MADEIRA BEACH – A trio of ordinances that are expected to spur future development in the city, while providing control over what goes in, was passed by the City Commission at its July 9 meeting.
City officials hailed passage of the new laws as a major accomplishment.
“This gives us the ultimate flexibility to handle new development as it goes into Madeira Beach,” said City Manager Shane Crawford.
Speaking to the commission, Crawford said the ordinances’ approval “shows you are a very, very progressive city, without writing a blank check to the developers.”
“You’re saying, on a case by case basis, ‘We’ll look at the development you want to bring to the city, and let you know if it fits. If you fit, we’ll find a way to make it happen,’” said Crawford.
Crawford commended planning consultant Dave Healey and Al Carrier of Deuel and Associates Engineering for putting in “four or five years of hard work” to develop the ordinances. Community Development Director Lynn Rosetti also was recognized.
Healey summarized the new ordinances’ content and their impact on Madeira Beach’s future development at a recent workshop session.
A new planning category called Resort Facilities High lets the city add density for lodging units. Density/intensity averaging provides added flexibility, while procedures are put in place that give the city control of new development, Healey said.
A special area plan is established for the Town Center district, which encompasses the new city hall complex and the surrounding area, including Madeira Way and Causeway Boulevard (150th Street). In the Town Center district, added density is available for residential, commercial, retail and temporary lodging.
The goal is to encourage a mixed-use area, by providing additional flexibility to respond to the density/intensity needs of developers, Healey said. Measured and structured processes are in place, Healey said, “so the city gets what it wants, which is a quality development.”
“This is not a blank check and it is not automatic,” Healey said. Much review and approval is needed before a development is finally approved, he pointed out.
Commission members enthusiastically endorsed the new development policies following their unanimous votes of approval.
“I’m excited to finally get this done,” said Commissioner Terry Lister. “This gives the city the flexibility to put things in the city that are good for the city.”
Mayor Travis Palladeno said the ordinances’ adoption was a good move for assuring the city’s future.
“It’s nice to see this done and watch the rebirth of our city,” he said.
Palladeno believes the new policies’ effect on the city’s future growth will be far-reaching. Properties that have remained idle for years will now be developed, he predicted.
“This is overwhelming and it’s wonderful,” said Commissioner Pat Shontz, who was mayor when the concept was first talked about.
“We’ve just made history,” she said.
No more sister city
Madeira Beach is terminating its sister city relationship with the Bahamian island of Bimini. The pairing had once been touted as an ideal fit, with partnerships in tourism, fishing activities and other common interests seen as benefitting both parties.
But Crawford said the relationship had become one-sided. He said Madeira Beach had worked hard to make the joint venture a success.
“We tried,” Crawford said. “But the level of participation on the other side is just not there.”
Crawford said he had favored the Bimini relationship because of the economic impact involved, “but it just didn’t pan out.”
Madeira Beach does have a sister city relationship on record with Madeira, Portugal, but no joint activities have taken place in recent memory. Asked by Vice Mayor Nancy Hodges whether the city would consider partnering with another city, Crawford replied, “We would consider it if you’re interested.” But he added, “That’s not at the top of my priority list.”