The city of Oakland Park hosted a community meeting to get more feedback and share plans for OP3D, or the Oakland Park Design Development District.
The Thursday evening meeting was hosted through Zoom and the city’s website, with interactive polling options for participants to share their opinions.
During the presentation, the team proposed new standards for building heights, green space, walkability, density, and other zoning and coding laws for the city’s future. This included capping building heights at five stories in some parts of town, which would help with buffering neighboring residential areas.
They emphasized that this would not impact any current buildings, but only future development.
“The new downtown code as they’re being adopted, they're basically perspective; they’re for future development,” said Pete Schwarz, the city’s assistant director of Community and Economic Development. “All existing properties within the downtown would continue to exist and operate as they have been.”
The city hired the Miami-based Zyscovich Architects in 2018 to study Oakland Park’s current downtown area, then known as the Downtown Mixed-Use District, and provide feedback on what could be done for expansion. For the last two years, they have also hosted community forums and conducted surveys with city boards, community groups, and other stakeholders for OP3D.
“All the feedback we’ve received in the last two years, that’s going to be evaluated,” said Suria Yaffar, a partner at Zyscovich.
Green space is a priority with the plan, and Grace Perdomo of Zyscovich noted that the city’s current code does not have any requirements for open space, other than for water flow. Zyscovich is proposing the city require that any new buildings must have a percentage of the property be green space.
During the presentation, participants were encouraged to answer a series of polling questions through slido.com, such as what they felt would add more value to downtown (housing, retail or access to transit), what public enhancements should be used as an incentive, and if they were willing to give up a travel lane for wider sidewalks (71% said yes).
The next step in planning for Oakland Park’s downtown is for further discussion at an upcoming Planning & Zoning meeting.
“It is a lengthy process,” assistant city manager Jennifer Frastai said of the downtown planning. “We’re looking at least — if all of the stars align — 10 to 12 more months of this process.”
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