According to city officials, property developer the Richman Group of Florida will present a pair of alternate site plans for the Firmenich property at the next Safety Harbor City Commission meeting.
After learning that many members of the community, and some commissioners, were against the development as originally proposed, the city went back to Richman representatives and appraised them of the situation.
Rather than back out of the project, as was originally expected, Richman decided to revist its plans and come up with alternatives to present to the commission.
"Richman (Group) will be presenting two alternate plans based on the feedback received to date, both from the residents at the P&Z Meeting and the City Commission," City Manager Matt Spoor said via email.
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Previously, everything from the height of the apartment buildings (four stories) to the number of units (296) to the immense traffic problem such a development could create gave citizens and commissioners pause as to how — or whether — to proceed with the project.
“The two items I would like to see addressed are the height and the traffic,” Commissioner Cliff Merz said at the commission meeting on Oct. 15.
But contrary to previous reports, Spoor said the developer will wait until after the commission workshop to authorize a traffic study.
"There was no traffic study done. The City received three quotes and Richman choose to wait until after the workshop to authorize the study.
"Part of the reason for this plan is that all three plans, the initial plan and two alternates, vary in total units," he added. "The traffic study scope could not move forward with(out) the exact amount of planned units."
During that Oct. 15 meeting, Mayor Andy Steingold openly questioned the practicality of going forward with a project that had so much opposition in the community.
“I believe at this point they are expending money to move this project forward," Steingold said, "but I am deeply puzzled with continuing to proceed with the project."
After a lengthy discussion, city officials took the concerns to the Richman Group, which led to the revisions of the original proposal.
NOTE: This issue will be discussed at a commission workshop beginning at 6:00pm on Monday, November 19 at City Hall. The regular city commission meeting will take place following the workshop at 7:30pm.