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Developers scale back proposal for Safety Harbor apartment complex

SAFETY HARBOR — After an uproar over the size of a proposed apartment complex, developers will present two scaled-back alternatives to city officials and residents at a Monday workshop.

But the plan that developers prefer doesn't entirely slash the four-story height that the city found objectionable. Instead, it places some four-story buildings toward the center of the parcel, the former Firmenich Citrus Center at McMullen-Booth Road and State Road 590.

That moves the four-story buildings away from the existing residential neighborhood to the east. Along that border, building heights drop to two and three stories for a total of 288 apartment units.

The other alternative has only two- and three-story buildings with a total of 276 units. Developers noted this is the lowest number of units they are willing to consider, reduced from the initial 296-unit proposal.

Though the new plans feature shorter structures, they also call for more buildings than originally proposed. In addition, developers widened the eastern tree buffer. This expands the multifamily residential footprint, into the space designated for stormwater systems and passive recreation.

Offices planned along McMullen-Booth Road would be restricted to one-story construction.

In October, residents turned out in opposition to the initial development proposal, which they said was too tall and would create too much traffic.

At first, the City Commission let the proposal move forward. But two weeks later, after the proposal advanced through a rough planning and zoning meeting, commissioners grew uneasy with it. They asked the development company, the Richman Group of Florida, to shrink designs for the apartment complex.

If the commission likes one of the alternative plans, the Richman Group will pay for a traffic impact study.

The workshop will begin at 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 750 Main St. The workshop agenda and alternative site plans can be viewed online at cityofsafetyharbor.com. The commission's regular meeting follows at 7:30 p.m.

Stephanie Wang can be reached at (727) 445-4155 or swang@tampabay.com.

Developers scale back proposal for Safety Harbor apartment complex 11/15/12 [Last modified: Thursday, November 15, 2012 6:15pm]
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