In a reversal of its previous vote, the Wilton Manors Commission approved 10 flex units for the proposed development at 549 NE 21 Ct. during its May 8 meeting.
In April, commissioners approved 8 flex units for the townhouse development. The developer, Tim Hernandez of New Urban Communities, had originally asked for 12 flex units. Due to the size of the 0.8-acre piece of land, only four units can be built. But, with flex units, the city commission can exceed the allowed number of units. If given a second and final vote, the total number of townhomes would be 14.
“I thought we had decided this,” said Commissioner Tom Green. Mayor Gary Resnick and Green were the two votes against allowing 10 flex units. Vice Mayor Justin Flippen said he wanted to give Commissioner Julie Carson a chance to vote on the project because she left the last meeting before the vote was taken. He said the city needs to find a balance on development.
Hernandez told commissioners that his reworked plans for the site included more green space and more of a setback. Green said the footprint was just as dense as before. In response to past concerns over the site being too dense, Hernandez said that the city needs more density near Wilton Drive in order to bring in more residents who can support the businesses.
Resnick said he doesn’t see a public benefit by granting 10 flex units. He said the city might need the additional flex units for another project that is more beneficial. “Four units. That’s all this property is entitled to,” said Resnick.
“I hear all this ‘let’s protect the neighborhood.’ Well, this is a neighborhood,” said Green. “Let’s leave people alone as much as possible.”
Resnick told one resident who lives next to the planned development that “you might want to consider putting your home on the market before this gets built.” Flippen said he didn’t think it was appropriate for the mayor to say that. “I’m saying how I feel,” responded Resnick. “And I have faith in this commission,” replied Flippen.
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