Building heights back before Safety Harbor City Commission tonight

The Safety Harbor City Commission will dive back into downtown building heights tonight at two meetings – its regularly scheduled Commission meeting, which will be preceded by a meeting of the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency.

Monday’s regular meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Here is the link to the agenda, with additional material, known as “backup,” available via the hyperlink on each item: http://safetyharbor.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=6&event_id=1765. Here is the agenda and backup material for the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), which starts at 6 p.m: https://safetyharbor.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=6&event_id=1764&meta_id=138588.

The area in red is the Community Town Center zoning designation, which presently allows buildings as tall as 45 feet. Those heights would be reduced to 35 feet if an ordinance to be considered tonight is approved on two readings.

The only item on the CRA agenda and the main item on the Commission meeting is a draft ordinance to update the city’s Downtown Master Plan with items that have been discussed at length over the past year, including limiting the height of buildings in the city’s Community Town Center (CTC) zoning district to a maximum of 35 feet and three stories, with some exceptions. The city’s CRA is composed of the five Commissioners, with Mayor Joe Ayoub acting as chairman.

The ordinance also would change the change the future land use of the Baranoff Park from CTC to Public (P), and updates the city’s redevelopment objectives. A separate ordinance, which Commission will consider tentatively on Sept. 3, would establish a process for builders to get an additional five feet of height by including certain design elements or negotiating a development agreement with the city.

As the ordinance requires approval of both the CRA and Commission, the bulk of the discussion on the ordinance is expected to take place during the CRA meeting, though Commission is free to discuss it further during the actual Commission meeting. Public comment will be taken during both.

The city’s Planning & Zoning Board voted 5-2 to approve the change to Baranoff Park and the redevelopment objectives, but recommended denial of the height restrictions, stating that they do not meet three of the city’s standards for review. The Board also reiterated its desire to have updates to the city’s bicycling goals, public park lightning and downtown landscaping included in the ordinance.

Tonight will be the first of two required readings of the ordinance. 

ALSO ON THE AGENDA …

Updates to code enforcement and open burning regulations: As part of a January discussion about possible code enforcement regulation updates, the city’s code compliance manager and Fire Marshall have prepared eight changes, including ones involving recreational vehicles, open burning, inoperative vehicles and abandoned structures. The city’s Planning & Zoning Board has recommended approval.

Candidate notifications: City staff has recommended that Commission approve posting a note about election qualifying on the city’s website 30 days before qualifying begins, as well as in a newspaper and on social media.

National Parks & Recreation Month proclamation: To celebrate National Parks & Recreation Month, the city’s Leisure Services department will make a presentation.

Athletics & fitness recreational programming update: Recreation Supervisor Tim Sattinger will update Commission on the city’s athletics and fitness programs. 

Consent agenda: Items expected to have little debate, such as approval of the last meeting’s minutes and most contracts, are included en masse in the consent agenda, though any Commissioner can ask for any item to be considered separately. This meeting’s consent agenda includes approval of a contracts to build a walkway at Baranoff Park, design of the Philppe Point Pedestrian Bridge, design of a Pinellas Avenue water main and fire protection project and city audit services, as well as a vehicle use agreement with the Pinellas County School Board. 

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

Attend the meeting: The regular meeting starts at 7 p.m., with the Community Redevelopment Agency meeting starting at 6 p.m.,  at City Hall, 750 Main St. Meetings typically run from 1.5 to three hours. Residents are given the opportunity to speak on all agenda items, except for presentations and consent agenda items. Come forward when asked by the mayor, state your name and address, and you’ll be given three minutes to address the Commission. For any issues not on the agenda, or any item that is on the consent agenda, residents get three minutes to speak at the beginning of the meeting during “Audience to be Heard.”  

Watch from home: Meetings are live-streamed to the city’s website at http://cityofsafetyharbor.com/557/Streaming-Media. The following day, a video of the meeting is posted for residents to watch.

Contact your Commissioners in advance by leaving them a message at City Hall at (727) 724-1555 or emailing them:

Mayor Joe Ayoub – jayoub@cityofsafetyharbor.com

Vice Mayor Cliff Merz – cmerz@cityofsafetyharbor.com

Commissioner Carlos Diaz – cdiaz@cityofsafetyharbor.com

Commissioner Andy Zodrow – azodrow@cityofsafetyharbor.com

Commissioner Nancy Besore – nbesore@cityofsafetyharbor.com

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