Selby Gardens master plan heads back to City Hall

Editor & Publisher

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens request to amend the City Comprehensive Plan and Code to allow the redevelopment of its Bayfront property continues on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at City Hall.

The City entertained more than eight hours of debate and community input over the plan by Selby which includes a five-story parking garage, rooftop restaurant and expansion of its Botanical Gardens.

It is the parking garage and restaurant that has drawn criticism primarily from neighbors to the east and south who believe they will be impacted by an increase in activity at the site.

Selby at the meeting, announced it would reduce the size of the restaurant from 10,000 to 7,500 square feet, eliminate elevator access to the rooftop and move a dining terrace to the north side of the building to make the project more palpable for the community.

Jennifer Rominiecki, Selby President and CEO, referred to the parking garage as a ‘Sky Garden’ and spoke of the 230,000 visitors to Selby in 2019. She spoke of the plan as providing a path both financially for the future of Selby as well as a means to increase garden space and exhibits and usher in the next generation for the organization.

The crowd more than filled the commission chambers and listened as traffic studies and compatibility arguments were made and questioned.

The reason for a Comprehensive Plan change is to allow the addition of a restaurant, which would serve as a new commercial use on the site. It is necessary for Selby to garner at least four votes of the five-member commission to amend the future Land Use plan and the Comprehensive Plan in order to accomplish its vision.

A site plan would be presented and come later if the Comprehensive Plan changes are approved.

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