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St. Cloud Council rejects 6-month moratorium on new development

St. Cloud Council rejects 6-month moratorium on new development
The St. Cloud Envision master plan extends beyond the city limits, to include future development on the east short of Lake Tohopekaliga. (GAI/CSG)

St. Cloud's City Council voted 3-2 Thursday night against implementing a six-month moratorium on new residential development that would have largely mirrored the Osceola County policy that went into effect in November.

The proposed ordinance would have stopped all approvals and processing for Comprehensive Plan amendments and rezoning applications in the city. But a majority on the City Council said it would have carved out so many exemptions as to render it ineffective.

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The ordinance would have exempted virtually all commercial, industrial and mixed-use projects, as well as planned unit developments, affordable housing, infill development less than 10 acres and everything in the central business district.

When pressed, Planning Director Andre Anderson told council the proposed moratorium wouldn't alleviate the department's workload enough to allow St. Cloud planners time to update the city's building codes and regulations.

"Due to the number of exemptions, it would not make a difference," Anderson said. "It's almost business as usual. It would really only affect residential uses that are purely residential."

The Greater Orlando Builders Association opposed the moratorium, calling it a "nuclear option" that should not be used as a planning tool.

"They ultimately do more harm than good by driving away investment and stunting economic growth," GOBA President William Silliman wrote in a letter to the council. "In many cases a moratorium's negative effects and ramifications are felt for years thereafter."

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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