development Enhancement Menu

Mayor Anderson noted that this document will be distributed by staff with the hope that this will be converted to a policy discussion based on parameters established by the Commission.

3) Adjournment

Posted to on July 8, 2021.

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