The 2nd reading of the zoning changes for the Gateway Overlay District include some changes in the allowable uses. They include the following:

Office Use, including medical and dental, along any street frontage except Curtiss Parkway and South and North Royal Poinciana Boulevards. (So basically just Canal Street, Hook Square, and Nahkoda Drive.) – We find it interesting that they didn’t want to add offices on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the building in favor of residential units, but now see the need to add office uses to the first floor.

Medical:  For purposes of this Section, a Medical or Dental Office Use shall mean a small  scale office with a maximum floor area of 2,000 square feet providing medical or dental treatment where patients are offered medical services, examinations, and treatments, but are not permitted to occupy the premises overnight. This does not include medical or clinical laboratories, urgent care centers, hospitals, emergency rooms, or other similar medium to large-scale medical office uses, which are specifically prohibited.

Personal Services (e.g., barbershops, beauty parlors, physical therapy clinics, massage parlors), with hours of business between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00p.m., along Hook Square frontage only.  – I don’t know how this isn’t considered spot zoning?

Veterinarian Use (which may provide short-term boarding for medical purposes only, for no more than 48 hours), along Hook Square or Canal Street frontage only, provided that no Veterinarian Use may be located within 0.25 0.30 airline miles of the front door of an existing Veterinarian Use within the Gateway District. The distance shall be measured from the front door of the proposed Veterinarian Use to the front door of the existing Veterinarian Use.

During the first reading, this ordinance passed by a 4-1 vote in favor.

  • Jorge Santin – Yes
  • Jacky Bravo – No
  • Walter Fajet – Yes
  • Victor Vazquez – Yes
  • Maria Mitchell – Yes

Now there are some additional changes for the second reading.  We’ll see how the vote goes tonight.

I have mixed feelings about this.  The whole stated goal was to add retail and restaurants to downtown.  The project isn’t even completed yet and the council is faced with abandoning the initial goals.

The idea of adding offices downtown makes sense.  Which is why we always preferred creating 2nd and 3rd floor office space which would attract more businesses and jobs downtown.  Look around and you’ll notice we really don’t have office spaces downtown.

The good news is that the businesses that want to move their office spaces to the new building are primarily local businesses owned by local residents.  In other words, they have a love for our community and a vested interest in the benefit to our community.  This is a good thing.  Furthermore, if these businesses move into the new Springs Town Center, it’ll create a vacancy at their old location.  The concept is that this may entice the prior landlord to improve their facility to help attract new clients.  That’s yet to be proven.

As for the veterinarian, the city flat out screwed up.  This is what led to the firing of Chris Heid.  So the city is in a position where they have no choice but to allow the veterinarian to open up within the Gateway Overlay District.

What do you think?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below or via social media.



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