Opposition Returns to Zoning Change for Westberry Site; Planning Department Will Review the Amendment Monday

By Scanlan, Dan | The Florida Times Union, December 12, 2009 | Go to article overview

Opposition Returns to Zoning Change for Westberry Site; Planning Department Will Review the Amendment Monday


Scanlan, Dan, The Florida Times Union


Byline: DAN SCANLAN

Battle lines are forming over a renewed effort to alter zoning on a 6.4-acre site on Westberry Road that could allow an assisted living facility where a house now stands.

The land use amendment is set to come before the city's Planning Department for informal review at 4 p.m. Monday, with city lawmakers acting on it in January before it heads to the state.

The owner's agent, Paul Harden, wants the city to change the site's designation across from Mandarin Park from low-density residential to public buildings and facilities. That zoning proposal doesn't include specifics on what the owner wants to put there, and Harden couldn't be reached for comment.

However, the latest request comes about two years after a similar request on the property at 2829 Westberry Road was withdrawn following community opposition, and an attempt to amend the city law regarding zoning for assisted living facilities was put on hold 13 months ago.

Kevin Meyer owns a home across Flynn Road from the site under question, and said he has "many large, large concerns."

"An assisted living facility, or whatever they build, will be lit extremely brightly," Meyer said. "The other concern is noise and traffic, especially with an assisted living facility with a lot of emergency traffic in and out day and night, plus visitors, doctors, garbage trucks and things like that. Bottom line - it is not a facility that should be put in a residential area."

Mandarin Community Club President Susie Scott, whose group presented a 500-signature petition against the city's proposed 2008 zoning rule change, said an assisted living facility on that site would be too big and too close to homes.

"Members of the community involved in the opposition last year are still adamantly opposed. We feel like it is a commercial operation functioning clearly within a single-family residential area surrounded by single-family homes," Scott said. "It is also in immediate proximity to the Mandarin zoning overlay designed to have very low density throughout the heart of old Mandarin. What is essentially a commercial operation is not compatible."

The 6.4-acre site was originally set to be rezoned two years ago for a proposed 300-bed assisted living facility. …

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