Enzian Theater’s expansion passes hurdle and will go to a vote next month

The Maitland City Council decided unanimously last night to move the Enzian Theater's expansion plan to its final stage: a vote on Aug. 13.

This “vote before the vote” was largely a technicality, but the Council could have decided not to vote on the proposal in August. That was unlikely, however, as the Maitland Planning and Zoning Commission had already recommended that the Council approve the project, which would expand the Enzian from one to three screens while adding new restrooms, kitchen, lobby and offices.

Nine members of the public spoke against the plan at the meeting, with the most common complaints being the potential increase in noise, traffic and light for the neighborhood, plus the shortage of on-site parking. But a dozen spoke in favor, lauding the Enzian’s cultural value and pointing out that the theater has a written agreement with Park Maitland School to provide overflow parking and will continue to improve signage and safety along Magnolia Road.

Among the local citizens speaking in favor of the plan was John Rogers, the son of Fred Rogers. (The Enzian is currently showing Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, a documentary about the life of Rogers, and has been using the film as metaphor for the theater’s relationship with the community.)

If the Council approves the plan on Aug. 13, groundbreaking would likely occur in the spring, according to Enzian executive director David Schillhammer. With construction predicted to last at least a year, work would likely finish after the 2020 Florida Film Festival. But if the Council votes no, the Enzian would probably be forced to either abandon their expansion or significantly redesign the proposed addition or the parking arrangement.

For more information on the expansion plan, see our previous article.
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