The long-gestating project took a step forward at this week’s City Council meeting.
Maitland residents filled City Hall to debate the long-planned Enzian expansion at a contentious City Council meeting Monday, July 23.
For nearly two hours, city council members listened to the debate about the Maitland theater’s proposed plan for a 11,500-square-foot theater expansion, 3,706-square-foot administrative office expansion and a 530-square-foot entry walkway. The features that would make up that expansion include two theaters, new restrooms, a concession area and kitchen, and additional parking.
The proposal has had a long development history with the city, initially being pitched in 2015 and modified after a Planning and Zoning public hearing in December 2017. An additional Planning and Zoning hearing in June resulted in five more modifications. Two of those — the Enzian providing enhanced safety measures to a proposed crosswalk on Magnolia Avenue and signage directing patrons to park at the Park Maitland School — were incorporated by city staff into the ordinance. The theater also agreed to an easement with the Park Maitland school next door for additional parking on its property.
More than 20 Maitland and Orlando citizens spoke both in support and opposition of the expansion. Those against the development raised concerns about inadequate parking leading to cars in the surrounding neighborhoods; the proposed tree lines being insufficient in blocking light; the impermanent parking deal with the Park Maitland school; and increased traffic.
“The goal in mind is to bring more people onto the land and keeping them longer so they can enjoy the concessions and the restaurant and the bar,” said Thomas Kane, a Maitland resident who lives near the Enzian. “That means after the movie, they stay in their parking spots and (with) the next group in, there isn’t a turnover. … It’s a good institution, it’ll remain a good institution, but what they want to do is going to place an intolerable burden on the community.”
Many in favor of the addition spoke to the Enzian’s cultural and economic impact for the city.
City staff presented council member with three options. They could approve the development plan outright; approve with a few amendments of their own; or deny the plan entirely.
Council unanimously approved the motion. The public hearing and action date will be held on Monday, Aug. 13.
Council members decided on setting the rolled back millage as 4.0261, setting the proposed operating millage rate as 4.3453 and the proposed voted debt millage rate as .3150 for the 2018 tax year. Per city documents, the majority vote millage rate is the city’s adjusted rolled back millage multiplied by the change in per capita income.
“We still (have) millions and millions of dollars to spend on aging infrastructure,” Mayor Dale McDonald said. “There’s no excuse for them to be in the condition they are today, but they are because people up here never bothered to do the difficult thing and spent money on things that aren’t sexy and don’t make anybody look good. … If we have to spend an extra buck or two now to make it right, so be it.”
The council approved the three motions. As the meeting’s decision was only a setup in compliance with the Truth in Milage Compliance program, a public hearing for the budget and millage rates will be held on Monday, Sept. 10.
The City Council made a number of nominations for city boards early on in the meeting. Grey Squires Binford was reappointed to the Board of Adjustment and Appeals for a new three-year term, and Cliff Tate was nominated to the Transportation Advisory Board following Luis Hevia’s departure from the position.
Councilwoman Bev Reponen urged citizens to apply for city boards such as the Transportation Advisory Board given the city’s issues with traffic.