On Thursday, October 8th, the St. Pete City Council will hold a Public Hearing and final vote on the proposed changes to the city’s Coastal High Hazard Area (CHHA) restrictions.
Currently, the city’s Comprehensive Plan prohibits any applications for density increases (single family to multifamily, commercial/industrial to residential, etc) in the CHHA. This prohibition worked well when the CHHA was limited to mostly single family, coastal neighborhoods but began to pose a problem when the maps changed in 2016 to include over 41% of the city. Newly prohibited areas include Carillon, the Gateway and Skyway Marina Districts, and the quickly growing Innovation District in the Salt Creek area.
Over the last 4 years, Mayor Kriseman and his administration have worked diligently with the Chamber, City Council, Environmental Groups, and other stakeholders to develop the plan City Council will vote on Thursday.
The plan will open up certain areas of the city’s activity areas to applications for density increases that will be subject to approval by the city’s various planning committees as well as City Council. All applications must include plans to mitigate the development’s susceptibility to storm surge through stronger building requirements as well as pay into the local Storm Shelter Fund.
The St. Petersburg Chamber, through our Housing, Land Use, and Development Committee and our Public Policy Council, has studied this issue extensively and have concluded the recommendations before City Council on Thursday balance the necessity of allowing density applications in the identified activity centers while also ensuring these developments will be resilient to sea level rise and storm surge.
Put simply: St. Petersburg cannot cut off 41% of our city from increasing density thereby driving development into single family areas of our city, many of which include historically African-American neighborhoods.
The Chamber sincerely thanks City Council, Mayor Kriseman, and City Staff for the work it has taken to get us to this point and we look forward to the passage of these changes on Thursday.