Three members of the city’s Planning and Development Services department led a spirited discussion regarding the permitting process and the new city-wide zoning proposal at the March 22 Historic Old Northeast quarterly meeting at Westminster Palms.

Elizabeth Abernethy, department director; Derek Kilborn, Manager of Urban Planning and Historic Preservation; and Scott Hancock, Deputy Building Official, presented the dos and don’ts of the permitting process and reviewed the city’s controversial NTM-1 zoning regulation that was approved by the city council the following evening. The new zoning classification allows denser housing development on major city streets but largely avoids the Old Northeast neighborhood.

A barrage of questions kept the 60 attendees in their seats for over two hours. “We think it’s very important to have our city officials meet with our residents on issues like these,” said Nick Bell, President of the Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood Association (HONNA). “We like them to hear it from the horse’s mouth, especially when we’re discussing controversial issues like zoning.”

A copy of the city representatives’ PowerPoint presentation can be seen here.

Besides the permitting and zoning discussion, Nick updated attendees on the many events occurring in the neighborhood in March and April, including the March and April porch parties, semi-annual cleanup, the annual Easter Egg hunt, and a brand new event, the Art in the Garden Tour on Saturday, April 15 from 1-4.

Nick explained the Garden Tour will feature 11 residential gardens, 18 artists and 6 live music performers in gardens ranging from lush tropical, to modern poolscapes to bungalow hideaways. Artists will present works including oil and watercolor painting, photographs, pottery, and others. “We showcase the Old Northeast with the Candlelight Tour of Homes at the holidays,” Nick said, “but we think it’s important to show off our beautiful neighborhood when it’s in full bloom. By adding artists and live music to the gardens, we’re presenting our tour guests with a total sensory experience.” All tour proceeds will fund replenishment of the Old Northeast’s Street tree canopy.

More information on all the exciting events and tickets for the Garden Tour can be found at

In addition to the above, a check for $5,257 was presented to CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse). CASA was the sponsored organization at last December’s Candlelight Tour. Proceeds from the tour as well as from the sale of HONNA Honey made the donation possible. Ellen Williams, CASA Development Officer, accepted the check.

The summer quarterly meeting will be held in June. Watch for details as we get closer to the date.