Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Madeira Beach officials to consider plan for a more pedestrian- and tourist-friendly downtown

MADEIRA BEACH — A revised plan for redeveloping the city's downtown core into a "vibrant" destination area for tourists and residents alike will finally come up for a vote Tuesday.

The plan for the Madeira Beach Town Center largely focuses on avoiding a repetition of the architecturally dull, box-like structures that line much of Gulf Boulevard.

"A lot of mistakes made in the past were the result of the greed of developers, and the city let it pass," said Commissioner Steve Kochick.

The area encompassed by the plan covers most of the city's central business district — a 95-acre sector extending along the Tom Stuart Causeway and 150th Avenue west to Gulf Boulevard and north to include properties on either side of Madeira Way, as well as the civic complex (library, recreation center and City Hall) and nearby residential/condominium developments.

"The area is poised to thrive (but) lacks a cohesive identity and sense of place," according to the plan overview.

Today, the business core is merely a place to drive through with occasional brief stops for services.

Speeding vehicles and the lack of safe crossings currently discourage much north-south pedestrian movement along 150th Avenue. The area is characterized by limited parking, conflicting land uses and declining tourism.

In the future, the city envisions the area as a "vibrant place to visit and live," characterized by a mix of retail shops, restaurants, residences and hotels. The plan also calls for a new City Hall.

The area would be unified by improved pedestrian and bicycle access to all major destinations within the area. Views of both the Gulf and Boca Ciega Bay would be preserved and enhanced.

On-street parking would be complemented by "parking decks," and streets would be considered "public spaces" with inviting streetscapes.

One particular goal is the addition of hotel rooms that would "enhance the tourist industry" in the city.

Any new construction in the area would be restricted to no more than 15 units per acre, compared to the present maximum of 18 units per acre.

The plan would allow up to 1,200 permanent residential units, 3,414 temporary lodging units and 2.2 million square feet of retail or other nonresidential space.

Developers would be required to design their buildings according to city-approved guidelines. Generally, those guidelines would require a "visually interactive first floor" with architecturally distinct entrances and large storefront window displays.

Upper floors would be either residential or provide temporary lodging.

Building and sidewalks decorations would include planters, flower boxes, awnings and porticos.

If approved on first reading Tuesday, the plan would then be submitted to the Pinellas Planning Council and the Pinellas County Commission for comment. Final approval by the city is expected in July.

"This city has been working on this vision for seven years. It's embarrassing," Mayor Pat Shontz said Tuesday at the workshop.

Madeira Beach officials to consider plan for a more pedestrian- and tourist-friendly downtown 05/09/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 9, 2009 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Woman dead in St. Petersburg shooting


    ST. PETERSBURG — A woman died in a shooting Saturday night, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.

  2. For starters: Rays at Orioles, with a different look to things


    The Rays wrap up their four-game series with the Orioles today and their lineup has a different look, with C Wilson Ramos, OF Steven Souza Jr. and 3B Evan Longoria all getting the day off.

    The Rays are starting their All-Star, RHP Chris Archer, who needs wins in his final two outings to even his record, going …

  3. All-eyes photo gallery: Florida State Seminoles loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack


    View a gallery of images from the Florida State Seminoles 27-21 loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack Saturday in Tallahassee. The Seminoles will face Wake Forest on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

    Florida State Seminoles fans sing the fight song during the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  4. Encounters: Trial by storm for a rookie principal


    DUNEDIN — When he nodded off to sleep, the hallway lights outside Michael Vasallo's office were on, so the sudden darkness woke him.

    The glow of his desk phone dimmed.

    Michael Vasallo, right, the first-year principal at Dunedin Highland Middle School, talks with the school's head plant operator Clint Case near the back-up generator on campus. The generator failed just as Hurricane Irma passed through Pinellas County, making for a stressful night. The experience made Vasallo long to return to his regular job, educating middle schoolers. [COLEEN WRIGHT   |   Times]

  5. Who is in charge during a hurricane? Hillsborough County and Tampa still can't agree


    TAMPA — Who has the authority to order an evacuation during a hurricane?

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he has evacuation authority.