Below are the briefs from the Leon County commission meeting that took place on October 11, 2022.
One of the first agenda items heard by the commission was the first and only public hearing on the approval of the development of the Cawthon Multi-Family site for northeast Tallahassee. As Tallahassee Reports previously reported, an apartment complex is adjacent to the current Publix development at Bannerman Road and Bull Headley Road.
Public comments noted environmental concerns related to Lake Iamonia, traffic issues for Bannerman Road, and generally how things like the community and schools are unprepared to handle higher population density.
Commissioner Brian Welch said he was confident that “development review has gone through county processes, they’re thorough, they’re thorough, Barry Wilcox and his staff, and our staff, they make sure developers are held accountable for what they are empowered to do.”
Commissioner Kristin Dozier said that while the Northeast historically did not have apartment complexes, she hinted that a broader conversation needed to take place regarding growth in the historically residential Northeast when housing in Leon County is tense.
Commission Chairman Bill Proctor relied on Welch’s leadership to eventually develop a new, revised management plan for Lake Iamonia.
Commissioners considered an agenda item titled “Overview of local ordinances that require notice of rent increases to certain residential tenants and allow such tenants to be released from their residential leases, without penalty, in certain circumstances”.
Much of the conversation focused on Commission Chairman Proctor asking “Is it fair, fair, … that tenants receive notice within 60 days, or 30 days, or 15 days, if rent increases will happen when their lease expires. That’s the question. You’re all looking at stuff that has nothing to do with the question. Isn’t this question about notice if are you raising your rent?
It was noted during the conversation that according to Florida TaxWatch, rent in Leon County has increased 15% in recent years. Proctor continued his comments saying:
“What we need to give is notice of how many days notice if we feel the landlord should give tenants. And you’re right, Commissioner Minor, people are done getting screwed all over town and ever since President Biden told people they don’t have to… or suspend their rent payments, landlords to across America came back with a vengeance because they were under some communist regime that they were told ‘You can’t get your money. And it’s been hell to pay since President Biden did this.
Proctor then said maybe the commission should have a conversation about rent control.
Ultimately, the commission approved a motion to seek demographic information on who is dealing with the most severe rent increases in Leon County.
During the public hearing portion, many citizens of the Fort Braden community expressed their opposition to renaming the Fort Braden Community Center after the death of Commissioner Jimbo Jackson. Citizens expressed their deep appreciation and friendship for Jackson and for his service to the community at Fort Braden School and on the commission’s board of directors, but they felt, given the community’s history and of the community centre, that it would remain as is.
The commission, after feedback from citizens, said it may put a hold on a new sign at the community center with Jackson’s name on it until District 2 has an elected representative on the council after the November election. .
The entire meeting can be viewed here.