LARGO – With the real estate market becoming active, city officials plan to give developers a land-use tool to help them carry out their multi-family projects in certain areas.
City commissioners authorized staff June 5 to begin the process to amend their comprehensive or growth plan to add a land-use category called residential high, allowing up to 30 units per acre. The maximum residential density allowed in the plan at this time is residential medium, at 15 units an acre.
City officials hope to attract private developers in activity centers, which in urban planning are areas where there is a concentration of commercial and other land uses. City planners say activity centers are important to the overall growth, livability and neighborhood revitalization within the community.
The high-density residential designation is appropriate in locations within or near to urban activity centers, city officials said. These areas typically have direct access to arterial roads and thoroughfares and are served by mass transit, providing an alternative to automobile use. The designation is used in other cities in the county and in the unincorporated area.
Commissioner Woody Brown asked if there were a specific project that led to designation being proposed.
A study conducted in 2008 indicated that the Largo Mall Area Activity Center was an ideal candidate for high-density housing projects, suggesting sites that would be appropriate multi-family developments.
“We have been approached by a property owner in that area interested in doing a project,” said Community Development Director Carol Stricklin. “Yes, this would create the opportunity for a project of that type.”
Staff is expected to draft an ordinance and schedule the first public hearing with the Planning Board July 5. If approved by the City Commission, staff expects to complete the amendment by Nov. 14.
Largo takes steps to market properties
City commissioners agreed to award commercial real estate service contracts to two companies to market five downtown sites owned by Largo’s Community Redevelopment Agency.
Prudential Commercial Real Estate FL and Colliers Arnold Inc. will have a three-year contract to provide real estate services to the city.
The sites are mostly located on the north side of West Bay Drive. Other sites are Ridge Road and the south side of West Bay Drive near the CSX rail line.