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Redevelopment Project’s ‘Most Important Decision’ Expected Tonight

The Temple Terrace Redevelopment Agency and City Council will have special meetings at the Lightfoot Recreation Center beginning at 6 p.m.

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:

See also:
Mayor: Impending Redevelopment Vote is ‘Most Important Decision’
City Receives Revised Redevelopment Proposal
Mayor: Redevelopment Project Must Move Forward
Redevelopment Project at Standstill
City Denies Redevelopment Proposal
Developers Give City Ultimatum
Council Postpones Redevelopment Decision

Chase October 10, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Vlass not being present himself meant he knew the outcome before the meeting. The good news is council stepped up and did the right thing. The deal with Vlass is not dead, but it will be interesting to see his next move. Either he goes forward with the agreement in place or he pulls out of the project. All of this talk of whether he would sue is nonsense. He has a deadline for each phase of the project, he proposed 26 amendments to the MDA which approved would have opened the flood gates to low end apartments. This was the best possible outcome for the city and again kudos to council for stepping up and for all of us making the citizens voice heard. As I stated last week, the city will not go "broke" over this, it was a scare tactic. The city has multiple options with or without Vlass. Time to move forward to the next step to a downtown center that makes sense for the city and the citizens.
JS October 10, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Not relevant Scott? We shall see how relevant they become further down the road if and when Vlass asks for more and more changes or walks on his own. I try to be confident of the best outcome, but like to be prepared for the worst. The citizens still have no clear cut idea how strong the contract is with Vlass, whether or not the Vlass Temple Terrace LLC is simply an empty shell, and the possible financial consequences thereof. The list of 'oversights' alone in this deal seems to grow each week. Unfortunately, these are questions that should of been ferreted out and answered by city council and staff BEFORE the thing was signed. If the vote tonight was against a company that has little legal responsibility to respond, no financial gain and little real liability if the don't, it was a vote for nothing. I hope you and all the other citizens are right and I am wrong. Unfortunately, the man who ran against Affronti, Tozier said exactly the same thing when he lost the election. I voted for Affronti. I was wrong, Tozier predictions of this redevelopment debacle have been 100% correct, so far...... I am for a no vote, don't get me wrong, but it is also no surprise that everyone voted no to Vlass a few weeks out of November. Those not up for re-election do not want to face their neighbors, and those who are want to win.
JS October 10, 2012 at 12:49 PM
"The city has multiple options with or without Vlass." Hi Chase, could elaborate on those options?
Chase October 10, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Hello JS, I understand that you were busy with workand could not attend the meeting. Basically Vlass agreed to the MDA without any of the proposed changes, therefore he is in a binding agreement with the city for that contract. Yes he can propose as many changes as he would like, but the vote last night assured it would not be for the project he was proposing which is not what he ageed to. So with Vlass he can either finish what he agreed to or he can default and pull out, which his attorney Mr. Smith stated that aren't going to do. If he defaults, then he is in violation of the agreement and would have to deed the property back to the city. Vlass is simply acting as a middle man to sell the project to Inland. Worst case scenario is the City could do the same deal with a developer such as Inland and cut out the middle man, the city would actually make money. Also there are many developers who would take this deal today. Financing this project isn't a problem when you are given 24 million in property. There is no doom and gloom as the city of TT have lost nothing. The project will move on with or without Vlass. Hope this helps.
JS October 10, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Thanks Chase, again I hope you are and the council are right with your suppositions and Mr Tozier ends up being proven wrong. So far his prediction is batting 1000 and that will continue to trouble me. But it is in the hands of people who are trusted to know what is best for all of us and we have to accept that anyway.

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