The Tallahassee City Commission approved the rezoning of a property on the northeast corner of Miccosukee Road and North Blair Stone Road during Wednesday’s commission meeting. The vote passed 3-2 with Mayor John Dailey, Pro-Tem Mayor Curtis Richardson and Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox approving, and Commissioners Jeremy Matlow and Jack Porter voting against.
The city commission denied an application to rezone the property, which is currently owned by the Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic, in May 2021. A Leon County court recently found the commission’s denial was improper, reversing the decision.
“Given what the courts have said, I don’t know how we will overcome this,” Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox said of the court’s decision.
The property is currently zoned for office use, but the owners would like it to be zoned as general commercial land, which would allow different commercial businesses to be developed and operated on the property.
Residents fear commercial development will bring unwanted noise and traffic to their neighborhood along a road originally considered a greenway.
“It’s going to open the doors to something that has a lot of traffic in the evenings,” said Sunshine Valdes, a resident who lives near the property, “at times when we all use the Goosepond Greenway or the Blair Stone Extension to do our walks, walking our dogs, riding our bikes.
Valdes was joined by several of her neighbors who spoke out overwhelmingly against the rezoning request. They said traffic, noise and the smell of diesel from a 24-hour gas station were just some of the reasons they objected.
At the start of the hearing, Reggie Bouthillier, the lawyer representing the owners, asked commissioners Jeremy Matlow and Jack Porter to withdraw from the vote. Bouthillier said David Bellamy, one of the people listed as candidates for the rezoning petition, is running for Matlow’s seat on the city commission, which could prevent Matlow from being impartial.
Porter’s request to recuse himself was based on requests for records that show Porter held a meeting with citizens concerned about the development.
City Attorney Cassandra Jackson did not recommend Matlow or Porter recuse himself.
There are no current development plans for the property.