Oakland gives green light to Bayview project

The Town Commission was not in favor of the lot sizes but had to approve the site plan because the applicant met all the requirements of the Town Code.


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The Oakland Town Commission was required to accept a proposed subdivision south of West Colonial Drive because the applicant had met all the requirements of the Town Code. But commissioners expressed disappointment at the Nov. 8 meeting that the applicant ignored citizen complaints about the lakefront lot sizes.

Venue Development LLC wants to develop a 20-lot single-family subdivision, Bayview at Johns Lake, off Remington Road. The preliminary subdivision plans were brought to the commission’s Aug. 9 meeting, but the vote was tabled because of three issues, including lot sizes and density.

The vote was again tabled at the Oct. 25 commission meeting to give the developer more time to address the concerns.

Neighbors in the adjacent Johns Landing community have complained about the three 80-foot-wide lakefront sites and have asked the developer to consider two 120-foot lots. The developer refused to make the changes based on the Town Code, which requires a minimum lot width of 70 feet.

In his presentation, Town Planner Brad Cornelius stressed that Johns Landing was built with different standards. It was developed before the town created its design district with minimum lot widths, and the lots had to be larger because that neighborhood was built on septic and not sewer.

“The code is different today than it was, and your code today does allow the smaller lot sizes,” Cornelius said.

“I’m not happy that the lots are smaller than the typical on Johns Lake but I am very concerned about the law, and you met all the requirements,” Commissioner Sal Ramos said. “I wish they were larger; that’s how I feel. … I don’t want to get into a lawsuit and waste taxpayer money. … I just wanted to make that clear.”

Mayor Kathy Stark agreed with the commissioner.

“I understand where we are legally, and we are prepared to deal with that,” she said. “This is a legality, and we are prepared to live with that legality. That’s the best we can do at this point. If someone else comes in and we change our code, then great. But this one got through the gate. I’m sure it will be a very nice development. It does really fit in with the other two developments for the most part.”

Stark opened the meeting for public comment, and several residents took the opportunity to voice their opinions. None was in favor of the project.

“Legally he can do exactly what they proposed — but just because something is legal doesn’t make it right,” said John Dolezar. “I’m a lakefront homeowner, and I think what they’re doing is degrading to those of us who live on the lake. I oppose these three lots. … If they would make it two lots, it would go a long way in public perception. I don’t appreciate the fact of what he’s doing, and the fact that he can do it doesn’t make it right.”

Others questioned the percentage of trees being removed and the quality of the buffer between the project and the existing Johns Landing community.

Commissioners were given a chance to express their opinions as well.

“I’m going to be voting based on legality, based on the current code, that’s what I’m going to be voting on,” Ramos said.

“I don’t agree with them when they say the lot sizes are equal,” Commissioner Rick Polland said. “All they’re talking about is lot width, and they aren’t equal. You need to talk about the whole lot size.”

Commissioner Joseph McMullen agreed.

“I share the sentiment,” he said. “It is what it is.”

Before asking for the vote, Stark stated, “(At the) first meeting, the applicant was woefully unprepared; second meeting, we were pushing back; third meeting, we’re here now.”

The motion passed. The applicant must go through two more approvals.

 

IN OTHER BUSINESS

• Commissioners passed the first public hearing of an ordinance that would govern how the town manages and permits third-party events by defining what constitutes a special event, determining when such events would require commission approval and creating a standardized method for levying fees to cover the real costs associated with such events.

The main goal of this process is to ensure proper planning, organization and safety procedures are in place for all approved third-party events held in the town limits.

• The commission approved the second public hearing of an ordinance that makes amendments to the town’s agreement with the Oakland Park subdivision.

• The commission approved the consent agenda, which included acceptance of the audit for Oakland Avenue Charter School.

• Polland reported the Pumpkin Glow event at the Oakland Nature Preserve was a success, showcasing almost 100 jack-o’-lanterns and painted pumpkins and drawing 2,100 guests.

 

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