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"What have we turned into?": North Port residents upset over rezoning project

Some North Port residents and one city commissioner are worried about an upcoming project.
North Port rezone project
Posted at 10:18 PM, Apr 12, 2024

NORTH PORT, Fla. — There's a growing pain in North Port that's becoming a big pain in the neck for one city commissioner and some residents.

"Now all of these developments are coming in, and they're building two, three-story units, so when I look at my back yard, guess what? I no longer have my trees," said North Port resident Robin San Vicente. "I have this three-story condominium. I didn't move here for that."

City leaders are rewriting the unified land development code, which includes changing the city's zoning map. The city needs to do this to grow the local economy, so more businesses can help give the city a diverse foundation in terms of tax base and services.

However, San Vicente and North Port City Commissioner Debbie McDowell aren't in favor of the current proposal.

"Now, you're either going to get a church in your back yard, or you're going to get condominiums," San Vicente said. "It's like, what the heck! What have we turned into as a city?"

McDowell thinks the move will sacrifice quality of life for single-family homes.

"Mixed-use 1 will not allow any single-family homes," the commissioner said. "So, what is now allowed as a single-family home — if it gets rezoned to mixed-use 1, or mixed-use 2, they will not be able to build a single-family home on that property."

McDowell said mixed-use 1 and 2 allows some businesses and residents to share the same property. She wants the city to give more clarity on this. San Vicente shares the same view.

However, city officials said they've over communicated the situation to residents.

"We've done podcasts," said North Port Director of Development Services Alaina Ray. "We've done social media. We've done fact sheets. We've done interviews with our local news agencies, and those are all things that we don't have to do according to state statutes."

The city wants to have this process completed by Summer 2024.

You can find more information on the large-scale rezoning project by clicking on this link.