By SUSAN MARKIN:
The Shiny Sheet continues to quote Councilman (Michael) Pucillo saying, “the PUD will preserve all that we love about Royal Poinciana Way.” This is the biggest scam on the residents that I have ever seen in our town. How does more than doubling the density to 13 units/acre (a total of over 80-plus units for the block) and more than doubling the heights of the buildings to 43 feet (equivalent to five stories) “preserve” what we love about our historic, small scale, Main Street?
People are not being told the whole story and the council is overlooking the facts that the PUD plan does not adequately address details relative to: parking, congestion, no market study conducted to justify the increase in density (adding to an already glutted condo market), and massive consolidation of properties on the street.
There are other negatives to the PUD zoning. Did you know that it will allow two-story bars and restaurants on Royal Poinciana Way (Clematis, here we come)? Most residents are not aware of all the details in the PUD zoning. They just keep hearing from Pucillo and the Shiny Sheet that the PUD will protect the street. If we truly want to protect the street, we should keep the existing zoning and not change the entire town’s Comprehensive Plan to permit increased density that will permeate the entire town’s direction in the future (which is why these changes have to be approved by the state … which is why this is a major deal).
The residents need to know all the details and be able to vote on this issue. It should not be decided by just three councilmen. If they think it is such a great plan, why are they afraid to put it on the ballot and let the residents decide this major change in direction for our town? Hint: They don’t want the residents to know the details until it is too late and the buildings are being demolished. Does anyone truly believe that we have to change our zoning codes and Comprehensive Plan just to fix the abandoned Testa gas station? Truth is, without the promise of major redevelopment opportunities, the gas station would either still be open or replaced with a leasable two-story building that would have blended in with the rest of the street by now.
Don’t be fooled by this PUD. Common sense should tell you that there is more at play here than just fixing the Testa gas station. Common sense should also tell you that Royal Poinciana Way can be rejuvenated without major redevelopment to the entire area — that is what communities do when they truly want to preserve the character of their town. They do not demolish, totally redevelop and call it “preservation.” The real question is, will resident apathy allow this scam to happen? I hope not.