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"People don't know:" Residents vow to watch North Port leaders in city rezoning

City leaders say it's in everyone's best interests to have a say in controlling local growth and development
North Port
Posted at 11:04 PM, Mar 12, 2024

NORTH PORT, Fla. — Several North Port residents say they aren’t happy with a planned citywide rezoning.

"They didn't find out from the city website; they found out from my Facebook post that their area is getting rezoned, and they're not happy," concerned resident Pam Tokarz said.

Tokarz isn't afraid to voice her concerns about the upcoming citywide rezone. She even helped start a group called No Rezone North Port FL.

“There are a lot of small neighborhoods getting rezoned, and a lot of people don't know," Tokarz said.
 
She told Fox 4 she supports some commercial rezoning. However, she worries how much, and where.

"Down the road, as the population increases, we're going to need more commercial," Tokarz said. "We're going to need that bigger tax base. We just want to make sure this rezone is done correctly."

City leaders are assuring the public the necessary measures will take place. They also said it's greatly needed.

"It's extremely critical that we increase our commercial base," said North Port Development Director Alaina Ray. "There's generally a rule that you should have 30% of your area as commercial so that your tax base is balanced."

Ray agrees the city rezoning has two goals, including improving that commercial base from 8% commercial to 20%. However, rezoning more land as commercial could also help protect parts of the city from flooding, which was a problem during Hurricane Ian.

City officials said commercial rezoning can also help make sure over-development doesn’t eliminate natural flood protections. They are working to build in protections for existing residents and homeowners that will ensure their properties won't be negatively impacted.

Fox 4 was told the current zoning map for the entire city should be repealed and replaced by this summer.