Chamber takes stance on urban infill

From the Tallahassee Democrat

The shortage of residential lots for redevelopment is prompting the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce to push the city of Tallahassee and Leon County for more urban infill on surplus government property.

Chamber Chairman and Tallahassee attorney Reggie Bouthillier sent a March 20 letter to City Manager Rick Fernandez and Leon County Administrator Vince Long in support of local government’s conversion of surplus lands in the city limits.

The chamber, which has recently become increasingly vocal on community issues, believes this will create economic opportunities for the private sector and address a dire need.

“The chamber requests that, in the future, the city of Tallahassee and Leon County notify and engage the chamber for each proposal to dispose of surplus lands,” Bouthillier wrote. “The redevelopment of surplus lands in the urban service area should be accomplished with the goal of increasing residential densities and commercial intensities (and in appropriate cases a mix of those uses) to promote urban infill. At this time, there is a tremendous market demand (and a significant lack of supply) for residential density within the urban service area, particularly within the city’s urban core.”

The letter comes on the heels of a controversial proposal to rezone and sell 9.5 acres of city property in Myers Park, bordering Cascades Park, for a high-density residential development. City commissioners rejected that proposal under pressure from homeowners who feared such density would erode the neighborhood’s quality of life.

Instead, commissioners opted for a group home for people with developmental disabilities on the site.

Earlier this month, the chamber crafted another letter supporting the city’s plan to build a substation in targeted northeast areas that line Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.