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Major transformation unveiled for Madeira Way

MADEIRA BEACH — A plan for redevelopment of the city's core business district was unveiled Monday at a special meeting of the City Commission and the Planning Board.

The 51-page draft proposal, prepared by consultants Gail Easley and Glenn Coyne, covers an 80-acre area extending from the base of the Causeway Bridge, along 150th Avenue to Gulf Boulevard, then north to include Archibald Park and east to Boca Ciega Bay.

Existing landmarks in the area include City Hall, a library and recreational complex, the Madeira Way and 150th Avenue commercial areas, Causeway Park and the city marina.

The consultants said they envision the area will become "a gathering place to eat, shop, and make use of civic services".

Much of the plan focused on the Madeira Way triangle where development of retail, office, residential and transient tourist units would be encouraged.

The current four-lane road would be narrowed to two lanes flanked by angle and parallel parking, extensive landscaping and "street furniture" and wide sidewalks that would create a pedestrian-friendly environment.

Although any development would follow current city land use regulations, commissioners said they hope the district could attract a 10-story hotel. Public facilities, including the city hall, library, and post office, should be "consolidated" at the present city hall site in a new service center, according to the consultants.

They also said the project could include a parking garage across from Archibald Park, a pedestrian walkway along Boca Ciega Bay behind commercial buildings on the north side of Madeira Way, wet slips behind city hall, a pedestrian walkway under the causeway at the western base of the bridge, and development incentives to encourage new structures that meet city architectural and use guidelines.

Implementation of the plan would require state approval of the city's comprehensive plan, amended last year, as well as approval of the special district by both county and state, a process that will take months.

"Madeira Way is an absolute disgrace to this city," Mayor Pat Shontz said. "The people want this (project) done yesterday. We need to move very quickly on this."

The commission and planning board directed the consultants to revise the draft plan to include more specifics on possible funding sources, other locations for the proposed garage, establishing a ratio of permanent vs. transient residential units, and building heights.

Concerns also were raised about preserving water views and involving current property owners in developing the plan guidelines.

Major transformation unveiled for Madeira Way 07/15/08 [Last modified: Sunday, July 20, 2008 10:56pm]
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