Council to take up rezoning request

Published 10:08 pm Friday, February 14, 2020

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City Council will hold a public hearing Wednesday on a rezoning request that would allow for the building of 23 single-family homes along with a convenience store with gas sales on Factory Street downtown.

If the rezoning is approved, two of the three parcels — about 4.66 of the 7.88 acres of the property — would be rezoned from heavy industrial zoning to residential urban, with the other parcel closest to Factory Street to be rezoned from heavy industrial zoning to general commercial zoning.

The property is about two-thirds of a mile south of downtown and four blocks south of the Birdsong Peanut Factory.

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Ephraim Goodman, who once lived in the Orlando neighborhood in which the development is proposed, told the Planning Commission last month that “this neighborhood needs a breath of fresh air.”

City planners have recommended denial of the project because it does not adhere to the 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Specifically, the proposed residential density of the project is 4.9 units per acre, below the recommended 13 to 24 units per acre in the Central Growth Area’s Core Support Use District, which calls for a mix of housing types, as the Orlando neighborhood mostly has single family homes.

However, the commission unanimously recommended the rezoning, and residents in the Orlando neighborhood supported the project during a public hearing before the commission.

Whitney Saunders, representing Goodman, said that it is 2.7 miles for residents in the neighborhood to get to the nearest store by foot, a Family Dollar on East Washington Street, and that it had been decades since that neighborhood had a corner store.

He also noted two boarded-up homes across the street from the proposed project, at 611 and 711 Factory St.

According to a fiscal impact study submitted by Goodman, the site would generate an annual real estate tax revenue of about $16,040 for the retail buildings, based on an annual valuation of $1.445 million, with the residential part of the project providing a positive net fiscal impact of $25,056 yearly.

Besides proffering no more than 23 homes, Goodman also proffered that each home would have at least 1,600 square feet of heated living space, with no adjacent home or home across the street from one another having the same color scheme and elevation. He is also proffering that the commercial space would be no more than 17,000 square feet. The proposed conceptual site layout designates roughly 3,000 square feet convenience store and gas station and 14,000 square feet of commercial space fronting Factory Street.

The council is also expected to vote on the proposed Capital Improvements Program and Plan.

The complete agenda can be found at

The council’s work session begins at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, while its regular session starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall.