Tampa’s Bob Buckhorn to speak at Scenic Jacksonville’s 2022 Great Cities Symposium

Tampa’s Bob Buckhorn to speak at Scenic Jacksonville’s 2022 Great Cities Symposium

“Jacksonville, FL (June 7, 2022) – Scenic Jacksonville is pleased to announce that former Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will be its guest speaker at the 2022 Great Cities Symposium on Wednesday, October 12th from 5 until 8 p.m. at the Garden Club of Jacksonville, 1005 Riverside Avenue. Tickets are $100 per person and are on sale at www.scenicjax.org.

Buckhorn presided over the rapid growth and increased vibrancy of Tampa’s urban core during his two terms as mayor of Tampa (2011-2019). With a focus on community engagement, infill development, business partnerships and the previously underutilized Hillsborough river, Buckhorn led Tampa’s transformation into what is now a top city for corporate business, private equity and start ups, with a thriving young professionals economy.

Among his many accomplishments as mayor are the completion of the 2.4 mile Tampa Riverwalk, the West River redevelopment plan with the 25 acre Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, the redevelopment of Armature Works and the Tampa Heights neighborhood, and the $3 billion Water Street mixed use development, currently underway. He also created a Stay and Play initiative for underserved youth, and worked to streamline the way the city does business.

The evening’s activities will begin with a cocktail social hour and silent auction from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. featuring beer, wine, a signature cocktail and hors d’ouevres from Biscottis. The program will be held from 6:15 – 7:30 to include remarks from Buckhorn, discussion and Q & A. Desserts and cocktails will be served from 7:30 – 8 p.m. along with the conclusion of the silent auction.

The Great Cities Symposium is an annual fundraiser hosted by Scenic Jacksonville for the purpose of bringing inspired examples of leadership and peer city solutions to the people of Jacksonville. The program aims to inform, entertain and engage citizens with continuing discussions of how we can continue to improve our city for the benefit of future generations. It is the primary fundraiser for Scenic Jacksonville to further its mission.

Scenic Jacksonville wishes to thank its sponsors which make the event possible. Gold Sponsors are FIS, Foley & Lardner, the Brinton family, Barbara and William Harrell and all sponsors are displayed on the event web page. We welcome additional sponsorships and in-kind donations. Information available on the website at www.scenicjax.org.”

— Scenic Jacksonville

Please visit Scenic Jacksonville for more information here

“Alachua county reaches agreement to preserve Native American land in Micanopy”

“Alachua county reaches agreement to preserve Native American land in Micanopy”

Video and Text: myCBS4.com

“During a meeting on March 22, Alachua county commissioners passed a motion to buy a parcel of land at the intersection of U.S. 441 and Tuscawilla Road, in order to preserve Native American history.

A developer wanted to turn the 5-acre property into a Dollar General store. The land holds historical significance because it is where the second Seminole war started. Micanopy resident Aaron Weber has been fighting to preserve this land since March of 2020.

‘Everyone told us we couldn’t do it, from former county commissioners to hired experts, and something just kept us persevering and pushing along. It was like the spirit of Osceola was with us, that spirit of never surrendering and never quitting,’ Weber said.

Weber said along the process more people joined like Micanopy resident Robert Rosa.

‘It was a difficult process. Most of our people are unseen, our voices are invisible or even ourselves are invisible to the common people, the government. They just don’t realize that we are still here,’ Rosa said.

Martha Tommie, member of the Seminole tribe, feels thankful.

‘He said, we won. And I just started being humble and just respecting our elders and our ancestors and our Seminole tribe of today,’ Tommie said.

Weber said with this gesture the board of county commissioners in Alachua county showed they care.

‘The county motto is Where nature and culture meet and they exemplified that and they care about nature,’ Weber said…”

— Massiel Leyva, myCBS4.com

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Affordable housing/density: “Council discusses accessory dwellings, zoning changes to increase housing”

Affordable housing/density: “Council discusses accessory dwellings, zoning changes to increase housing”

Photo: In Catalyst

“As the debate rages on how best to address the housing crisis in St. Petersburg, city officials continue to explore every avenue for relief with a sense of urgency.

During Thursday’s Committee of the Whole (COW) Meeting, members of the city council heard an expansive presentation on how increasing accessory dwelling units (ADU), changing zoning regulations and increasing density along major corridors could help the housing problem gripping the region. The presentation is part of the St. Pete 2050 Plan and encompasses information gleaned from an extensive series of stakeholder meetings that began in May 2021.

Liz Abernethy, director of planning and development for the city, led the presentation for the committee. She said she had the pleasure of attending Tuesday’s St. Petersburg Development summit, and some of Mayor Ken Welch’s remarks on how the city will manage its explosive [growth] resonated with her.

‘He talked about protecting and preserving our authenticity, and that really struck a note with me,’ Abernethy said.

Abernethy said the city currently receives about 60 ADU permits per year, and outlined city code amendments that could increase that number. Those include removing the requirement for paved parking spaces and allowing gravel, deleting the 50% floor area restriction for two-story buildings, and allowing single-family ADUs in multifamily districts, which Abernethy called an oversight and contradictory.

Abernethy also proposed increasing the maximum unit size from 750 square feet to 800 square feet or 35% of the total floor area, excluding garages.

Abernethy explained that areas zoned as NT-3 (neighborhood traditional) do not allow new ADUs, although NT-3 areas are home to many existing ADUs. Many of these neighborhoods are on the far east and west sides of the city, and Abernethy said residents of Historic Old Northeast voiced concerns regarding additional ADUs. The reservations are due to potential parking congestion and increased stormwater intrusion.

‘That is a neighborhood where there are many now that were there historically,’ she said. ‘This ability to have a new accessory dwelling unit in that neighborhood that does have the alleys seems consistent with the character of that neighborhood.’

While just 3,495 NT-3 parcels would qualify for ADUs, that number jumps to 35,506 in areas zoned as neighborhood suburban (NS). NS neighborhoods comprise wide swaths of the north, south, and west sides of St. Pete. Holiday Park recently expressed the same concerns as Old Northeast, with the additional worry that ADUs would change the neighborhood’s character…

The committee approved several amendments to the city’s ADU regulations while disregarding several others in a split vote. There was a heavy debate on specific details and hesitation for the universal language in Gabbard’s motion to move the proposal forward…”

— Mark Parker, St Pete Catalyst

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Scenic Jacksonville Great Cities Symposium

Scenic Jacksonville Great Cities Symposium

Scenic Jacksonville is pleased to welcome Ron Littlefield as its guest speaker at its second annual Great Cities Symposium.

This year the Great Cities Symposium is being held on Wednesday, October 6 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm at the Garden Club of Jacksonville.

Sponsors include FIS Global, Foley & Lardner and many others.

The event begins at 5:30 with cocktails and hors d’ouevres, followed by Mayor Littlefield’s remarks at 6:30. Limited seating. Covid-19 precautions observed, bring a mask to use where appropriate.

Littlefield is a city planner and former mayor of Chattanooga. While mayor, he attracted major investment in the city from companies such as Volkswagen and French rail manufacturer Alstom.

Prior to serving two terms as mayor, Littlefield oversaw the undertaking of Vision 2000 — one of the first large scale visioning projects in the US — credited with changing public outlooks and attitudes, paving the way for Chattanooga’s transition from the “dirtiest city in America” to a new local economy based on environmental sustainability and quality of life.

“Chattanooga is cool and green and growing,” Littlefield noted, as he left office in 2013. “No longer dingy and declining. Chattanooga has status as a fast-advancing, youth attracting, ‘cool’ city. Nothing could be finer.”

Always an innovator, Littlefield now is a senior fellow with the Governing Institute and serves as lead analyst on that organization’s City Accelerator project.

— Scenic Jacksonville

For details and to purchase tickets please visit Scenic Jacksonville’s Great Cities Symposium page.

“Bonita Springs wants private development, water access and more on riverfront land”

“Bonita Springs wants private development, water access and more on riverfront land”

Photo: Alex Driehaus, Naples Daily News, USA Today – Florida Nework

“A two-hour Bonita Springs City Council workshop on Wednesday ended with a 17-item design guide for developers interested in 5 acres along the Imperial River…

The property sits on Old 41 Road and straddles the Imperial River, and councilors regard it as the most important piece of undeveloped land downtown.

They were left with a list of 17 features they would like to see on the property. All developer applications will be tested against the guidelines. Councilors want to see all unsolicited design bids during a July 21 meeting when they could approve a plan.

The list tells developers what City Council does and does not want on the property. Unsolicited property applications made to the city did not have a concrete guideline to follow.

A previous workshop last month had tangents and varying opinions. Some councilors wanted to leave details in the hands of developers. Others wanted to be specific. Mayor Rick Steinmeyer wanted to keep the land as a city-owned park.

A facilitator, Ken Tinkler, guided councilors through the process and kept discussion on track. He began the workshop by reminding councilors how long the property has sat undeveloped under city ownership.

‘You’ve been at this for 6,683 days,’ Tinkler said. ‘A child born that day just graduated high school or maybe finished their first year of college.’

The ideas were all high level, allowing developers leeway to design around the features. All councilors agreed on some core ideas, first and foremost being public park space.

‘We need public access along the (Imperial River),’ Councilor Mike Gibson said.

Other public features, including parking, commercial space and ‘destination’ businesses, topped the list.

Residential units should be integrated in proposed designs, but only for people that will live in the buildings permanently, City Council stated.

‘People that are going to be there most of the year, that are going to take advantage of everything that’s downtown, that will frequent the businesses and make it more attractive for businesses to be downtown,’ Gibson said…

Before the workshop, four presentations were made to City Council. Design plans by three developers showcased commercial spaces, parks and about 100 residential units. They proposed public-private partnerships, mostly by letting the city own and operate any public park space. One plan called for a long-term lease of the land.

Charlie Strader, former president of the Bonita Springs Historical Society, gave a presentation against major development and presented ideas for a public park and event space.

Public speakers asked councilors to vote against any plans with residential units.

‘I would implore that you guys consider a museum, attraction, a Seminole village, an assortment of other options for the Bonita property other than residential housing and a mall,’ said John Paeno, owner of CGT Kayaks.”

— Thaddeus Mast, Naples Daily News

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City of Bonita Springs

Clearwater: Imagine Master Plan for Downtown and Waterfront

Clearwater: Imagine Master Plan for Downtown and Waterfront

“Imagine Clearwater is an investment in the redevelopment of Downtown Clearwater and its waterfront – including construction of a new 4,000-seat covered amphitheater in Coachman Park – that will be a must-see destination point in the Tampa Bay area.

Designed to connect the waterfront and the Downtown Clearwater community, Imagine Clearwater includes an expansive park and recreational spaces, a gateway plaza and bluff walk that connects the park to downtown, a bay walk promenade overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, a lake area with picnic shelters, and an ocean-themed play area with an interactive pop-jet water feature.

The additions to Coachman Park also include the amphitheater which will accommodate a year-round performance schedule that promises to continue the city of Clearwater’s reputation as a premier location for diverse live entertainment. Construction is slated to take around two years. ”

City of Clearwater Coachman Park Imagine Redevelopment Project

Citizens for a Scenic Florida