Commissioners are scheduled to appoint three members to the Wilton Manors Planning & Zoning Board at Tuesday evening’s regular commission meeting.

The terms of board members Michael Siemer, Peter Flint and Tim Theisen expire on May 1. Of the three only Theisen, a senior instructor in the Florida Atlantic University Biological Sciences Department, is seeking re-appointment.

The city received applications from five other residents. The Planning & Zoning Board is composed of nine members — seven with voting privileges, one alternate and a staff liaison. 

It’s a volunteer, no pay job that has received much attention of late with potential changes to density regulations in the city’s comprehensive plan. In particular, the extension of the transit-oriented corridor into the eastside created considerable debate among residents and stakeholders.

Along with appointing three members to the P&Z board, Wilton Manors Commissioners have unfinished business to discuss involving the adoption of text amendments to the comprehensive plan. The amendments increase the maximum density in the transit-oriented corridors to 100 residential units per gross acre.

The Gazette reached out to Planning & Zoning Board Chair Richard Safaty for his thoughts on the board’s mission.

What can the planning & zoning board do to increase revenue for the city?

The Planning and Zoning Board has recently reviewed the permitted business use table and has made recommendations to the city commission to better ensure we are supporting local economic growth.

There seem to be some contradictions in arguments from those opposed to any code changes. Those opposed to increased density want to keep a small-town feel, but don't added bicycle lanes, setbacks and landscaping projects to help accomplish this small town environment as opposed to four-lane fast-moving roads?

Yes, adding bicycle lanes, setbacks and landscaping projects all help accomplish the goal of maintaining Wilton Manors’ small-town feel.

What does the city code say about homelessness, tent camping, shelters and pods? Where are they allowed in Wilton Manors?

The city’s code doesn’t address tent camping, shelters and pods and therefore they are not permitted.

Are you in favor of a train station in the city? Do you think it would increase crime?

The P&Z board will review any application that comes before us and at that time we will be able to make an informed decision.

Why did you choose to live in Wilton Manors and decide to serve on the P&Z board?

Owning and operating a small business on Wilton Drive since 2008, I fell in love with the city and the people we served. Moving to the city in 2013 as a full-time homeowner was a natural progression. I have always enjoyed being active in my community. My business experience and attention to detail have made the P&Z board a good fit for me to give back to the city I love.

I spoke to a Coral Gables resident recently who had some unflattering comments about the architecture in Wilton Manors. How can the city improve its architecture?

Wilton Manors is not a planned community — it is colorful and vibrant, a mini-urban oasis that is unique in its allowances when it comes to architecture style and preferences.


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