Letter: Winter Park planning and zoning commission failed community

Although comments/letters are not a straw poll, the fact that Planning & Zoning hearings are required by statute is itself recognition of the fact that the decision-making process must be more sensitive to the rights of the affected property owners.

At our Aug. 9 Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing, we failed our friends, neighbors and community by passing a bad recommendation to the Town Council for the Final Development Plan — Cooper Creek Village.

I applaud Commissioner Davlin on his no vote, but to benefit the community I made the motion, and voted for it, to salvage the remaining few thin recommended conditions that were not stripped away to favor the developer’s bottom line. I am very disappointed in the lack of sensitivity shown for the residents that depend on us. One of my colleagues was so contemptuous as to say that community members who submitted letters or comments of concern at their public hearing, didn’t understand the existing zoning abutting their properties. Very similar to an e-mail the developer sent to TOWP describing concerns of the community as “misinformed and disinformed.” Please read the letters from your constituents, you will find the opposite to be true.

The developer was either savvy enough or lucky when they continued the original hearing. By doing this, they effectively ran out the clock and forced the commissioners into a six-hour meeting. Disgusting, but a tactic worth remembering.

The recommendation from PZ is not a determination. Before the last election, candidates made heartfelt statements about sustainability, preserving wildlife, wetlands, responsible development and developers not being a burden on the town. And we voted for you. Time to do the right thing at the TOWP Council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 5:30 p.m.

Jonathan Larson
Winter Park Planning & Zoning Commissioner

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