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Mahan Corridor FAQ

Q. What is the Comprehensive Plan?

A. In 1985, the Florida Legislature passed the Local Government Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulation Act (Chapter 163, Part II, Florida Statutes). This legislation required all counties and jurisdictions in the State of Florida to adopt comprehensive plans which guides future growth and development.  Comprehensive plans establish elements which typically include issues such as: future land use, housing, transportation, capital improvements, utilities, conservation, economic development, and intergovernmental coordination.

The Tallahassee-Leon County Comprehensive Plan was adopted on July 16, 1990. The Comprehensive Plan contains three volumes. Volumes II and III contain the data and analysis on which the Goals, Objectives, and Policies of Volume I are based. Volume I provides guidance in evaluating individual development proposals within a defined growth management strategy.

The Goals, Objectives, and Policies within Volume I also provide the basis for the individual land development regulations formulated to implement this plan. For example, zoning districts are established in the land development regulations which provide allowable densities, intensities and permissible land uses. Ultimately, the zoning districts are implemented under the guidance and direction of the future land map and must be determined consistent with the future land use category in which it is located.

The Comprehensive Plan is a dynamic document which is presently amended on a biannual basis.

Q.  What is the relationship between the Land Development Code and the Comprehensive Plan?

A.  The Land Development Code (LDC) includes zoning regulations which provide further detail to the Goals, Objectives, and Policies of the Comprehensive Plan.  For instance, zoning regulations provide a list of allowable uses and setback requirements.

Q. What is the Mahan Corridor?

A. The Mahan Corridor is generally identified as the area along U.S. 90 (Mahan Drive) from Dempsey Mayo Road to Interstate 10. Mahan Drive is a principal arterial roadway facility which serves a dual role as an attractive gateway into our community as well as a major traffic corridor for moving both people and goods, including linkages between other major facilities. Currently, this segment of roadway is under construction to widen it from two lanes to four.   It is anticipated once this widening is complete or near completion, that commercial and retail development will make every effort to establish itself along the corridor in the typical strip commercial pattern.

In anticipation of future growth pressures, nodes were created at several of the intersections which serve to direct and accommodate non-residential and medium density residential uses in a more compact and efficient development pattern.  The nodes will be limited and length and depth, according to the proposed comprehensive plan amendment, at the following intersections of Mahan Drive: Dempsey Mayo Rd., Edenfield/Highland Dr., and Thornton Rd. These nodes will be designed to be transit-ready as well as provide for a development pattern that facilitates alternative modes of transportation and encourages pedestrian mobility.  The implementing zoning districts will be drafted based on input, including feedback received at the Mahan Corridor open houses. Implementing zoning districts will include design standards and regulations such as buffering, signage and lighting limitations that serve to protect existing single-family residential neighborhoods and the aesthetic character of the corridor.

Q. What has Prompted the Proposed Changes to the Mahan Corridor?

A. The proposed amendment implements Leon County Board of County Commissioners’ direction to create a land use category that combines the Mahan Residential Corridor and the Mahan Residential Corridor Node land use categories. The proposed amendment also addresses Tallahassee City Commission’s direction to add more land designated Mahan Residential Corridor Node to the Dempsey Mayo Road Node (Area 1), thereby making it a true urban node. The proposed map amendment, in conjunction with text amendment PCT 090212, streamlines the implementation policies for Mahan Drive (US 90) Corridor Study.

Q.  What is the goal of the Open Houses for Mahan Corridor?

A.   The Leon County Department of Growth and Environmental Management (GEM) is seeking input on the drafting of LDC regulations that will implement the Comprehensive Plan Amendment under review by the Florida Department of Community Affairs.  These regulations will provide more specific detail than that found in the Comprehensive Plan.

Q. What are the Allowable Land Uses, Intensities, and Densities in the Proposed Mahan Gateway Node Future Land Use Category?

A. The allowable land uses in the proposed Mahan Gateway Node Future Land Use Category are residential, commercial, office and community services.

Generally, the Mahan Gateway Node will allow for medium density residential development, ranging from 4-16 dwelling units per acre. Allowable densities will be determined by the zoning district and proximity to existing Residential Preservation (RP) areas surrounding the nodes. The maximum residential density (16 dwellings per acre) will be allowed only in the mixed-use zoning district. Residential uses and types will range from single-family detached houses to multi-family residential structures.  However, residential zoning districts will only be allowed to be established immediately adjacent to existing residential preservation areas. This will help facilitate compatibility with surrounding RP areas.

The Mahan Gateway Node will a maximum intensity up to 12,000 gross square feet of non-residential development in the mixed-use zoning district. The mixed-use zoning districts will be limited to within 800 feet of the Mahan Drive intersections. This intensity will only be allowed in mixed-use developments, which combine residential and non-residential uses in a common plan of development.

Q. When Are These Proposals Scheduled to Take Effect?

A. There is a joint Board of County Commissioners and City Commission adoption hearing scheduled for October 13, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. at the Leon County Courthouse Commission Chambers.  The Department of Growth and Environmental Management anticipates the implementing zoning districts will be adopted concurrently or sometime shortly thereafter the adoption hearing.