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Commission completes building heights journey


The issue that has consumed this current Commission for more than 16 months came to an end Monday night, when Commission voted 5-0 in two votes on second and final reading to reduce the maximum building height in a small portion of downtown to 35 feet and allow for an automatic trigger to 40 feet for builders who incorporate enough desired design elements into their project.

The two areas in red were previously zoned for 45-foot-high buildings, but will now be limited to 35 feet high and no more than three stories, unless developers incorporate enough desired design elements or negotiate a development agreement with City Commission. (City Commission backup materials)

The changes are slated to take effect in December, and required the approval of several Pinellas County and state agencies, who all recently gave their blessing. 

Here is what the two ordinances will do:

  • Reduce the maximum building height in the Community Town Center zoning district from 45 feet to 35 feet, and the same for a small parcel of land off of 9th Avenue South that is zoned Traditional Neighborhood-1, which together include about three undeveloped parcels. The ordinance also allows the owners of existing buildings that are taller than 35 feet to build them back to their current height if they are damaged or destroyed by factors out of the owners’ control, like weather or fire. 
  • Allow developers to automatically build to 40 feet high if their site plan includes at least four of eight desired design elements, which include mixed-use buildings with residential use above commercial or office use, pedestrian arcades or awnings, exterior balconies on higher floors, front and/or side setbacks that are deeper than required, upper-story stepbacks, varied roof lines or saving a protected tree with a condition rating of at least 2.5. 
  • Developers who wish to build higher than 35 feet without design incentives would need to secure a development agreement from Commission to do so. 
  • Changes the Future Land Use designation of the newly acquired and developed Baranoff Park on Main Street from Community Town Center to Public. 
  • Adjusts goals for the city’s Community Development Agency funds, including adding a piece of public art to Safety Harbor Waterfront Park, building a second story on the Safety Harbor Public Library and maintaining the city’s historical marker program. 


Lien reduction request: Commission voted 5-0 to reduce the lien of $125,405.14 on Matthew Mayers’ property at 3131 Hillside Lane to $2,000 if paid within 90 days.

Christopher Palmieri Employee of the Quarter presentation: Brian Dennington of the Engineering Department was honored. 

Staff swearing-ins: Michael W. Fogarty and Matthew J. Tilka were sworn in as firefighters/paramedics, and several other city staff members hired since June 1 were sworn in in a separate ceremony. 


Watch the video of it on the city’s website here: http://safetyharbor.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=2168


7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 18.

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