Palmetto officials recommend changes to downtown core design guidelines

jdeleon@bradenton.comMarch 22, 2013 

PALMETTO -- Palmetto planning and zoning officials Thursday recommended an ordinance to amend the downtown core design guidelines.

Looking to the future and in the effort to continue redevelopment, the Planning and Zoning Board reviewed the new proposed boundaries to the downtown core, a major component to the ordinance. They had some changes of their own.

"What is the downtown?" Planning and Zoning Board member Charlie Ugarte asked. "The downtown today may not be the downtown of the future."

Currently the boundaries for the downtown core are 11th Avenue to the west, U.S. 301/41 to the east, Riverside Drive to the south and 10th Street to the north.

The amendment was proposing to change the boundaries to 11th Avenue to the west including all adjacent properties, the railroad tracks to the east, to the edge of city boundaries to the south and 10th Street to the north with all properties adjacent to it.

"I feel like the boundary of downtown will be (U.S.) 41 eventually," Ugarte said.

Fellow board members agreed.

"The area between the railroad tracks and 41, it makes sense," board member Eric Gilbert said.

After some discussion it was agreed by all present that limiting the downtown core to the railroad tracks limited continued redevelopment and growth of the downtown area in the future.

Another change the ordinance would implement is renaming the Downtown Core Design Guidelines to the Downtown Core Design Code. This was in effort to make it clear that property owners must comply.

The Downtown Core Guidelines were originally approved by the Palmetto City Commission in May 2007 "to ensure that public and private development projects implement the goals, objectives, policies and character visions of the 2005 CRA Waterfront plan," the documents stated.

Over time the city has struggled with enforcing the guidelines due to some of the language, therefore another change to the code has been to make the terms "inappropriate" mean prohibited and appropriate mean "required."

The proposed ordinance will go back to the city commission for a public hearing and final approval next month.

The board had also been scheduled to review the current criteria for temporary use permits, but the item was continued until next month's meeting on April 18.

Board members Jon Moore and Jim Pastor were not in attendance.

Jessica De Leon, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her at Twitter@JDeLeon1012.

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