Friday, May 12, 2006

City Neighborhoods Plan Citizen Protest at City Hall - Monday, May 15, from 5:30 to 6:30 PM

Dear Friends,

Several city neighborhood groups have become concerned by recent City Commission decisions that have gone against the recommendations of the city's planning staff, the vote of the city's Planning Board, and the concerns raised by affected citizens and neighborhood associations.

Additionally, they, and we at SOS, are alarmed by circumvention of due process and public participation in decision making.

These neighborhood associations are planning a silent protest during the first half hour of the City Commission meeting which begins at 6 PM on Monday evening. They are asking concerned citizens to dress in black and meet at 5:30 near the "Nobody's Listening" statue located on the south side of City Hall, at 1565 First Street.

Some members of SOS will be attending and we encourage other interested citizens to also consider participating. The following are examples of recent Commission votes that have generated this protest:

  • Changing Burns Court height limits to 10 stories, at the last minute and without public input, after years of work on our shared community vision---The Duany Plan---that capped heights at 5 stories for buildings next to single-family neighborhoods.

  • Voting to increase the number of units allowed from 162 to 470 units on the old Scotty's property by Payne Park next to single-family neighborhoods. The developer submitted major changes to his proposal just hours before the Commission hearing, leaving city staff, the Planning Board, adjacent neighborhoods - and even Commissioners - with insufficient opportunity to study the terms.

  • Voting to proceed with a plan to quadruple condo densities, from 50 to 200 units per acre along the bayfront and downtown and double them in selected neighborhoods in exchange for only 10% of the units being priced in an "affordable" range. We appreciate your continued participation in our civic activities.

SOS Steering Committee

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