Updated: Sep 3, 2021
There has been so much false information put out there about the new density and zoning changes so I thought I'd correct some of the rumors and dare I say lies. Yes, after years of studies and countless public presentations the commissioners finally passed rather sweeping land use and zoning changes.
The commissioners listened carefully to the public and were keen not to change zoning in our residential neighborhoods nor stray from the small town feel we all appreciate about Wilton Manors. So when are those sky scrapers coming to Wilton Manors? Never, or at least not in most of our lifetimes. The reality is that there are so few sites within the city that can even accommodate the approved maximum building heights of 8 stories. Be thinking in the immediate proximity to 5 Points. Even that is largely a stretch because you would likely need to combine separate parcels now used by successful businesses such as Wells Fargo, Kalis McIntee Funeral Center and others.
Nor is it always wise to tear down a shopping plaza to make way for something brand spanking new. Take the shopping plaza that now has both the Alibi and Hunters as key anchors. While the current plaza owner legally could demolish the entire plaza, it simply doesn't make economic or strategic sense. Rather we may see preliminary renderings in the coming months to add some shopping, at least a 100 residential units and a substantial parking garage.
As for a hotel, that remains a huge goal for the city of Wilton Manors and the new zoning ordinance would now allow hotels along the designated roadways within the TOC's. Be thinking the most heavily travelled roads such as Oakland Park Blvd., Andrew's Ave., Wilton Drive or Dixie Hwy., near 5 Points. Again, not in our cherished single family neighborhoods.
What about McDonalds on every corner? It's not going to happen in Wilton Manors largely because while the new ordinance does allow for drive through establishments, it's strictly limited in the types of businesses allowed to do that. A few examples would be a coffee shop, tea house, a pharmacy or bank.
It's important to remember that when the city was drafting land use and zoning changes it was in hopes that we would start marching away from single use projects such as all commercial. Rather city planners and commissioners opted to embrace a mixed use concept allowing for residential dwellings within a site that can also have shops and restaurants. Ultimately it is that walkability that drove the decisions every step of the way.
So yes some change will becoming over time, but don't be expecting it to occur overnight. Keep in mind that if our residence find the pace of growth to be too severe we can always make our collective voices heard and ordinances can be modified and scaled back.