South Palm Avenue will soon be protected from commercial development that takes away from the residential feel many neighbors there cherish.
“We are a totally residential neighborhood,” said resident Mort Siegel, who is also a member of the group, Coalition of Bayfront Citizens (CBC).
The CBC has been asking the city to impose an overlay district that would prevent large- and small-scale commercial businesses from setting up shop along South Palm Avenue.
The group has support from seven condo buildings on the street, which have more than 400 total residents.
It also has support from four city commissioners, including Commissioner Terry Turner.
“To see the CBC’s vision, just walk down South Palm Avenue,” Turner said.
The commissioner believes it was a mistake to impose the city’s master plan on South Palm Avenue, which re-zoned the street to allow for mixed-use development.
The CBC first sought the overlay district last year in response to developer Al Hochstadt’s plan to build a time-share hotel at South Palm Avenue and Alderman Street.
Hochstadt sold part of his property earlier this year, which made the hotel project no longer viable, but the CBC wanted to prevent any other commercial development projects.
“What we’d wind up with is small businesses that wouldn’t make it, and they’d be going in and out of business,” said Siegel.
The city will begin drawing up the overlay district rules, which will restore minimum building setbacks to 2005 levels, before the re-zoning changes were instituted.
Those setbacks required buildings to be up to 30 feet away from the public right of way. Current code does not require any setback at all.
The overlay will also restrict commercial development to the corners where South Palm Avenue intersects with Ringling Boulevard and Mound Street.
Owners from the following condo complexes on South Palm Avenue are pushing for an overlay district to restrict commercial development.
• Embassy House
• Essex House
• Savoy on Palm
• Palm Place
• Royal St. Andrew
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