Mar 01, 2021

Tampa, Florida, Deliberates New Rules in High-risk Coastal Areas

A proposal intends to lower the allowable density of residential development in the Tampa, Florida's, coastal high hazard areas.

 
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A proposal sparked conversation between developers and residents at a Tampa City Council meeting about the influx of apartment complexes south of Gandy Boulevard.

The proposal intends to lower the allowable density of residential development in the city’s coastal high hazard areas, reported Tampa Bay News. This residential development is part of the city that is deemed likely to flood during hurricanes. 

Some residents south of Gandy Boulevard have complained that a recent proliferation of apartment complexes has led to traffic congestion and that this congestion hinders hurricane evacuations, reported Tampa Bay Times. A city proposal to temporarily slow development in coastal city neighborhoods was in a discussion that lasted more than three hours.

Developers and land-use attorneys cited city data showing that South Tampa’s population density was not as high as other parts of the city that lie in the hazard zone, so the push by south of Gandy residents would negatively affect large swaths of the city not yet adequately consulted, reported Tampa Bay Times.

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A proposed nine-month agreement would apply to rezonings and changes to Tampa’s comprehensive plan for more than 30,000 housing units and 55,000 residents. The pause would encourage mixed-use development and reduce the density allowed for residential development to 25 units per acre, reported Tampa Bay Times. 

Council members asked staff to return with a draft ordinance by Mar. 4 and the vote was unanimously approved. Staff was also asked to develop a solution that would only apply to the south of the Gandy neighborhood by November, which also passed unanimously, according to Tampa Bay Times.

The measure encourages mixed-use projects, which can alleviate long trips to grocery stores and other retail stores.

The St. Petersburg City Council voted to loosen rules that prohibited increases in building density in the coastal high hazard area in October, according to Tampa Bay Times. This led to a vote to require more resilient construction in those high-risk zones, which passed unanimously.

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