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DI Village & Main Street Project (updated March 6, 2017)

Information prepared by the Davis Islands Community Plan Stewardship Team

BACKGROUND:  The Davis Islands community and the City of Tampa have been working together over the past few years to implement our Davis Islands Community Plan.  Since the Plan’s adoption in 2007, a number of plan strategies have been implemented, including completion of detailed boulevard repaving/restriping plans to improve traffic safety that are beginning to make a positive difference, renovation of historic Roy Jenkins Pool, and construction of a portion of the planned waterfront walkway and multi-use trail.  Other recreational improvements identified in the Plan, such as a restroom for Seaplane Basin Park, have been placed in the City’s 5-year capital improvement plan for future funding and construction.

Recently, we turned our attention to implementing Plan Strategy 7.4, which calls for working with all stakeholders to develop a form-based code to achieve the Community Plan’s vision for the Village Center and main street corridor, based on time-tested planning and design principles that protect and enhance the corridor’s pedestrian friendly nature. Our present Euclidean zoning districts do not protect these values, resulting in a slow erosion of those characteristics which contribute to our quality of life on Davis Islands.

The Community Plan’s vision includes a thoughtfully planned balance of different uses that are integrated with one another and functional;  predominantly low-scale buildings (i.e., one to three stories) oriented to the wide sidewalks and designed to be pedestrian friendly;  a village that embodies the Island’s small town feel and character with goods and services offered that meet the community’s needs;  places to sit and enjoy the street life;  features, such as landscaping, pedestrian scale street lighting, signage and street furniture, that clearly define the village as the center of the Islands;  buildings constructed in a traditional town center manner with no car space between buildings and sidewalks;  village shops on the first floor and sometimes offices and apartments above;  on-street parking and additional parking located conveniently out of sight;  and sidewalks that are the public domain, with beautiful lighting and comfortable benches and tables in the village shaded by trees and with other attractively designed amenities including bike racks, water fountains and trash receptacles.

The outcome of creating a form-based code for the DI Village and Main Street will be a new zoning district that takes the place of the existing zoning districts in the corridor and is easy to understand and implement.  The new district designation will not require conformance to its standards until such time as redevelopment occurs.

FORM-BASED CODE PROCESS:  The City of Tampa has already worked with several other communities to develop form-based codes for their neighborhoods, such as the one for Seminole Heights.  The process is well-tested.  Following is a description of the process for developing a form-based code for Davis Islands’ Village and Main Street corridor.

1. First Stakeholder Meeting

The community held a project kick-off meeting on February 11, 2015.  This public meeting included a short presentation about the Davis Islands Community Plan’s vision and strategies related to protecting and enhancing the pedestrian friendly nature of the Village Center and Main Street corridor.  Then an in-depth presentation was given by City of Tampa staff about the City’s Form-based Code program, its benefits, and how a form-based code would help implement the Community Plan.  The meeting was also an opportunity for members of the community to sign up for volunteer tasks and continuing stakeholder meeting notification and involvement.  The meeting concluded with a Q&A to answer questions and provide an opportunity to raise concerns that need to be addressed as part of this process, including the following topics and questions that were raised by meeting participants:

– Parking (need adequate parking; need to have different ways to address required parking)

– Mass Transit (circulator/shuttle service needed; better connectivity with Downtown and nearby

neighborhoods needed)

– Speeding (need to implement complete streets/traffic calming on Davis and East Davis boulevards as

well as on Biscayne Ave)

– Would the FBC be easy to undo through the variance process?

– Don’t apply FBC to single family.

– Already too noisy (e.g., loud music) in the Village; need to address so that more development does

not increase noise.

– Corporate take-over of/influence over FBC process might be possible.

– How will FEMA requirements impact redevelopment?

– How can the national Main Street Program benefit this project?

2. Conduct Inventory & Analysis of Existing Conditions in the Corridor (completed in January 2016)

The next step in the process is an inventory and analysis of existing conditions in the corridor. The City’s Form-based Code Program staff oversaw a USF graduate student in Urban and Regional Planning who helped gather data for analysis.  Community volunteers also helped collect the information.  City staff completed the study and presented the results to the DI Community Plan Stewardship Team, which is the committee guiding the Plan’s implementation. Another presentation to the  Davis Islands Civic Association was conducted in the Fall of 2016.

3. Refine Area Boundaries & Conduct Series of Design Workshops (not scheduled)

The next stem is a series of community workshops conducted by the City’s Form-based Code Program staff. These workshops are intended to result in design concepts that meet the following minimum criteria:  1) protects and enhances the pedestrian friendly corridor;  2) meets FEMA requirements for redevelopment;  3) adequately addresses parking;  and 4) is economically feasible.

The start date has been suspended by City staff due to the lack of staffing resources to allocate to the project.  The Planning and Development Department Director anticipates sufficient professional resources being available to ensure a successful restart of the project beginning in January 2019, following completion of the FBC process for Tampa Heights.  Once those resources are in place, the first meeting will include a review of the inventory and analysis of existing conditions report and refinement of the boundaries for the Village and Main Street corridor, if needed, based on the report information and on stakeholder preferences.

Design preferences of workshop participants will be solicited and utilized to help create the design concepts for consideration.  What you can do right now to get ready for these workshops:  Take photos of village-scale urban development that you like, whether here on Davis Islands or when you are away on vacation. Save these photos into a digital file folder to share later with workshop participants and to help the designers understand what architectural styles are preferred.

The goal of the workshops is a design concept, meeting the four criteria and for which there is the strong stakeholder consensus.  The supported concept will guide development of the form-based code’s design standards.

4. Develop Design Standards

City Form-based Code Program staff will craft the code’s design standards based on the design concept supported by the community.  This process usually takes about one year to complete.

5. Adopt Code

After the Form-based Code Program staff prepare the design standards, City Council will hold public hearings to adopt the new code, along with any needed amendments to the City’s Land Use Plan. These are the final steps to create the DI Village & Main Street Zoning District.

Links to Resources

Community Plan & Stewardship Team

Why This Project is Being Undertaken (slide presentation without sound) 

Study Area

City of Tampa Form-based Code Program Brochure

City of Tampa Slide Presentation about FBC’s (no sound)

Existing Conditions Inventory & Analysis Maps

For More Information:  Contact DI Community Plan Stewardship Team Chair, Ira Cohen – sharkman@tampaby.rr.com ;  or City of Tampa Urban Design Coordinator, Mike Callahan – mike.callahan@tampagov.net