DI Village & Main Street Project

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, along with other recreational improvements that have been placed in the City’s 5-year capital improvement plan for future funding and construction.

Now we are turning our focus 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 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.

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 implement the 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:
– 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?

Conduct Inventory & Analysis of Existing Conditions within the Corridor (Spring, Summer & Fall 2015)
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 with assistance from a USF graduate student in Urban and Regional Planning is in the process of completing data collection and analysis of existing conditions and preparing a report with accompanying maps and photos that visually depict existing conditions, consistent with the City’s reporting criteria. This information will be used as a basis for refining area boundaries and beginning the design phase.

Refine Area Boundaries (Fall 2015)

Community stakeholders will meet to review the existing conditions report and consider boundaries for the Village and Main Street corridor based on the report information and on stakeholder preferences. The area boundaries will be delineated based on that input.

Conduct Series of Design Workshops (beginning in early 2016)

The City’s Form-based Code Program staff, with assistance from the USF graduate program in the School of Architecture, will conduct a series of public community workshops that will 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 design preferences of workshop participants will be solicited and utilized to 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 the community prefers.

The goal of the workshops is to identify and refine the design concept for which there is the strongest stakeholder consensus. The supported concept will guide development of the form-based code’s design standards.

Adopt Code

City Council Workshops and Public Hearings to adopt the form-based code, along with any needed amendments to the City’s Land Use Plan, are the final steps to create the DI Village & Main Street Zoning District.

Links to Resources:

Davis Islands Community Plan
Why This Project is Being Undertaken
Study Area
City of Tampa Form-based Code Program Brochure
City of Tampa Slide Presentation about FBC’s

For More Information: Contact DI Community Plan Stewardship Team Chair, Gary Brown – sterlingbayhomes@aol.com; or City of Tampa Urban Design Coordinator, Mike Callahan – mike.callahan@tampagov.net