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City leaders end agreement with Canopy development, move forward on NE park at meeting

Posted at 11:23 PM, Feb 07, 2024
  • City leaders ended their affordable housing agreement with the developers behind Canopy after the builder said it was too costly.
  • Commissioners set a hearing for a rezoning change to allow the Northeast Park to go in off of Centerville Road.
  • Watch to hear what leaders had to say about bills going through the state house and senate.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

City leaders held a critical vote on a new park and affordable housing in the Northeast and discussed legislative items as we're halfway through session in Florida.

Rezoning for the Northeast Park is the reason for a sign along Centerville Road near Killimore Lane.

It's to let neighbors know about a zoning change that is coming to their area with the development of the Northeast Park.

City leaders voted to move forward with the change Wednesday.

The space would be changed to an open space zoning designation to allow this multi-million dollar facility.

The park will feature softball, baseball and soccer fields, as well as volleyball and pickleball courts.

Just around the corner, a housing developer said his business cannot support affordable housing units.

Jason Ghazvini with Premier Fine Homes said the pandemic, inflation and supply chain issues have made it nearly impossible for his team.

"In what felt like months, we went from costs allowing us to sell a home at $220,000, to increased costs dictating a sale price of $325,000," Ghazvini said.

He partnered with the city for their inclusionary housing agreement, which provides developers incentives to build affordable housing. He originally agreed to build 67 affordable units in the Canopy development off of Welaunee Boulevard.

Commissioner Jeremy Matlow said this shows that the city has to make some changes to aid affordable housing efforts to avoid putting the burden on developers.

"We have 400 acres in a relatively similar areas and we have other properties," Matlow said. "I think we need to go back to the drawing board and say let's not make it so complicated."

The commission voted unanimously to remove the units from the agreement.

They would have had to pay Ghazvini about $4 million otherwise per state statute.

Leaders also discussed legislation going through the Florida House and Senate right now.

One of their major concerns: bills they said are attacks on home rule for local government.

One of those: HB 1277, which would cap what cities can collect from utility companies they own, like City of Tallahassee Utilities.

I spoke with mayor John Dailey after the meeting. He said bills like this one hurt neighborhoods.

"We always step up to the plate and say 'hey, please consider all 411 municipalities differently because we are all differently,'" Dailey said.

Leaders will continue to monitor potential new laws.

Neighbors who have thoughts about the rezoning for the NE park can come out to a public hearing on February 21st.