January 28th’s Public Policy Council meeting kicked off our Advocacy efforts for 2020. Public Policy Council Chair, Martha Boden, began the meeting giving a recap of the work accomplished during her two years in the post. From implementing policies and processes for the committee to tackling important issues including USF Consolidation, lane reductions, and affordable housing, Boden has been a steadfast advocate for the Chamber and our appreciation for her leadership cannot be overstated.
Here are the latest updates from our Chamber’s Advocacy councils and committees:
Transportation Committee Chair, Brooks Wallington, gave a brief update on the initiatives his committee and Chamber staff are working on. Brooks reported, the Cross Bay Ferry and Downtown Looper have experienced significant ridership growth this year. While the Cross Bay Ferry does not typically operate on Mondays, the Chamber pushed for operations on Martin Luther King Day this year and over 150 passengers utilized the service. Additionally, the Committee is continuing to vet a potential sales tax referendum to fund County Transportation projects and PSTA.
What would you like to see in transportation? Chamber President and CEO, Chris Steinocher, asked council members to, “Tell us what you want and we’ll go get it.” We’re here to receive your engagement and help create a sustainable business culture for 2020 and beyond. The next Transportation Committee meeting is February 11th at 8 AM at the Chamber.
Housing, Land Use, and Development (HLUD)
Recent changes to Coastal High Hazard Area map will prohibit 41% of the city from density increases. The HLUD Committee voted to support changes to the Comprehensive Plan, Land Development Regulations and Building Requirements proposed by city staff that would allow for increased density in these areas provided that certain building regulations are implemented. Council discussion focused on the negative impact prohibiting 41% of the city from redeveloping would have on our economy and how such a move will speed up gentrification. Committee members expressed support for mitigating requirements on development to increase resiliency and fund shelters. The PPC voted to support the changes and the Board of Governors will discuss the issue at the next Board Meeting.
January’s Sustainability Committee meeting focused on recapping and discussing the Resiliency Leadership Summit hosted by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council earlier this month. The Summit focused on how we can protect our communities from the effects of sea level rise. The two day summit saw city leaders from around the country sharing strategies and brainstorming how we can move forward locally. Visit here for more information and links to the presentations.
Downtown Waterfront Task Force
Chair Ross Preville gave a brief update on the St. Pete Pier construction promising the project will open this year although an official date has not been finalized. Incoming Vice Chair, Jason Jensen, shared that most construction will be finished by early summer but some elements will not be ready until early fall.
The Chamber is advocating for our 2020 Legislative Agenda in Tallahassee with staff traveling to the State Capital for Committee Weeks and the Opening Day of Session. The Chamber will be taking 25 local members of the community, along with community leaders, for a 2-day visit with legislators on February 19th and 20th. There are still a few spots left so visit here to learn more and to register.
2020 Public Policy Council
February will be the first meeting of the incoming 2020 Public Policy Council. Our 2020 Chair will be Anne Pollack, partner Fletcher Fischer Pollack P.L, and our Vice Chair will be Jason Jensen, Principal at Wannemacher Jensen Architects. The incoming Sub-Committee 2020 Leadership is as follows:
Chair Brooks Wallington- Hughes and Wallington Wealth Management
Vice Chair Josh Shulman- Sherpa Wealth Partners
Housing, Land Use, and Development
Co-Chair Jay Miller- J-Square Development
Co-Chair Jillian Bandes- Bandes Construction
Co-Chair Kevin Hennessy- Lewis, Longman, Walker
Co-Chair Brandon Johnson- Stantec
Co-Chair Albie Kaminsky- Spectrum
Co-Chair Jason Rodriguez- Bay Care
Downtown Waterfront Task Force
Chair Ross Preville- St. Pete Wealth Management Group of Raymond James
Additionally, the At-Large Voting Members are:
Patricia Clynes- James Museum and SPYP Chair
Sandra Braham- Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services
Bob Warchola- Shumaker, Loop, & Kendrick
Jim King- George F. Young
Lee Allen- Eckall Development
Dontriel Lawson- Japosid
Martha Boden- SPCA Tampa Bay and Public Policy Past Chair
Anne McMullen- Doyle Wealth Management
Ben Siwinski- VHB
John Barkett- Barkett Realty
Freddy Williams- Boys and Girls Club of the Suncoast
Billy Greene- Greene & Greene
Jim Jenkins- Jenkins Law
Lauren Ellis- TuckerHall
JC Pritchett- Legacy Week
Shameka Jones- Florida Blue
The Chamber has adopted a five year strategic plan dubbed Chamber NEXT. This plan includes five Leadership Objectives we will use to chart the strategic path forward in our advocacy efforts: Business and Job Growth, Workforce Diversity and Quality, Space Options to Live and Work, Community Quality of Life, Sustainability and Resiliency of the Burg. As the Chamber NEXT Committee builds out a dashboard of measurable metrics to gauge progress on these objectives, the Advocacy Program of the Chamber will focus on ensuring our efforts remain focused.
To learn more about Chamber NEXT, click here to view the Strategic Prospectus 2020.
If you would like to get involved in our advocacy efforts, please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.