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City Commission accepts commercial rezoning request on Miccosukee and Blairstone

An open hall with chairs, podium, and three flags in a pedestal in the background
Craig Moore
WFSU Public Media
The chambers of the Tallahassee City Commission

The Tallahassee City Commission approved rezoning for a property located at the northeast corner of Miccosukee Road and North Blairstone Road at Wednesday’s commission meeting. The vote passed 3-2 with Mayor John Dailey, Mayor Pro-Tem Curtis Richardson, and Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox approving, and Commissioners Jeremy Matlow and Jack Porter voting against.

The City Commission denied a rezoning request from the property, which is currently owned by Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic, in May 2021. A Leon County court recently found that the Commission’s denial was improper, quashing the decision.

“Given what the courts have said, I’m not sure how we overcome that,” said Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox on the court’s decision.

The property is currently zoned for offices, but the owners are seeking for it to be zoned as general commercial land, which would allow different commercial businesses to be developed and operate on the property.

Residents are concerned that commercial development would bring unwanted noise and traffic to their neighborhood along a road that was initially considered a greenway.

“It’s going to open the doors for something that has a lot of traffic in the evening hours,” said Sunshine Valdes, a resident who lives nearby the property, “at the times that we’re all using the Goose Pond Greenway or the Blairstone Extension to do our walks, to walk our dogs, to ride our bikes.”

Valdes was joined by many of her neighbors who spoke overwhelmingly against the rezoning request. They stated that traffic, noise, and the smell of diesel gas from a 24-hour gas station were just a few of the reasons they were opposed.

At the beginning of the hearing, Reggie Bouthillier, the attorney representing the property owners, requested that Commissioners Jeremy Matlow and Jack Porter recuse themselves from the vote. Bouthillier stated that David Bellamy, one of the people listed as applicants for the rezoning request, is running for Matlow’s seat on the City Commission, which could prevent Matlow from being impartial.

The request for Porter to recuse herself was based on records requests that show Porter held a meeting with citizens concerned about the development.

City Attorney Cassandra Jackson did not recommend that Matlow or Porter needed to recuse themselves.

There are no current development plans for the property.

Follow @bgrutherford99

Brett Rutherford is a reporter and news researcher at WFSU Pubic Media. From Riverview, Florida, he has earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Florida State University. During his time at Florida State, he was a reporter within the sports department at WVFS, the student-run on-campus radio station. In 2020, he served as Sports Director during his senior year and hosted the weekly talk show Tomahawk Talk.

Email Brett: brutherford2@fsu.edu