Open Letter to Citizens/Friends of Downtown Palm Harbor-Aug 2011
Palm Harbor Citizens, say 'NO' to the Pinellas County Commissioners' proposed Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) change to the guidelines of The Historic Palm Harbor Master Plan. The change allows Geographic Solutions (GS) (a sophisticated employment agency contracted by the Pinellas County Commissioners, now housed in 4 separate buildings), to erect a 44 foot tall, 19,500 sq. ft. building (4,000 sf-1st floor, 8,000 sf-2nd floor, 7,500 sf-3rd floor) with 28 parking spaces on the first floor of the building. The present company of 79 employees expects to employ 150 people. As the economy improves, it's logical that GS will grow requiring another drastic change for another 3-story building.
The County Planning Department 'Change' considers the aggregate 695 parking spaces (417 public/278 private) to be a more important consideration than people, by decreasing the present parking formula for store owners, and 'swapping' parking spaces of one property with those of another property. This may be achieved by the elimination of some prevailing restriction on the 'giving' owner, with respect to trees, etc.
This 'acrobatic swapping' of buildings and parking spaces defy real estate logic and building guidelines, and creates property inequities. These changes may require 'Condemnation of Property' by 'Eminent Domain'? At the July 20th meeting, two neighbors decried the forced downsizing of their driveway which decreased their property values, and created driveway
A strange corollary is that while GS identifies 'Green Industries' as part of their business, the Planning Department will use 'old-fashioned' Progress Energy for the lighting.
'How much will this cost the Taxpayer?'
I certainly welcome GS’s increase in employment, but the 150 plus parked employee’s cars, which wouldn’t move during the entire day, would create an 'Asphalt Jungle', and kill the quiet historic mom and pop atmosphere. As an alternative, the 150 plus cars could be housed in a 2-3 story garage at the fringe of the area. A 'geographic solution' for Geographic Solutions may be to relocate its present employees (now in four different buildings) and future employees into one building somewhere else.
Philip Tropea, Republican Candidate - House District 48