GULFPORT — A proposed plan to spur redevelopment of the city's aging 49th Street corridor got rave reviews from the City Council and now faces a five-month journey to adoption.
In particular, the city hopes to attract more young professionals and home-based businesses to the area. The idea is to encourage redevelopment of more mixed-use projects, as well as commercial and office uses.
"It's a great plan and I think it will work really well," Mayor Michael Yakes said during a council discussion earlier this month.
The specific goals of the plan include elimination of "unsightly activities," better control of outdoor sales and displays, promoting live-work and mixed use of properties, giving property owners some flexibility of permitted uses, and preserving the overall residential character of the area.
The corridor is virtually built out. It is characterized by older structures and industrial-type businesses, such as outdoor storage, warehouses and vehicle repair.
The plan, as proposed by the city's consultants, Tampa Bay Engineering, calls for changes that would allow expanded uses of existing designated redevelopment areas.
A master overlay district would be created with three subdistricts allowing additional uses and some increased intensity or density for specific projects.
"The principal changes involve allowing for varying degrees of mixed residential and commercial uses," said Fred Metcalf, the city's community development director.
The underlying zoning and land use remain unchanged, while the overlay district allows some limited commercial uses mixed in with residential.
The density of individual projects would depend on their location within the redevelopment areas. In general, the more residential areas will have commercial projects with greater restrictions.
Before the plan can go into effect, it must be approved by the Pinellas Planning Council and the Florida Department of Community Affairs. Residents would be able to comment on the plans at public hearings.
The 49th Street corridor is roughly bounded on the east by 49th Street S from the Pinellas Trail to 22nd Avenue S; on the west by 51st Street S north to 20th Avenue S and then west to 55th Street S and again north to Queensboro Avenue S and back to 52nd Avenue S; and on the north and south by the Pinellas Trail and 22nd Avenue.