Gardner’s Park Neighborhood Plan
At the request of property and business owners in the Gardner’s Park neighborhood located in the Downtown Redevelopment Area, the CRA initiated a planning effort to create a neighborhood plan and implementation strategy for the area. Ensite, a local planning firm on continuing contract with the City, was engaged to hold three public charrettes and numerous smaller meetings as they prepared a vision for the revitalization of the area. For purposes of this plan, the Gardner’s Park neighborhood is bordered by the river to the north, Fowler Street to the west, Park and Evans Avenue to the east and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard to the south.
After the draft neighborhood plan was prepared, the Gardner’s Park Neighborhood Association (GPNA) held a number of meetings for the residents, property owners and business owners to ensure everyone’s input was considered. As a result of these meetings, the draft plan was revised by the CRA staff and GPNA members to better reflect the neighborhood’s goals.
The final draft of the Gardner’s Park Neighborhood Plan emphasizes infill development at a moderately increased density to accommodate innovative types of urban housing while maintaining the character of the neighborhood. The Plan embraces the urban concept of creating a high quality public realm and envisions walkable blocks with sidewalks and street trees, on-street parking, numerous pocket parks and community gardens. The major elements of the Plan include the following:
Element 1: Increased density for Urban General Zoning category – Urban General is currently 6 units per acre by right and 12 units with a bonus density allocation. The Gardner’s Park Association has requested 12 units per acre by right and up to 18 units with a PUD and bonus density allocation. This would potentially allow two units per 50’ x 150’ lot and up to four units on a double lot as shown in the illustrations on page 15 of the plan.
Element 2: Create bonus density criteria specific to Gardner’s Park – Bonus density criteria for projects in Gardner’s Park should include benefits consistent with the plan for the neighborhood (shared parking lot fund, trolley fund, public art fund, community garden fund).
Element 3: Zoning change along Second Street and portions of Hough Street - There are several parcels between Fowler and Hough Street that have split zoning (Urban Center on the Fowler Street side and Urban General on the Hough Street side). The GPNA’s recommendation is to make the entire parcel Urban Center.
Element 4: Create a new Urban Center 3-5 category – The recommended zoning for Second Street from Fowler Street to Park Avenue would involve creating a new zoning category known as Urban Center 3-5. This category would allow the more intense uses allowed under Urban Center, but instead of a seven story height limit allowed under Urban Center this new category would allow three stories by right and five stories with a PUD.
Element 5: Setback standards – The setback in the Smart Code for Urban General is 15 feet. The recommended front yard setback for the Urban General category in Gardner’s Park is 5 feet from the right of way or the setback of the structures on the adjoining property. Likewise, the side yard setback is recommended at 5 foot instead of 0.
Element 6: Building orientation – Allow principal buildings to face the side of the lot if the side facing the frontage is visually appealing with windows, porches and an attractive façade design.
Element 7: Street lighting – The Association voted to request the same light poles and fixtures as downtown with the understanding that this might entail entering into an assessment program.
Element 8: Signs – The GPNA approved a sign design that identifies the area as Gardner’s Park and has requested that the CRA help fund the manufacturing and installation of up to six signs marking the boundaries of the neighborhood.
Element 9: Security – Security is a strong interest of the GPNA. The group would like to request security cameras, a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) review and continue to grow the Neighborhood Watch program.
Element 10: Second floor building use – Allow office uses on the second floor of existing homes.
Element 11: Enhancement of detention ponds – Enhance the FDOT detention ponds by adding fountains, benches, public art, and walkways. Keep the existing fences in place for added security (access could be restricted to residents) and allow a portion of the area to be used as a dog park.
Element 12: Definition of Active Arts District – A more extensive definition of “artisans” or “arts workshop” is proposed. It allows for up to a 1,500 sq. ft. facility and expands the uses to include baked goods and other hand crafted items.
At the September 28, 2016, meeting, the CRA Board recommended that the Gardner's Park Vision Plan move forward to the Planning Board for their review and recommendation that the Plan is in conformance to the Comprehensive Plan and then to City Council for final adoption. The Board also determined that when the Vision Plan was heard by Planning Board, that the Gardner's Park Neighborhood Association's recommendations be considered for inclusion.
To learn when the Gardner’s Park meetings are scheduled, you may either check this webpage at a later date or subscribe at this link Notify Me. This second option will not only provide you with notifications for the Gardner’s Park meetings, but will also notify those on the list of other meetings scheduled by the CRA such as the CRA Board or CRA Advisory Board meetings.