Call it a baby step in planning.
At Tuesday night’s city commission meeting, Wilton Manors commissioners approved an amended ordinance for future land use. The ordinance leaves much to be desired, passing on its first reading on a 3-2 vote.
“More analysis needs to be done,” said Vice Mayor Paul Rolli in a telephone call to the Gazette on Wednesday. “It’s very difficult to make a decision in a vacuum. I want to see the data on affordability and tax assessments and then we need to articulate a vision for the city and what we are working for because this will change the face of Wilton Manors forever.”
Zoning requirements will likely come into play on the ordinance’s second reading as commissioners grapple with the city’s comprehensive plan. Rolli voted in favor of the amendment to the land use ordinance, joining newly elected Commissioners Mike Bracchi and Chris Caputo in the majority. The amendment raised the limit on residential development from 25 to 100 units per acre.
The ordinance pertains to the city’s transit-oriented corridor west (TOC-W) and Wilton Drive arts and entertainment district. The districts include parts of Northeast 26th Str., Andrews Ave. and Oakland Park Blvd.
Caputo said starting at 100 units per acre is best to begin the conversation with consideration to come on height, form, micro-units and other variables.
Commissioner Gary Resnick and newly elected Mayor Scott Newton voted against the “friendly amendment” proposed by Caputo which increased density.
“This is a small town city … it still is,” Newton said. “I’ve talked to a lot of people in this city and they want that small town feel. They want development. I want development, but it’s all about where is that smart development?”
Resnick, the lone commissioner participating remotely, asked planning consultant James Hickey for the city’s height limit. Hickey said the limit was eight stories.
“How smart is going eight stories in our city?” Newton said. “There is only one building in our city that is eight stories. I think eight stories is too high if we are going to stay in a small town community.”
Bracchi, who lives in Wilton Station, said he didn’t know if adding a few more residents per acre would negatively affect the city’s small town charm.
“I personally find living in Wilton Station such a great, warm welcoming charm there, I know most of my neighbors, we walk our dogs together,” Bracchi said.