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Old January 20th, 2008, 05:33 PM   #1
FloridaFuture
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Seminole Heights To Be Proving Ground for new zoning code method

Seminole Heights To Be Proving Ground

By KATHY STEELE, The Tampa Tribune

Published: January 19, 2008

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - For an experiment in urban redesign, the city is thinking Seminole Heights.

For years, residents have said traditional zoning codes work against rebuilding urban communities into pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use neighborhoods.

They cite the parking restrictions that nearly shut down Cappy's Pizzeria on Florida Avenue and the long battle to win design approval for Starbucks coffee shop on Hillsborough Avenue.

The city hopes to pioneer a new course, known as form-based zoning, by promoting communitywide planning that seeks a consensus on what residents want and creates zoning codes to make it happen.

Seminole Heights is a good choice for the project because it has single-family residential, historical districts and a "lot of Main Street area corridors," including Florida and Nebraska avenues, city official Cynthia Miller said.

"Seminole Heights probably has a little bit of everything," said Miller, growth management and development services director. "We can capture a broad area."

On Tuesday, the city's land development staff will attend the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association's meeting to discuss the new zoning. Workshops will be scheduled to get residents' input on a redesign along Florida and Nebraska.

The pilot project will cover Old Seminole Heights, Southeast Seminole Heights, South Seminole Heights and parts of Tampa Heights. Members of those neighborhood associations, as well as Tampa Homeowners, an Association of Neighborhoods, have been invited to Tuesday's meeting.

Miller said Tampa probably has up to 15 areas that could adopt communitywide planning and form-based zoning.

"We're the test case for the city," said Susan Long, president of the Old Seminole Heights group.

Many residents can recount stories of themselves or friends trying to renovate older buildings and open shops only to be told by the city "you can't do that," Long said.

The reason usually is the city's mandate for a land-use change that triggers requirements for retention ponds or parking spaces. With older buildings built out to the property lines, it is nearly impossible to meet those requirements, Long said.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association meeting to discuss urban redesign and form-based zoning

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Seminole Heights United Methodist Church, 6111 N. Central Ave.

Reporter Kathy Steele can be reached at (813) 835-2103 or ksteele@tampatrib.com.

http://southtampa2.tbo.com/content/2...g-ground/?news
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Old January 21st, 2008, 07:14 PM   #2
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It's about time!
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Old January 21st, 2008, 10:19 PM   #3
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I generally view this as a case where they have thrown out the baby with the bath water.
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 03:49 PM   #4
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I think this could be great! The community is involved and hopefully this lessens the load at the city. However, the community should have been involved from the start. Hopefully there is an appeals process of some kind, for the case to go back to the city planning commission. Also, I think there should be restrictions on what type of hearing cases can be decided by this forum.
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Old February 17th, 2008, 01:40 AM   #5
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Helpers Take To Streets For Planning

By KATHY STEELE, The Tampa Tribune

Published: February 16, 2008

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - The tiny wheel goes round and round and numbers tick into view as Sherry King rolls the measuring stick across Hanna Avenue's crosswalk while cars zoom along Nebraska Avenue.

Greg Barnhill and city urban planner LaChone Dock follow behind with maps that lay out the street grid of Old Seminole Heights, following Hanna from Florida Avenue to North 22nd Street.

"We're noting what's on the corner," Dock says as she scrawls a few details on the map about the northwest corner of Hanna and Nebraska. "Some small landscaping, no trees."

This band of urban explorers and more than a dozen more were out Monday and Wednesday mapping the streets. They sized up crosswalk and curb widths, building setbacks, grassy rights of way, residential versus commercial, and whether streetlights dangled from wires or metal arms.

Photographs captured the buildings and panned the sights a few yards beyond at about 20 intersections. The information will be building blocks in a long-range plan for Old Seminole, Southeast Seminole and South Seminole Heights.

Many hope the plan will encourage a more mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly community and streamline an often-chaotic zoning system. The city will hold workshops in the months ahead to get input from residents and business and property owners.

"It feels good to be hands-on at some level, to be part of the process," said King, past president of the Business Guild of Seminole Heights and owner of Sherry's YesterDaze Vintage Clothing & Antiques on Florida.

At a Feb. 5 meeting, the city kicked off a two-year pilot project in the three Seminole Heights neighborhoods, covering nearly 5 square miles. The goal is to gauge the community's vision of how the neighborhoods should develop and then create city codes to make it happen.

Long-range planning is not new to Seminole Heights residents. They spent about two years working with the city and the Hillsborough Planning Commission on a strategic business plan.

Residents gave their approval to the plan at a 2005 town hall meeting but say they haven't seen the city put it into action. Members of the business guild, which formed in 2006, said they would use the plan as a guide in promoting commercial development.

The community-planning project could be "the next step in the right direction," said Barnhill, a community activist and member of the city's Architectural Review Commission.

Along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Gary Ellsworth was among the volunteers mapping intersections Monday at North Boulevard and Highland, Florida, Central and Nebraska avenues.

There is hope that the project, which has city support, will produce change, even if it's 10 or 15 years away, said Ellsworth, president of the South Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association.

"Don't look for a big change next year," he said. "But hopefully there will be a plan in place so we can go forward."

Four public meetings are scheduled in February and March, and a weeklong series of workshops will be held in April. Recommendations to change city codes will be given to the city council in 2009.

"I'm acting like it's important, that it matters," King said. "I'm having faith."

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Community-planning meeting for Seminole Heights

WHEN: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday

WHERE: Seminole Garden Center, 5800 Central Ave.

INFORMATION: Call the city's growth management and development services at (813) 274-8405 or go to www.tampa gov.net.

Reporter Kathy Steele can be reached at (813) 835-2103 or ksteele@tampatrib.com.

http://southtampa2.tbo.com/content/2...planning/?news
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 04:53 AM   #6
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Zoning's focus is looks, then use
By Michael Canning, Times Staff Writer
Published February 29, 2008

OLD SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - The figurative dam that has been holding back the commercial revitalization of some of Tampa's urban neighborhoods could soon suffer a crack.

City officials are planning to use Seminole Heights as the city's first test lab for a relatively new concept called "form-based" code, an initiative that some hope will loosen restrictions and attract new businesses.

Form-based codes are more about how much physical buildings are altered and how that affects the aesthetics of neighborhoods. How the property will be used - as a restaurant, retail business, a home - becomes a secondary issue.

The concept has been implemented nationwide, including in Sarasota. Architects, urban planners and land use experts study it at Form-Based Codes Institute in Geneva, Wis.

It's a dynamic any number of beleaguered and would-be entrepreneurs in Seminole Heights know all too well.

Under the current "use-based" zoning system, changing the use of the property - from a car lot to a restaurant on Florida Avenue, for instance - can trigger an avalanche of fees, construction requirements and restrictions.

It has scared off many would-be business owners from Seminole Heights, and made those who persevered wonder why at times.

"It probably would have prevented us from ever opening," Cappy's Pizzeria co-owner Scooter Gabel said of the "plethora of issues" he and his wife, Natalie, had to negotiate with the city shortly after opening in 2006.

The business didn't meet certain city codes, including parking, and had to have its land use designation changed. Gabel said the process was expensive and took nearly a year.

Form-based code would make issues such as meeting parking requirements, which are usually more feasible in roomier suburban settings, less of an issue.

"Those strip cores that you have on Nebraska and Florida avenues, they don't have the available parking that our current code requires," said Gloria Moreda, manager of land development coordination for the city. "All the current codes just make it really difficult for redevelopment."

Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association president Susan Long has interceded for years on behalf of would-be entrepreneurs, working with city officials to get rules or fees waived. She's been trying to get a Cakes Plus bakery and wedding supply business to open at 6508 N Florida Ave. for a year and a half. "The land (the business owners) have purchased is unusable" under current zoning rules, Long said.

In the short-term, she said, form-based zoning "will enable us to have businesses come into the neighborhood without the major hassles they've had."

In the long term, Long said, "we could have a whole new world."

That's because community comment is a major factor in shaping form-based code. Preliminary meetings held with Seminole Heights residents and city officials have yielded ideas such as turning a segment of East Idlewild Avenue into a pedestrian and bicycle-only street, or transforming residential streets that skirt Interstate 275 into small business zones.

More community meetings are planned, with the next one taking place Tuesday at the Seminole Heights Garden Center. A series of open houses with government officials will be there April 21-24 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Moreda encourages home and business owners to show up and contribute ideas. "We want to try to get a sense of what their vision for their neighborhood is, and then we'll try to draft a code to get their vision into reality."

City zoning administrator Catherine Coyle said the City Council could review the preliminary form-based code for Seminole Heights in October or November, with official adoption occurring perhaps by January 2010.

Hopefully the changes won't be too late. Nina Torres, co-owner of Cakes Plus, doesn't know how much longer she can wade through the red tape. "I never thought it was going to be like this," she said. "It's unbelievable I have to wait a year and a half."

Fast facts

A community meeting to discuss form-based zoning is from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Seminole Heights Garden Center, 5810 N Central Ave. A series of open houses with government officials will be in the same location April 21-24 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

[Last modified February 28, 2008, 23:34:26]

http://www.sptimes.com/2008/02/29/Ci...s_is_loo.shtml
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Old March 28th, 2008, 11:18 PM   #7
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Workshop Focuses On Seminole Heights

By Kathy Steele of The Tampa Tribune

Published: March 28, 2008

TAMPA - The city will hold a third public workshop Monday to create a development plan for Seminole Heights.

The workshop will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Seminole Garden Center, 5800 Central Ave. In prior workshops, residents, and business and property owners have met with city planners as well as representatives from other city and Hillsborough County departments, Tampa Electric Co. and the Florida Department of Transportation.

The pilot project is expected to result in a set of guidelines to encourage a more pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use community.

The public will be able to review proposed plans created during the workshops at open houses from April 21-24.

Reporter Kathy Steele can be reached at (813) 835-2103 or ksteele@tampatrib.com.

http://centraltampa2.tbo.com/content...-heights/?news
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Old March 30th, 2008, 04:52 PM   #8
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Seminole Heights to test new vision of zoning
By Michael Van Sickler, Times Staff Writer
Published Saturday, March 29, 2008 11:46 PM


Starting point: Planning consultant Steve Price uses Photoshop to show how form-based coding can alter the urban landscape. This is a photo of an existing street in Peoria, Ill., that has similar conditions to Nebraska and Florida avenues.


Add and subtract: By eliminating the telephone poles, widening the sidewalk and adding decorative light poles, the physical environment for pedestrians has already improved.


NEW LOOK: Trees, awnings and various architectural improvements are all design details that can be required by form-based coding.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TAMPA — All Mike Merino wanted was to open a deli in the neighborhood where he was born and raised.

The property he chose in Seminole Heights had been a furniture store, so he needed a zoning change for his new plans. It took more than six months. He got rejected three times before neighborhood leaders intervened to get the city to waive its rules.

"I wasn't doing Trump Tower," said Merino, who opened his Florida Avenue deli last year. "The hassle drove me crazy."

For nearly a century, zoning has made enemies of property owners like Merino. Born out of Industrial Age excess and class divisions, zoning aimed to separate grungy factories and sooty power plants from schools and homes, slums from upscale retail districts.

But many urban planners consider zoning's mission obsolete in a post-industrial landscape dominated by CVS stores, office parks and malls. Many blame these rules for making a nation dependent on automobiles. How else to travel the sprawling suburbia from home to work to shopping that zoning created?

A growing number of planners believe they have an antidote. In Tampa Bay, Seminole Heights is first to try it.

The proposed cure is a new set of rules that dictates the appearance of buildings, not the way they are used. Called form-based coding, it's an approach intended to make neighborhoods more attractive and walkable.

"With global warming and peak oil, how we formally structure our cities will be a big part of the solution," said Steve Price, a Berkeley, Calif.-based planning consultant and a member of the Form-Based Code Institute. "It's one thing to tell people to bicycle more, but if the streets are scary, you're not going to see more people bicycle."

This year, Tampa will try launching it in Seminole Heights, a historic neighborhood known as much for its charming 1920s Craftsman-style bungalows as for its gritty motels and blighted commercial corridors. Many residents say the new rules can preserve the area's character while spurring redevelopment. Tampa Heights and 40th Street are lining up to be next if it works.

But if Tampa's experience in introducing the idea is anything like Miami's, it may not be that simple, or even possible.

"I've been surprised by the political opposition," said Marina Khoury, a planner hired by Miami to replace its zoning with the new rules. "It's been grueling."

• • •

At any planning conference these days, chances are the presentations on form-based coding will be the most crowded.

"Standing room only," said Khoury. "Everyone's talking about it."

Khoury works at the firm founded by the creators of the Panhandle resort town of Seaside, arising from what is considered the first modern form-based code. It was meant to be an easy-to-follow guide dictating how buildings looked.

Since then, several communities, such as Sarasota, Arlington, Va., and Philadelphia, have begun or completed plans to eliminate traditional zoning in favor of the new coding. Supporters say the code is easier to understand and can achieve a more predictable physical outcome.

No city has taken more of a risk with the idea than Miami, which announced in 2005 that it would replace regular zoning after residents complained about how the current rules allowed sky-rises to be built next to single-family homes. Just how mismatched this pattern of development is was emphasized last week, when a crane helping build a 46-story condo tower collapsed and killed two, destroying the Mediterranean-style home next door that was featured in the film There's Something About Mary.

Yet city commissioners delayed a vote this month on the new rules because of unanswered questions. Residents wondered how their neighborhoods would change. Developers complained it made some properties lose value. Architects said it limited their freedom in building designs.

"On paper it looks good," said Charles Tavares, who owns a mixed-use project in one of the neighborhoods. "But in reality, it doesn't work."

Khoury said it's natural for these groups to have concerns, but their fears are unfounded.

"If it is defeated, that would be unfortunate," Khoury said. "Many other cities are watching Miami closely to see what happens."

• • •

Miami is an extreme case because it's the largest American city to adopt the code for the entire city, Price said.

"My own sense would be to encourage places to do this in small, incremental steps," he said.

St. Petersburg overhauled its zoning last year, but chose to stick with the traditional approach of listing types of allowed uses with few specific rules about how buildings or lots are supposed to look, said Philip Lazzara, the city's zoning official. So, for example, one area might be okay for homes, and another for stores, but not both.

Tampa, by contrast, is using form-based coding, but only in a small dose.

For the past two years, Seminole Heights leaders felt the city's zoning was hampering redevelopment of its two key commercial corridors, N Florida and Nebraska avenues, making it hard for businesses such as Merino's Deli, Cappy's Pizzeria or Cakes Plus bakery to open.

"Current zoning has turned investment away," said Susan Long, president of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association.

For all the fuss of zoning, N Florida Avenue illustrates that there are virtually zero aesthetic benefits.

No buffer exists to separate a thin ribbon of sidewalk from the street. Billboards hawking the Lotto and laser hair removal sprout from cracked asphalt. Windowless and drab buildings are set back from the road.

Pedestrians who brave the street are wedged between chain-link fences and parked cars on one side, and zooming traffic on the other. Cars traveling at 50 mph pass by so close that a side view mirror could rip the hand off an outstretched arm.

Form-based coding could change much of this. Rather than allow a store to build a parking lot facing the street, form-based coding would require the parking to be tucked in the rear and away from public view. The building would be moved closer to the sidewalk to provide better access by foot, and require features such as signs, awnings, stoops and certain-sized windows. A series of public space requirements could be added that would seek to widen sidewalks and add bike lanes.

Or not. It's all up to what the Seminole Heights neighborhood decides it wants. This will be outlined in workshops in April.

What they come up with will be written into a proposed code that is, for now, scheduled to be voted on by the City Council at the end of the year.

"I don't think the code will transform the whole area in 10 years," Long said. "But I sure as heck hope it will be better, so that Florida and Nebraska have buildings you don't mind driving by and places where you can walk without fearing for your life. Anything is better than what we have now."

Michael Van Sickler can be reached at (813) 226-3402 or mvansickler@sptimes.com



>>fast facts

Vision Plan Charrette
Open House

When: April 21-24, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Where: The Seminole Heights Garden Center, 5800 Central Ave., Tampa

What: A vision plan will be developed based on comments from residents at these meetings. Subsequent to that, it would be adopted into a form-based code that, if approved by Tampa City Council, would regulate future redevelopment of the 6-square-mile neighborhood.

What is form-based coding?

Traditional zoning

This is an example of how traditional zoning dictates what can be built in a one-block parcel. R-40 refers to the use, "residential," and density, "40 homes per acre." It also provides rules for parking, how far the building is from the street and maximum height (but usually not minimum). Zoning leaves most other design details up to individual developers and property owners, leaving the future form as anyone's guess.

Form-based coding

This is how form-based coding dictates what can be built in a one-block parcel. Less concerned with limiting the kind of use, such as homes or businesses, this strategy relates specifically to the "look" of development, providing detailed design rules for street and building types. This level of detail might limit freedom in building design, but it adds predictability as to what will take shape.
Source: Peter Katz and Steve Price, Urban-Advantage.com

[Last modified Sunday, March 30, 2008 12:56 AM]

http://www.tampabay.com/news/hillsborough/
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Old March 30th, 2008, 07:21 PM   #9
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Sounds okay, but it's pathetic how some people come up with excuses why this should happen. They mention Global Warming, where in the hell can you compare this to that? And also, they mention the crane in Miami crashing into that house, the house was only used for a women's group and how does this have to do with anything about zoning. The Developer allowed for the house to stay, I believe there was some fuss about it, but they later allowed it. And it was totally unpredictable that this happen.

I'm looking forward to see how this turns out. Kinda confusing what the whole thing will do, because there so many things that made my mind boggle, but I see where they are going with this.
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Old April 27th, 2008, 03:20 PM   #10
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Residents Eye Seminole Heights Plan
By KATHY STEELE
The Tampa Tribune
Published: April 26, 2008

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - Residents scanned a set of maps to zero in on what might happen to their homes and businesses. And then they took a wider view of how the neighborhood could change in a decade or two.

Lashone Green, 28, spotted her Old Seminole Heights home shaded in colors representing commercial or mixed-use zoning.

"I think it's a good thing to allow more businesses to come in within a walkable district," she said, although she was relieved her home would stay her home if that's what she wants.

"That's what I was worried about," Green said. "I didn't want to be forced out."

She was among the visitors to the Seminole Garden Center on Monday night for the start of a four-day open house to preview maps that reflect a vision for Seminole Heights. It is a future that city officials and many residents hope will be more pedestrian-friendly, with homes, shops, restaurants and public spaces blended together.

Tampa's land development staff is seeking consensus on creating a plan that also will be open for public review. This is part of a two-year pilot project in form-based zoning, which focuses on the layout of buildings, residences, streets and public spaces. A building's use, which is central to the city's current land development standards, is less important.

The goal is to create city codes to make the community's vision happen.

Resident Jim Schuster, who is in the construction trade, generally liked what he saw.

"I really believe this area needs a face-lift," he said. "It looks like they did their homework."

If Seminole Heights becomes more like Hyde Park Village, that would be good, he said.

"Seminole Heights and Sulphur Springs have got great potential," Schuster said.

A walkable community on a "people scale" is what resident Daniel Gochenaur sees as the project's intent. One roadblock sticks out.

"It is tough with the interstate going right down the middle," Gochenaur said.

But he sees opportunities for pedestrian areas along the Hillsborough River.

"I'd love to see parks get tied together," Gochenaur said, pointing to River Crest and Henry and Ola parks.

If more people move to the neighborhood, Stewart Hess sees a need for more children's activities, including athletic fields.

"It's absolutely necessary," Hess said. "I'm excited about this."

Some were skeptical about change.

"I don't believe in people giving me rules," said Dorothy Byrd Setlow, 83, who has lived in her home off Florida Avenue for more than 50 years. "I like it the way it is."

Still, she said she would study the maps "a lot more."

"It might be good to stir it up," Setlow said.

Her son John Setlow saw a conflict between creating pedestrian areas and carving out deeper lots for parking. More bus service would be a better solution, he said.

The challenge will be taking the final vision from theory to reality, said Randy Baron, former president of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association. It has the potential for reinvigorating the neighborhood's commercial corridors and protecting against construction of McMansion-type homes.

"I think it presents a nice vision," said Baron, who hopes the plan avoids pricing out mom-and-pop businesses as an unintended consequence of rising property values.

"That's the Gordian knot planners are in, but it has worked in other jurisdictions." Baron said. "I'm hoping for the best."

The next step in the process is a walking tour of Seminole Heights from 9 a.m. to noon May 9. From 10 a.m. to noon May 14, a workshop will be held at The Tampa Tribune, 202 S. Parker St., with business owners, association presidents and local architects.

The city council could have a final plan for review by fall. Land development staff would begin writing codes for Seminole Heights in January with the goal of bringing those to the council by summer 2009.

For information, call the land development office at (813) 274-8405 or go www .tampagov.net.

Reporter Kathy Steele can be reached at (813) 835-2103 or ksteele@tampatrib.com.

http://southtampa2.tbo.com/content/2...hts-plan/?news
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Old April 28th, 2008, 04:54 AM   #11
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^I went to that meeting for a few minutes... and then I left before I started telling people things that they didn't want to hear... those people are very much the 'villager' types... You know, they think that they live in Mulberry or Dade City, not 2 miles north of the downtown of a city at the epicenter of a region of 3 million people... People were bitching about needing baseball fields and adding parks all over the place, and all kinds of other really uneducated, ignorant, unrealistic shit like that. It made me very glad that I didn't own property in the neighborhood, whose value would be directly affected by how myopic and self serving my neighbors are.


To me, it exemplified in unmistakable terms just what kind of an unmitigated disaster form zoning is going to be here. Form zoning requires a public that is both knowlegable and engaged. The public here is neither, meaning that the knee-jerk reactionaries who show up to meetings bitching about how a big city shouldn't function like a big city, will be the ones making the decisions affecting us all.
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Old June 12th, 2008, 02:24 AM   #12
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Seminole Heights Plan On View Tonight
The Tampa Tribune
Published: June 11, 2008

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - Residents will get their first look at a final plan and map of a future neighborhood of mixed residential and commercial uses, pedestrian-friendly walkways and public green spaces.

From 6 to 8 tonight, the plan and map will be on display at Ragan Park Community Center, 1200 E. Lake Ave. City planners will take comments and suggestions from the public.

The plan is part of a two-year pilot project to create a vision for the neighborhoods of Southeast, South and Old Seminole Heights. The goal is to write a set of zoning codes that rely on the form and size of structures rather than traditional zoning codes that focus on land use.

In past months, residents and property and business owners have met with city planners, architects, city staff and representatives of the Florida Department of Transportation, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority and the Hillsborough Planning Commission. Their ideas and a set of preliminary maps were used to craft the final plan and map.

Planners hope to submit new codes to the city council for approval in 2009.

For information, call (813) 274-8405 or go to the Growth Management & Development Services link at www.tampa

gov.net.

A staff report

http://southtampa2.tbo.com/content/2...-tonight/?news
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Old June 19th, 2008, 05:41 AM   #13
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Heights Plans Need More Tweaking
By KATHY STEELE
The Tampa Tribune
Published: June 18, 2008

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS - A map outlining a progressive strategy for neighborhood redevelopment garnered strong support from residents at an April open house.

But it logged a few critical comments at another public meeting last week.

City planners are tweaking the map, based on those comments, before submitting it for the city council's review at a public workshop, possibly on July 24.

"This is community-driven," city senior planner Cathy Coyle said.

Michelle Crespi said she and other residents living near Henry and Ola Park want to preserve single-family homes, many of which are being rehabilitated by their owners. The map could open the way for apartments or town houses.

"We're particularly unhappy about that because it is across from the park," Crespi said.

She was happy when Coyle said the map would be changed to meet residents' concerns. But Crespi said she plans to canvass her neighborhood before the workshop.

"There's still going to be a lot of issues," she said.

The map is the result of meetings in which residents and property and business owners worked with city planners to create a redevelopment vision for three neighborhoods: South, Southeast and Old Seminole Heights. Open house invitations were mailed to more than 9,000 addresses.

Four maps, including one that left Seminole Heights as is, were presented. Of the 139 people who gave an opinion, 95 liked the more progressive map that fostered a greater blend of shops, residences and public spaces. It reduced the overall number of single-family homes to about 61 percent; other maps were in the 70 percent range.

Four people liked none of the maps, and 13 preferred the status quo. Four liked a map with minor adjustments to allow more apartments or town homes, and 23 wanted a map that created different lot sizes for single-family homes.

The city launched the two-year pilot project in February to learn what residents and property owners want for their neighborhood and then create regulations, known as form-based zoning codes, to make their vision happen over the next 10, 20 or 50 years.

Generally, form-based codes focus on the size and appearance of buildings, as well as the layout of streets and public spaces. The intent is to create more mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.

Traditional zoning generally separates areas based on land use and decisions of public safety and health, placing shops, homes and factories in different districts.

Bruce Gibson said Seminole Heights is held back because of underused commercial properties. But he worries that the proposed map wouldn't solve the problem and could make things worse. He also wonders how much population growth is needed to support new businesses.

"I'm not convinced we're going to get boutiques, coffee and tea shops," said Gibson, of Old Seminole Heights.

Ann Hipson raised concerns about creating a category, called office/live-work, for home-based offices along portions of Central Avenue.

She had no problem with existing offices or shops on Central and Hanna avenues.

"That adds to the charm of Central Avenue," said Hipson, who lives on Central. "But I think if you see that from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard all the way to Hanna, you're going to lose the charm of one of the prettiest streets in Tampa."

Gibson agreed, saying "I'm skeptical of it because I don't see anything wrong with how it is. I don't see a problem that needs to be addressed by change."

At one of the planning workshops, residents proposed a village center along Nebraska Avenue, near the Publix grocery store and Lake Roberta.

"I love the concept of it, but I don't see how we can pull it off," said Eric Holsinger, who lives on Suwanee Avenue. "It seems like it would be easier if it went on one of the established commercial corridors."

Susan Long, president of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association, said she saw potential conflicts between a village center developer and the community's desire for more public green space.

Questions also were asked as to why additional commercial is desired near homes at 15th Street and Hanna.

"Some people in the area wanted smaller shops to walk to," Coyle said.

Some tweaks to the map were made before the June 11 meeting in response to residents or neighborhood groups, and Coyle said more will be made.

Another public workshop will be scheduled in September before a final plan goes to the council for a vote in December. If approved, city planners would begin writing codes to submit to the council and Hillsborough Planning Commission for approval in 2009.

For information or to comment, call the city's land development office at (813) 274-8405 or go online to www .tampagov.net.

Reporter Kathy Steele can be reached at (813) 259-7652 or ksteele@tampatrib.com.

http://southtampa2.tbo.com/content/2...tweaking/?news
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Old June 19th, 2008, 05:06 PM   #14
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Hate to nitpick, but what does this Seminole Heights neighborhood article have to do with the Heights redevelopment project along the river in Tampa Heights?
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Old June 19th, 2008, 06:08 PM   #15
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Don't hate to nitpick, especially when I put it in the wrong thread.
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Old March 22nd, 2009, 06:19 PM   #16
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According to the draft agenda for the 26th of this month, the 9am meeting they will be discussing the status of the Seminole Height's plan with the Land Development Coordination.
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Old March 22nd, 2009, 08:24 PM   #17
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My boss Antonio Amadeo who is chairman of the Variance Review Board told me Tampa will officially switch all zoning laws to form based zoning soon.
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Old March 22nd, 2009, 09:53 PM   #18
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This will prove equally as flawed as neighborhoods NIMBY the city to death
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Old March 22nd, 2009, 10:17 PM   #19
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Maybe the city will grow some balls and tell them if they want to live in an non urban environment then move to New Tampa.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 06:37 PM   #20
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Seminole Heights isn't urban - it's just denser than places like New Tampa. They need to redo Florida and Nebraska, but good luck with that.
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