Planning Board approves moratorium
News Herald (Panama City, FL), 2014-07-15
July 15 -- PANAMA CITY -- The Panama City Planning Board on Monday approved changes to the city's comprehensive plan and then approved a moratorium on developments that do not comply.
The changes to the plan, the moratorium and all the planning board decisions will be heard by the City Commission on July 22 .
The moratorium was specific to affordable housing, City Attorney Nevin Zimmerman said. The changes to the plan related to affordable housing include changing "the city shall grant incentives," to "the city may grant incentives." The initiatives specified in the planning code include density bonuses and impact-fee relief.
Attorney Derrick Bennett represented Marie Hotel One , who wanted to place an affordable housing complex downtown at the former site of the Marie Hotel , and objected to the changes. Planning Board Chairman Ray Dabuque said the development would need the density incentive to pass the occupancy standard with the way the property is zoned. Mixed use for instance allows for 20 units per acre. Dabuque said Marie Hotel One can still apply for the incentives but it is up to city officials to grant them.
The moratorium ends March 1 or whenever the updated comprehensive plan is approved by the state.
Dabuque was worried about another plan change related to affordable housing, specifically striking, "the city shall streamline permits." The section was approved after the planning director changed "shall" to "may." Dabuque was concerned the plan conflicted with Florida statutes detailing the requirements for SHIP funds. Panama City received $168,588 in SHIP funds last year.
The planning board also denied land use and zoning amendments for a proposed affordable housing development at 1615 Florida Ave. Board members cited that all of the other properties in that block, on one side of the street, were zoned commercial. Board member Waylon Graham added that residents might complain about surrounding businesses, specifically a gas company.
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