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Accept, but don’t approve. That was the decision of the Wilton Manors City Commission when grappling with a plan laying out visions for the future of the city.

The report, titled WiltonNext, was created by an outside consulting firm to study real estate, business, residential conditions, etc. in an effort to get ahead of trends and position the city for the future.

The original report riled many westside residents. It called for Wilton Manors to embrace an atmosphere of “wellness,” especially along Andrews Avenue. Many interpreted that as a plan to build four story medical complexes and not be particularly useful for westside residents on a day-to-day basis. Redevelopment Management Associates (RMA) prepared the plan and had representatives on hand to clarify and answer questions from city officials.

They explained that the term “wellness” encompasses much more than staid medical buildings like you see near hospitals. The vision includes spas, fitness centers, and similar businesses. RMA’s report also mentions St. Clements Catholic Church as a potential development site, which was particularly irksome to people living in that area. City Manager Leigh Ann Henderson reported this was a moot point, as the property isn’t for sale and the church has no plans to sell and move. This all came after four westside residents passionately spoke out against the plan.

In the end, the commission decided to accept the plan, but not approve it for implementation at this time. Commissioner Mike Bracchi pointed out that rejecting it would mean the city would have to return grant money for a report that was completed.

Commissioner Gary Resnick pointed out that city development is committed to building commercial/residential mixed-use housing, a point that was driven home when the Office of Economic Development report was presented.

“It’s what I hoped for,” Commissioner Chris Caputo told SFGN afterward. “We recognize the national trend [of wellness] as well potential future businesses for the area.”

The commission agreed that some of the ideas in the report are feasible and good for the city. By not “approving” the plan, they can cherry-pick which ones they want to implement going forward.

Other Business

Code Enforcement and Wilton Manors Police Department gave an update on tracking vacation rentals in the city. A breakdown of the past several years shows most violations are related to people not registering their property with the city. They discussed buying new software that could help in tracking down under-the-radar violators.

Wording was updated to many parts of the city code, and the changes were adopted unanimously.

The commission also recognized May as Mental Health Awareness Month and National Police Week, noting a sharp increase in attacks on law enforcement in recent years.

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