Some Tampa Bay Residents Not Happy With Town Center Project Plan

A redevelopment plan being discussed for the Madeira Beach area has some residents seeing red, but others seeing green, as in dollars. The current redevelopment plans for the Town Center project call for the building of two hotels, two condominiums, and a marina, as well as new shops and restaurants, in the area. The project is valued at up to $100 million. An overflow crowd of more than 100 residents and business owners turned out to discuss the massive project and voice their concerns or support.

Both opponents and supporters of the plan agree on one thing: that the redevelopment of the area would forever change the look and feel of the city’s downtown. However, they are divided on whether that would be a good thing for the city, or a bad move that everyone will come to regret. Nearly all business owners present at the meeting, along with a large number of residents, praised the proposed Town Center project. Opponents of the plan included a significant number of other residents, primarily those living close to the proposed project.

Supporters say that the Town Center project plan will increase tourism and business in the area and that the project will usher in a much needed revitalization of the city’s downtown. Representatives of the Tampa Bay and the Treasure Island & Madeira Beach chambers of commerce have voiced their support for the project. City staff and consultants say that the proposed Town Center project meets all the criteria required for a planned development and that it is compatible with nearby properties.

The 11-story height of the planned hotels and the expected increase in traffic generated by the Town Center project are some of the biggest issues for opponents of the plan. According to City Attorney Tom Trask, some residents may be planning to file legal action in an attempt to stop the project. The Planning Commission has delayed action on the rezoning of the 6.7-acre property from commercial-retail to planned development until its April 28 meeting.

If the Planning Commission approves of the rezoning, the project plan will go to the City Commission for two public hearings and a final decision. The matter is now scheduled to be considered by the City Commission on May 10 and June 14, both at meetings that start at 6 p.m. Residents and business owners in the area are welcome to voice their opinion of the project at the public hearings.

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