After months of negotiating brought on by developer Vlass Temple Terrace’s proposal to build a 214-unit apartment complex in the downtown redevelopment area, the Temple Terrace City Council is meeting tonight to discuss the project and possibly take a final vote.
The meeting will take place at the Lightfoot Recreation Center.
Vlass’ original proposal submitted in February called for several changes to the master development agreement (MDA), a contract between the city and Vlass that dictates what the developer can and can’t do. Had the measure been approved, Vlass would have received approximately 25 waivers in order to complete the residential portion of the project.
The original plan called for no retail space on the first floor of the residential buildings, a concern for council members and residents, who have stated that they want a walk-able downtown. Vlass contended that getting financing for such a building would be impossible.
So, with Councilwoman Mary Jane Neale casting the dissenting vote. The majority said they didn’t agree with the plan but wanted to work with Vlass to come to a compromise.
Since the council denied Vlass’ original proposal, both sides have been meeting to discuss their terms. The conflict centers on three main topics: ceiling heights on the first floor of the buildings that would make up the residences; how long the first floor would be marketed for retail before being converted to residential; and the amount of parking spaces that are adequate.
On Sept. 25, Vlass submitted its third and final proposal. The revision differs little from what has already been discussed in the last few months.
The council has said ceiling heights should be 14 feet; the Vlass proposal has them at 12 feet. The council has said first-floor retail should be marketed for at least one year; the Vlass proposal has it marketed for six months. The council has said there should be shared parking on the west side of the apartment buildings; the Vlass proposal has designated parking there for apartment residents.
In a letter to Temple Terrace Patch and others, Mayor Joe Affronti called tonight’s special meeting “the most important decision that Temple Terrace will face.”
“You must decide if you feel that ceiling height, parking and marketing differences between staff and Vlass are ‘deal breakers,’” he wrote. “I encourage you to make your feelings known to your council members.”
Council members will first meet as the Temple Terrace Redevelopment Agency (TTRA) at 6 p.m. They are scheduled to review and discuss Vlass’ third revision and possibly make a recommendation to the City Council (themselves).
The City Council meeting will immediately follow. The council is scheduled to consider any recommendations from the TTRA and could vote the project up or down.
The city is inviting the pubic to attend the meetings as public comment will be taken.
To share your opinions with Affronti and council members beforehand, email them at the following addresses:
- Mayor Joe Affronti, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Councilman Bob Boss, email@example.com
- Councilwoman Alison Fernandez, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Councilman Ron Govin, email@example.com
- Councilwoman Mary Jane Neale, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Councilman David Pogorilich, email@example.com
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