History of super-majority voting in Winter Park:
Since 1971 – Any rezoning request denied by the Planning and Zoning Commission requires a super-majority vote of the City Commission to approve.
Since 1991 – (same as 1-1.1.5 below) Any proposed amendment of this Comprehensive Plan denied by the Planning and Zoning Commission, shall not become effective except by a super majority (4 votes) of the City Commission.
Several new super-majority voting requirements have been added to the Comprehensive Plan finalized in February 2009 as detailed below.
These new super-majority voting requirements are intentionally designed by David Strong and his friends to prohibit re-development. No one willing to put their money at risk to improve commercial property will even evaluate Winter Park under these circumstances. These new rules will likely result in law suits against the city for forcing a reduction in property value. These new rules are likely to reduce the market value of significant commercial property in Winter Park, which will lead to lower assessed values and lower commercial tax revenue. This isn’t JUST about NOT redeveloping, it is about lowering the market value of commercial property. Guess who is going to make up the difference?
If these rules stand you can count on nothing happening in Winter Park for a long time to come. Why? Because David Strong and his friends don’t want anything to happen. What are the consequences?
No new investment means no growth in real estate valuation.
No growth in real estate valuation means higher taxes and/or lower service levels.
Remember, our superior quality of life is paid for with tax dollars of one sort or another. No dollars, no bike paths, no park improvements, no tree replenishment, no park acquisitions. The greatest danger is that the voters will eventually have to choose between significantly higher taxes or consolidation of various public safety and other city services with Orange County or neighboring cities. You might want to put this scenario in the context of our current financial situation to understand the reality of it all.
Policy 1-1.1.3: Require Public Notice Prior to Creation or Expansion of CRA or CDD. Prior to the creation or expansion of any Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) or Community Development District (CDD), there shall be a public notice requirement to all households in the City to inform residents of the proposal, the need for such action and the plans or actions contemplated as a result. , and shall require a super majority (4 vote) of the City Commission for approval.
Policy 1-1.1.5: Amendment to this Comprehensive Plan. Any proposed amendment of this Comprehensive Plan denied by the Planning and Zoning Commission, shall not become effective except by a supermajority (4 vote) of the City Commission.
Policy 1-2.6.2: Conservation (CON). The FLUM shall designate lands that are natural and coastal resources as “CON.” It is the intent of the “CON” land use designation to provide for the long-term protection and preservation of environmentally sensitive natural resource systems. The Conservation Future Land Use Map designation is designed to indicate the specific areas, of wetland floodways and the 100-year flood plain, for the Howell Branch Creek areas between Lakes Sue and Virginia and north of Lake Maitland that shall be conserved in their natural condition so that the physical and biological functions of the land may be optimized. No development other than structures that benefit the general public, such as boardwalks or access way for maintenance, are permitted on this land and/or stream front wetland floodplain areas. Access is limited so that these areas may also serve as a safe haven area for wildlife. The City shall have the option of obtaining a conservation easement from the property owner(s) to protect sum lands. The only exception and intensity of use potentially permitted (by conditional use requiring a supermajority vote of the City Commission) is a boardwalk or gazebo for the passive enjoyment of this natural area provided the construction and use is non-intrusive and non disruptive to the primary purpose as a natural conservation area.
Policy 1-3.2.2: Maintain the Character and Vitality of the CBD Environs. The City shall maintain the character of the Central Business District (CBD), including the Park Avenue Corridor as one of the premier downtown retail shopping districts in Florida, by reinforcing attributes that underlie its ambiance and special character, including its pedestrian scale, the relationship of its buildings and their orientation to the street, the eclectic mix of architectural styles, the open space vistas of Central Park, and the predominance of small distinctive specialty shops. The Comprehensive Plan shall impose a two story and 30’ height limit throughout the Central Business District for any property designated non-residential as depicted on the Central Business District Future Land Use Designated Area map located in the Definitions section of this Comprehensive Plan. These height restrictions may be exceeded to a maximum 3 stories and a 40’ height limit if the development is approved by a supermajority vote (four votes) by the City Commission as a Conditional Use and conform to the Maximum Height Map. The maximum floor area ratio within the CBD shall include private parking garages which are either at grade or elevated in calculations of floor area. Subterranean parking garages and public parking garages may be excluded from floor area calculations. Third floors approved by conditional use in the CBD must be setback on street frontages equal to their height on a one foot setback for each one foot height of the third floor.
Policy 1-3.8.9: Preserve the Pedestrian Scale and Orientation of the CBD and Restrict Building Height. The City shall preserve the pedestrian scale and orientation of the Winter Park Central Business District Boundary Map, as defined in the Definitions section of this Comprehensive Plan, by limiting development for any property designated non-residential to two stories in height (30 feet) or three stories (40 feet) (including any mezzanine levels) on a case by case basis via conditional use and by requiring an supermajority (four votes) of approval by the City Commission for any third floor. The pedestrian orientation is also protected by prohibiting new drive-in businesses within the C-2 zoning locations east of Virginia Avenue. Approvals or other variances for more than three stories are prohibited. Third floors approved by conditional use must be setback on street frontages equal to their height on a one foot setback for each one foot height of the third floor. Properties designated low density residential and properties limited to two stories on the Maximum Height Map are not candidates for the 3 story and 40’ height conditional use.