The ‘waterfront’ parcel of land Valparaiso Realty Company (VRC) and Express Oil Change want to build a new oil change place on may have hit a bump in the road. 

Monday night, the Niceville Planning and Zoning Committee, which includes City Council Hopeful Doug Tolbert, voted 3-3 to reject a request from Valparaiso Realty Company for a final review of 1501 John Sims Parkway – a Planned Unit Development. 

Commission member Tracy Jennette made the motion to reject VRC’s request. According to a member of the public who was at the meeting, after a long delay, another commission member seconded the motion, and the split vote took place. 

“I think everybody on the commission seemed to be a bit torn about it. Ultimately, I made a motion to deny,” Jennette said about the meeting, “I looked at the future land use map and the future land use does have it as mixed-use. But I don’t think that type of business is the proper use of that land. And I’m all about property rights. It’s hard, because you don’t want to infringe on property rights, but there’s a balance [for] what is cohesive and good for the city.”

Normally, there are seven commission members, but one was absent for the meeting, resulting in the split. 

Regardless of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s vote, the matter will go in front of the Niceville City Council. 

Residents will be able to have your say during the public comments section of the public hearing on this matter. More than likely, the item will be on the agenda of the Niceville City Council’s next regular meetin on February 13, 2024. 

Valparaiso Realty Responds With Statement About Oil Change Project

In a statement to Mid Bay News, a woman who wanted to be named as a representative of Valparaiso Realty Company said, “There’s some misinformation that we would like to correct. The property that we’re developing is not waterfront. It’s all uplands, that backup to wetlands. There’s no wetland impacts. We wanted to clear that up. It could never be waterfront property, because there is a significant amount of wetlands between what we’re developing and the waterfront property, which we do not own. We feel the project is a good project with nice looking buildings. And we’re meeting all of the city of Niceville requirements and all stormwater requirements.”

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