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Ocean City neighbors don't want townhome development

A potential zoning and land use change in Florida has some property owners standing in opposition. A developer from Fort Walton Beach is seeking to combine two lots in Ocean City, at 112 and 116 Monahan Drive N.E. The developer plans to demolish two houses on the lots and build eight townhouses. However, the property owners opposing the requests are concerned that the new townhouses will bring additional traffic and noise as well as add stress to area infrastructure.

The developer has applied to have the designation for the lots changed from low-density residential to medium-density residential and the zoning changed from residential-1 to residential-2. Under the current structure, the developer is allowed to build up to four residential units on the lots. If the proposed changes are approved, the developer would be allowed to build up to 11 residential units on the lots.

According to the director of the county growth management department, the lots are in an area that has a variety of types of housing, including single-family homes, multi-story apartment complexes and townhouses. A 10-unit apartment building is located just to the west of the lots in question. County officials say that the water and sewer systems have enough capacity to handle the proposed project and that there is no basis for believing that a multi-family development will necessarily be noisier than a development of single-family homes.

Florida residents who have questions about zoning or land use might want to speak with a lawyer. Legal counsel with experience in construction law might be able to help developers by researching existing land use rules and restrictions or by petitioning government bodies for zoning changes. If necessary, the lawyer could also negotiate the terms of a construction contract.

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