Home / Government / Safety Harbor City Commission to get plan for Baranoff Park

Safety Harbor City Commission to get plan for Baranoff Park


In September, Safety Harbor City Commission approved buying the historic Baranoff Tree and nearby land with plans to turn it into a park. At Monday’s meeting, Commission will be asked to approve a conceptual plan for how that park will look.

Monday’s 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=1669. At 6 p.m., the city’s Audit Committee, which consists of the five Commissioners and two members of the Finance Advisory Committee, will meet to receive a presentation of the Final Comprehensive Annual Report for the past fiscal year. Here is the agenda for that meeting: http://safetyharbor.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=6&event_id=1751.

The land between the Baranoff Oak Tree and Main Street will be turned into a passive park. (Scott Long)

The conceptual plan for Baranoff Park shows a passive park that will include a water fountain, pervious walkways, picnic tables, bench swings, a concrete lounger area, public art piece, bollard lighting, dog waste bag station, a Little Free Library and fencing. George Weiss and the Kiwanis Club of Safety Harbor have donated $25,000 of the nearly $170,000 expected cost of the park, which will come from the Community Redevelopment Agency budget.

The city’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Board unanimously recommends Commission’s approval of the conceptual plan. If Commission agrees, the next steps are to develop a project timeline and secure contracts.


Agreement may be getting close on a lengthy back-and-forth on downtown building heights, as Commission will be asked if there is consensus on the latest proposed ordinance and resolution.

At the May 6 meeting of the Community Redevelopment Agency, which consists of the five Commissioners with Mayor Joe Ayoub serving as chairman, a previous loose agreement on limiting the height of buildings in the city’s Community Town Center zone to three stories, with a specific footage to be determined later, fell apart as the discussion swung back to reducing the height from 45 feet to 35 feet. The result of that discussion was another loose agreement to limit the height to 35 feet, but giving developers the ability to build higher by negotiating a development agreement with the city or including certain elements in their site plans.

While no vote is scheduled Monday, Commission will be asked if the revised ordinance and resolution is acceptable. If not, the already lengthy process of changing the Downtown Master Plan and Land Development Code, which requires numerous public hearings as well as approval from the Pinellas County Commission and its metropolitan planning organization Forward Pinellas, could be delayed by up to two months, City Manager Matthew Spoor and City Attorney Nikki Day advised Commission on May 6.

The revised legislation will cap the height of buildings at 35 feet. Developers could build higher if they negotiate a development agreement, or submit a site plan that includes at least three of the following desired architectural features:

  • Second-story residential that is stepped back farther than the first story
  • Pedestrian arcade or awnings at street level
  • Exterior balconies on top floors
  • Front setback of an additional five feet beyond what is allowed by code
  • Side setback of an additional three feet beyond what is allowed by code
  • Varied rooflines  


Security camera regulation: At a recent Commission meeting, residents of Coventry Drive told Commission of a neighbor whose security camera is invading their privacy. City Attorney Nikki Day has prepared a legal opinion on what Commission can do to regulate residential security cameras, and Commission will be asked for direction on how to proceed.

Living Shoreline contract adjustment: During construction of the Living Shoreline at Safety Harbor Waterfront Park, higher than expected tides caused damage, necessitating additional costs to finish the project. Commission will be asked to approve those additional costs.

Budget amendments: Commission will be asked to approve budget adjustments concerning the city’s wellness program and Folly Farms and Baranoff Park improvements and donations.

Paddle the Bay special event application: Commission will be asked to approve the 2020 Paddle the Bay special event.

Finance Advisory Committee appointments: The terms of Elizabeth Wadsworth, David Fellows and Christopher Constantine on the board that advises the Commission on the budget and financial concerns are expiring. All three are requesting reappointment. Raymond Welch is the only other applicant waiting.

Folly Farms programming update: Recreation Supervisor Autumn Reich will update Commission on programming at the city’s Folly Farms park.

Travel reimbursement: Commission will be asked to approve a travel reimbursement for Vice Mayor Cliff Merz’s recent trip to a Florida League of Cities seminar.

Christopher Palmieri Employee of the Quarter presentation: Christopher Steffens, an information technology specialist, will be honored.

Sierra Club presentation: The Suncoast Sierra Club will make a presentation on the National Sierra Club Campaign – Ready for 100.

Public Works Week: May 19-25 will be proclaimed National Public Works Week, and Public Works Director Ray Boler will make a presentation on his department’s achievements.  

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 contracts for an Egret Terrace underdrain replacement project and for Fourth of July fireworks and a renewal of a joint-use agreement with the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranch.


Attend the meeting: The meeting starts at 7 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


  1. Considering the large amount of dog owners in the Harbor we should have watering stations in all thr park settings.Also the open field area along the new shore park could really use some shade trees planted not only for shade but the beauty they bring to any area.

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