The Viera Company wants permission to allow more housing construction in the community in exchange for reducing the amount of office space that can be built.
Todd Pokrywa, the senior vice president of land use, planning, and development for the Viera Company, said that growth in demand for housing in Viera has outpaced the supply, and that changes to the community’s master plan are needed to accommodate the increased demand.
The Viera Company has proposed an amendment to its county-approved master plan that would simultaneously increase the number of building permits for residential properties and decrease the number of building permits for general office space.
If the amendment is approved by Brevard County commissioners, it will allow for 800 additional units of detached senior housing, 150 additional units of attached senior housing, 468 additional units of detached single-family homes, 256 additional units of multi-family housing, and eight additional hotel rooms. The amendment would reduce the amount of permissible office development in Viera by 399,741 square feet.
Viera now has roughly 20,000 residents, and they live in properties at a variety of prices — ranging from apartments to multimillion-dollar homes.
Two public hearings on the proposed change to Viera’s master plan will be held, including one led by Brevard County Local Planning Agency at 3 p.m. Monday at the Brevard County Government Center, and another by the county commission at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the same location.
Pokrywa said that creating a master plan is “not an exact science,” and that when the Viera Company’s master plan was approved by county commissioners in 2009, the company did not anticipate the the number of people who would want to move to Viera. He said there is a greater need in Viera for housing than office space.
“It’s always been contemplated that there might be changes,” he said. “We’re keeping an eye on demand for various types of residential housing.”
Grace Vista, the broker-owner for Vista Florida Realty, said that some housing developments in Viera have sold out, and that Viera remains a popular place for people coming to Brevard County.
“It’s a very good thing if people will have more housing options,” she said. “There’s constantly an influx of people looking to move into our area, particularly because there are more cultural amenities here than other parts of Brevard County.”
Vista says the demand for Viera housing is especially pronounced among Brevard’s young professionals and families, and among retirees who are Northern transplants.
Robin Sobrino, director of the Brevard County Planning and Development Department, said that the Viera Company’s proposed amendment to its master plan would be traffic-neutral, which is a legal requirement for any changes to be made. In other words, it’s not expected to add more vehicles to the roads.
“The development order itself allows for changing square footage limits and exchanging land uses, provided that the traffic impact is neutral,” she said. “The development order allows for the Viera Company to adapt as market forces change and the company starts to reevlauate where they want to go in the future, and what their vision is. Right now their vision is to reduce the amount of general office space, and increase the amount of housing.”
Myles Wilkinson, the founder and president of Corporate Property Group, a full-service commercial real estate business, said increasing the amount of housing in Viera would have a “very positive” impact.
“There’s a lot of demand for housing in Viera,” he said. “Viera is reacting to the market… It’s just a matter of supply and demand, and if you’re increasing housing, certainly it’s going to boost demand for retail goods and services.”
After reading the Viera Company’s proposed amendment, Maureen Rupe, the political chair of the Turtle Coast Sierra Club, an environmental group, said that she did not see any obvious problems with the change, although she said her organization would be monitoring the Viera Company’s development plans to ensure that any adverse environmental impacts were mitigated.
“If the environmental impact ends up being neutral, then I don’t have an objection,” she said.