Thursday, October 19, 2006

Vistalamar Townhouses - 800 block of South Federal - west side

One of the items on the Planning and Zoning Board agenda last night was a project along South Federal Highway, just south of 8th Avenue South on the west side of the road. The property is not in a historic district - the historic districts along Federal Highway begin as you go north of 6th Avenue South.

It consists of a three story, four unit townhouse building with separate garages off the alley. A courtyard area is designed for the area between the main structure containing the residential units. I am trying to up load some photos of the project, but Blogger seems to have indigestion this afternoon. I will attempt those later.

There are a couple things that are particularly important regarding this project. It contains a significant about of architectural detail and is nicely modulated in relation to the street. It is also situated between two existing buildings that are about of equal height, but clearly from a different time and place. Access to the garage is off an alley - to be paved and improved by the developer - including utilities.

But, the most important aspect is that it is not a "double-loaded" (two back to back residential structures) townhouse project. The City Commission discussed this issue when considering the extension of the Zoning in Progress (ZIP). The Commission ended up approving the item on first reading, but following the initiative of Commissioner Jennings, will look at compatibility issues between three story townhouses along Federal and their impact to adjacent single family neighborhoods (that are predominantly one and two story). This is being addressed by the Master Plan and extending the ZIP merely continues the regulations that revised the required setbacks along this corridor. Since the adoption of the ZIP, we have only seen one application for a double stacked townhouse and that one was turned down related to Certificate of Appropriateness request for demolition - and also in consideration of what was planned to go in its place.

So, what do we learn from this? We know that the current ZIP is working and that attractive residential projects are still possible, even in this un-even residential marketplace. When we receive the proposed language for our revised zoning code (land development regulations), we can do additional tweaking of the language. It is also important to note that the existing double-stacked townhouses were all approved under the previous regulations.

"Political advertisement paid for and approved by Wes Blackman for Commissioner – District #3"