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Politics

City staff to take on $100,000 job itself

By TIMES STAFF
Published April 4, 2007


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Saying the city staff could do the job, council members nixed a proposal to have consultants create standards for how to place buildings on lots.

The consultants will continue to develop architectural standards that will determine what buildings should look like.

The unanimous decision will save the city $100,000, officials said.

The consultants, a design team from the Florida Institute of Government at the University of South Florida, wanted about $80,000 create the "form-based code." The extra $20,000 was to get the proposed code out to the public for feedback.

The city is paying the team $150,000 for the architectural standards that will be part of the overall Seminole by Design project, which aims to create a recognizable identity for the city.

Council member Peter Hofstra was the first to question the wisdom of spending an additional $100,000.

"This whole imaging thing has taken on a life of its own," Hofstra said.

With potential property tax cuts coming from Tallahassee, it's not a good time to spend that kind of money when the city staff could do the job, he said.

Other council members agreed, saying they were not sure they had gotten their money's worth from funding spent on a streetscaping plan and the architectural standards.

City Manager Frank Edmunds said the architectural standard part of Seminole by Design is still being developed. The USF team was waiting to continue until the council decided whether to have it also do the form-based code.

The architectural standards will determine things like building height and design. The form-based code will guide developers in the placement of the buildings, the sidewalks, parking and other structures.

The standards and form-based code will apply to businesses and focus on the city's main business corridors: Park, Seminole and Bay Pines boulevards, Park Street and Starkey Road.

Council member Bob Matthews said he doesn't think existing businesses should be forced to comply with new standards.

Edmunds said the form-based code would apply only to new construction or teardowns. The architectural standards would apply to those and to businesses that decide to renovate.

[Last modified April 4, 2007, 06:54:30]


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