TREASURE ISLAND – After a lengthy discussion, Treasure Island Commissioners decided May 7 to forward a proposal for a planned development district to the city’s Local Planning Agency for review.
The LPA will have 180 days to make a recommendation to the City Commission on the concept.
The PD, as it is called, would give developers options to work with, as opposed to being locked in to current height and density requirements along the beach and downtown.
“What we’re trying to do is provide maximum flexibility (to developers),” said City Manager Reid Silverboard. “We’ve set the zoning with the mixed-use now. However, it still puts limits on what people can build. By including an area in a PD, it gives developers an opportunity to come to the city and say we have this development plan that would look like this. Will you approve for a PD? It just simply gives an option and flexibility for development.”
The process would begin with a developer bringing a conceptual plan to city staff for analysis. If it passes that test, the developer would present a preliminary plan to city’s Planning and Zoning Board, and then the City Commission.
If it passes that level, the developer would bring a final plan to the table for planning board and City Commission approval. At that point, the city could issue a PD to the area affected.
After that, any changes in density or height would go to a referendum for voter approval.
In the case of the north end of Treasure Island, where Gators Café is located, the current zoning is Commercial General. Tampa-based HCI, owner of the Gators property, would have to request a rezoning to Resort Facilities High before a PD for the site could be considered.
HCI is also considering a land swap with the city to obtain Kingfish Park on the east end of Kingfish Drive. In exchange, the city would receive a parcel HCI currently owns. Among those being tossed around are the Rockhouse site on the west side of Gulf Boulevard and a house HCI owns next to the city boat ramp.
Jim Lorenz, chairman of the LPA, said he had plenty of questions about the validity of the PD concept.
“In my cursory examination, I see a lot of holes, a lot of questions,” he said. “I would personally ask for six months – six meetings (for review). I would like input from the Vision Committee, the business community and perhaps some developers. How much of this planned development idea has been run past developers? We just need some real world input. That’s all I’m pleading for.”
Commissioner Alan Bildz said he would keep the LPA time limit at 90 days.
“The LPA has the option to up its special meetings,” Bildz said. “At the end of 90 days we’re not going to turn into a pumpkin.”
Commissioner Phil Collins agreed that a longer time frame was good.
“It’s going to take a good six months, maybe longer,” Collins said. “I think we’re doing them a disservice to say OK, you’ve got 90 days to get us something. I think if it takes seven months instead of six months, so be it.”
In other action, the commissioners:
• Granted a request for a May 21 hearing on a parking variance request in the 10700 block of Gulf Boulevard.
• Moved ahead on a request by Personnel Director Jennifer Poirrier to stay with the city’s current insurance carrier for dental, life and long-term disability insurance in fiscal 2014. Next year’s renewal will come with no increase in premium and no benefit changes.
• Moved forward on a recommendation by Finance Director Christine Trovato to keep Bank of America for the city’s banking services.
• Turned down a request by a city in England to become a sister city.
• Moved ahead on the possibility of a salary increase for Silverboard, who is currently earning $105,053. The current budget contains a section for a 6 percent wage adjustment. A 6 percent increase would boost Silverboard’s pay to $111,349 and a 3 percent increase would make it $108,198. Commissioners decided to check out other area cities of similar size and services to see what they pay their city managers.