Hammon Park Denied

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The request for an amendment of the Master Development Plan by the Hammon Park developers was denied in a 5 to 2 vote by the Planning and Zoning Board yesterday evening.  The two alternates also voted to deny the request although their votes did not count.

Lynda Mahoney brought up the fact that the density of the development had increased from 29 per acre to over 38 per acre since the original plans for the property.  She also cited the absence of any outdoor space for children noting that there are no nearby parks and parents would have to drive them to places to play thus negating the “walkabilty” claims made by the developers.

Manuel Occhiogrosso noted the development’s almost total lack of green space, stating that even notoriously dense medieval housing had courtyards and outdoor spaces incorporated into them.

Lynda Davis also expressed concern over the absence of green space calling the project, “A pretty new warehouse for people.”

Board alternate Christopher McVoy pointed out that while developer’s infiltration drainage system did return water to the ground it was not as good as having permeable green space.  He explained that it is the organic matter that filters out pollution from the water running off roofs and asphalt.

Board chair John Paxman and vice chair Phil Spinelli were in favor of granting the amendment.  Paxman cited changes in the property size and layout due to the developers selling the parcel to the south to Publix had affected the density and that the infrastructure had already been installed.  Spinelli was concerned about the project’s 82% of impervious surface and lack of green space but said that we live in a city not a town and it was important to get the property on the tax rolls.

Linda Davis rhetorically asked, “Isn’t that property in the CRA district?”  Pointing out that the taxes would go to the CRA, not to the general tax role.  She also noted that residential developments do not contribute much in the way of taxes due to their larger use of city services.

After the vote vice chair Spinelli loudly quipped, “Can you say lawsuit?”

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