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Residents react to rezoning of five Tallahassee neighborhoods

Posted at 11:49 PM, Mar 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-08 23:54:40-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) — The Tallahassee Board of City Commissioners met to discuss land rezonings in order to grow housing availability across the city.

The areas include 1718 Mahan Drive, 5411 Capital Circle SW, 3534 Thomasville Road, the Merrivale and Lambert Heights subdivisions and a piece of land off of Ocala Road.

This includes worker housing, affordable housing, and student housing.

Kirsten Olsen-Doolan lives in one of those areas. She loves her home in Brandt Hills that has been in her husband’s family for decades.

“His parent's lived in the house that we live in now,” Olsen-Doolan said. "We are raising our son here now and there's a lot of families like that around here. It's a very warm, friendly neighborhood."

While she said housing is needed in the area, she worries that rezoning property at 1718 Mahan Drive from residential preservation 2 to urban residential in the city and county comprehensive plan will cause a lot of change.

“It's at the entrance where a lot of people come in and out of the area. It's going to bring a lot of people, a lot of traffic," Olsen-Doolan said. "We're glad it's going to be residential, but it's definitely going to be a lot different than the style of the neighborhood.”

On the other side of town, Curtis Taylor with the Urban League said that rezoning here in Southside could be good if it means more businesses in the area.

“We have to be careful about building all of these apartments everywhere. Let's build some businesses," Taylor said. "Let's build some things where people are going to have jobs to support our students.”

But Olsen-Doolan said she thinks the city does care about the input of citizens like her and Taylor.

“The city has actually been really great about keeping us up-to-date." Olsen-Doolan said. "The planners they have assigned to this project have been very communicative.”

The Merrivale and Lambert heights subdivisions in the southside have zoning changes that will make them considered University Transition, meaning there could be more student housing in that area.