Safety Harbor Commission to appoint Diversity Board

The Safety Harbor City Commission will take its next steps toward addressing race concerns that have been highlighted in recent weeks when it appoints members to the new Diversity Advisory Board and considers a resolution on signs on city property when it meets Monday night.

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: https://safetyharbor.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=6&event_id=1802. All city meetings through September will be held via the Zoom video conferencing app. Details on how residents can watch and participate are at the end of this article. 

Commission approved the new Diversity Advisory Board in July, and it will include seven residents, three of them appointed to an initial three-year term and the other four to an initial two-year term. 

Of the initial 26 applications received, nine of them identified themselves as Black or African-American (Agatha Skerritt-Burke, Cheryl Williams, Dionne Sullivan, Jacqueline Hayes, Juanita Frazier, Lewis Ponds Jr., Vincent Smith, Tonie Wyatt and George E. Blair; two identified themselves as two or more races (Adrian “AC” Blevins and Vincent Taylor), two identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino (Priscilla Velez and Alice Contreras) and 13 identified themselves as white/not Hispanic or Latino (Amy Triplett, Diane Wallman, Dolly Ferraaiuolo, Randi Latzke, Erin Linehan, Gisela Bennie, Lester Weiss, Liz Ambler-Conkle, Peter Tanner, Sarah Mueller, Stephanie Dobson, Stephanie Falso and Jani Barron).

City staff has indicated that about dozen more applications have been received since the initial meeting agenda was posted, and additional applications will be taken up until Monday’s meeting. Additionally, many of the applicants expressed a willingness also to serve on other city advisory boards. 

In a separate item prompted by the recent debate over Black Lives Matter signs on city property, Commission will be asked to approve a resolution about signs on city property. The resolution says requests for signs from third-parties will not be accepted, however, signs may be recommended for consideration by city administration, a City Commissioner through an agenda item or one of the city’s advisory boards.

QUASI-JUDICIAL HEARINGS

“Quasi-judicial” hearings mimic aspects of a courtroom process, including the applicant, city staff and anyone who proves they have “affected party” status will be sworn in, provide evidence and be able to cross-examine, if desired. A court reporter may be present. While the public will have the opportunity to speak on the agenda item, Commission is bound to make its decision based solely on “competent substantial evidence” presented at the meeting.

Rezoning of 367 Grand Central Ave.: Frank Vasallo is asking Commission to approve changing the zoning for his property from Single-Family Residential (R-1) to Conditional Mix Residential (R-3), which would make it consistent with the zoning of all other properties on the block. The city’s Technical Review Committee had no issues with the request and the Planning & Zoning Board recommends approval.

SECOND READINGS

Ordinances or changes to city code require two hearings before the City Commission. 

Impervious surface ratio changes: Commission voted 5-0 in two separate votes on first reading to make language on “impervious surface ratios,” or ISRs, which is the amount of land that can be covered by concrete and other materials that water can’t penetrate, conform with Pinellas County language.  

Comprehensive Plan glossary update: Commission voted 5-0 on first reading to approve changes to definitions in the city’s Comprehensive Plan to be consistent with the city’s Land Development Code. 

Election qualifying period: Commission voted 5-0 on first reading to approve qualifying dates of Dec. 7-14 for the 2021 city elections. 

ALSO ON THE AGENDA …

Street resurfacing contract: Two years ago, the city established a Pavement Condition Assessment Program to help prioritize what city streets needed to be resurfaced first and to get data to help prevent structural failure of streets. Commission will be asked to approve a $591,079.51 contract with Asphalt Paving Systems Inc. to do street resurfacing.  

Budget amendments: Commission will be asked to approve the shifting of money between city funds for consistency with numbers in the proposed fiscal 2021 budget, which will be considered in September. The transfers include money received from the city’s insurer for a theft at a public facility, an approved marketing campaign for the Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce and a street resurfacing project. 

Christopher Palmieri Employee of the Quarter: All city employees will be honored as the Employee of the Quarter after dealing with COVID challenges.

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 submerged land easements for Mullet Creek, a mail processing equipment lease with Quadient Leasing and a Fire Department grant award from Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. via the Zoom video conferencing app. 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. For all other issues, including items on the consent agenda, residents can speak during the “Audience to be Heard” portion of the meeting. Residents can watch, listen to and participate in the meeting in these ways:

  • Online using Zoom Meeting ID #925 4355 0422. or going to https://cityofsafetyharbor.zoom.us/j/92543550422. Residents can also watch online, but not participate, at https://www.cityofsafetyharbor.com/557/Streaming-Media
  • By phone toll-free by calling 1-888-475-4499 or 1-877-853-5257.
  • In person at City Hall and overflow areas at 750 Main St., though Commissioners will not be in person.
  • Email comments to pcomment@cityofsafetyharbor.com or mail comments to City Hall, Attn: Public Comment, 750 Main St., Safety Harbor, FL 34695. Emails or letters of 500 words or fewer will be read aloud during the meeting. Longer emails and letters will not be read but will be shared with Commissioners.

Contact your Commissioners:

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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