Maitland City Council members approved the updated city framework at their March 11 meeting
Maitland laid out its goals for the future by approving an updated development plan during a lengthy city council meeting Monday, March 11.
After years of planning and preparation, Maitland moved to adopt its 2035 Comprehensive Development Plan.
The plan, which updates the framework and legal basis for various developments in the city, has been worked on by city staff and the public since 2017. Various city boards have held public outreach meetings on the matter since last fall and Council voted for the plan’s transmittal in early December.
Community Development Director Dan Matthys, who spearheaded the drafting of the citywide plan, touted the final product as something that would facilitate growth in the city in coming years without sacrificing value for the existing Maitland community.
“In all the briefings I’ve had with all the council members, I kept hearing the same thing — they wanted something bold and impressive, “ Matthys said. “Something that allows flexibility as the market changes. We don’t want it to lock us into something that’s going to hurt us in the future. It has to be flexible but still protect the residents that are here.”
Councilwoman Bev Reponen was unsure about the plan’s land development standards and density regulations, sparking an hourlong debate among council members. A proposed addition to the plan is the DICE program, which would provide funding for city-prioritized projects and could provide developers with additional units per acre for developments if they could include a city-beneficial project in their designs. Companies could also contribute to a city enhancement fund for projects like an Independence Lane extension or additional public parking downtown.
Councilman Mike Thomas feared the program would have uncertainty in the process where developers could buy into projects for additional units or that the city would be locked in to provide certain number of units to developers.
“I don’t understand why it’s not (buying your way in),” Thomas said. “That’s kind of what we’re asking: ‘Here’s a project, make sure you give us this amount of money.’ Once we say that, how can we say no to someone who writes a big enough check?”
Matthys told the council the DICE program, which could still be modified, would not ensure a guaranteed number and that an ordinance with a framework for how amounts would be determined would be presented to council at some point soon.
“This in no way guarantees anyone that maximum density; it says you have a right to ask for that density,” Matthys said.
The council ultimately approved the plan, with some modifications, 4-1 with Reponen dissenting.
UTILITY DEBT FUND
Council adopted an ordinance authorizing the city to borrow $20 million for water and wastewater improvement projects through a state loan program.
The money, part of Florida’s State Revolving Fund program, will go to a number of utility projects highlighted in the city’s capital improvements program. Those include replacing 17-92 water mains; a Dommerich Hills Sanitary Sewer connection to coincide with a new master lift station on Tuscarora Drive; new drinking water supply line upgrades for Gamewell, Shellpoint, Druid Hills and Dommerich Estates; and a new force main for lift station six.
The program has interests rates ranging from 1.25% to 4.75%, according to city documents.
The city plans to approve a utility facility plan, which is required by the Florida Department of Environmental protection, to implement the improvements and authorize the loan.