Residents often have concerns about potential businesses moving in next door to them and come to a Commission meeting insisting that the Commission halt the project. It’s a common misconception that the City Commission has the power to stop development, but it’s not the case - private property rights are an important aspect in land development.
There are land uses permitted by right in a zoning district and there are uses that are permitted if certain conditions are met. For example, a large retail establishment commonly referred to in the industry as a "big box" is a conditional use and must first meet several criteria before being approved to build. These criteria involve providing studies addressing traffic, noise, proposing a building and site design that meets the architectural guidelines for large scale development, and entering into a long term maintenance agreement. Additionally, the use needs to further the goals, objective and policies of the City's Comprehensive Plan and satisfy the buffering requirements that are listed in the code.
What residents may not know that if the prospective business owner owns that land, the City can only ensure that they are abiding by the criteria. The plans are openly discussed at two public hearings after property owners within 400' of the proposed development are notified. The Planning and Zoning Board is a recommending body to the City Commission, which makes the determination the criteria have or have not been met. If the developer meets the criteria, the City Commission must approve the project by law or be subject to potentially being held liable for private property rights held by the property owner should they file suit.