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New development rules delayed
With differences still to be worked out, the committee working on a presentation of revisions is advised to wait.
By MICHAEL VAN SICKLER
Published May 11, 2005
TAMPA - Eighteen months of rigorous negotiations between builders and civic activists over tighter rules for major developments came to a halt Tuesday, just as they were about to present their finding for a vote of the County Commission.
"I think it's a delay tactic, and that this is an effort to wear people down," said Terry Flott, a Seffner community leader.
Known as the Planned Development Ordinance Review Committee, the 28-member group is a balanced mix of people involved in the development industry and civic leaders. They were asked almost two years ago to revise the rules for planned developments - major projects that are evaluated by a different standard than traditional subdivisions.
The rewrite was sought because current regulations were regarded by some as too lenient, letting developers build higher, closer to property lines, and with more houses, apartments or shops than would otherwise be permitted.
The committee's revisions were supposed to be outlined to the commissioners next week, but at a meeting Tuesday the director of county planning and growth management, Bruce McClendon, advised the panel to wait. Going ahead would create "unnecessary conflict," he said, forcing the commissioners to choose between the builders and civic groups on rule changes that are still being disputed.
A compromise can be reached, but it will take more time, he said. The committee agreed to the delay, although some members expressed disappointment.
Biff Craine, a land-use attorney, welcomed the pause, saying the two sides needed more time to work out their differences. McClendon said he expects it will take three or four months to reach a consensus, and another two months for public hearings.