Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa council wants attorney general's opinion on Ybor design rules

TAMPA — The City Council on Thursday directed City Attorney Chip Fletcher to ask Florida's attorney general if Hillsborough Community College and other governmental agencies must adhere to city design rules for construction in Ybor City.

The question is: Will Fletcher do it?

"I'm still evaluating it," Fletcher said after the meeting. "We've got a conflict between the mayor and the City Council on this issue."

The struggle arose because Hillsborough Community College is building a student services center that historic preservation advocates say is too contemporary for the neighborhood.

Construction in the area generally needs approval of the Barrio Latino Commission, a volunteer board that regulates architectural issues.

But HCC officials argue that state rules exempt them from regulation by the commission, and the school went forward with its building plans without going to the Barrio Latino Commission.

That raised the hackles of one-time Ybor City property owners who say HCC's building compromises the integrity of the historic district and took their complaints to the mayor and City Council.

In January, Fletcher said he would ask the attorney general for an opinion to resolve the dispute.

But last month, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and HCC president Gwen Stephenson agreed on some changes to the building's design and that in the future the school's new buildings on its Ybor campus would be subject to review by the staff in the city's historic preservation department, but not approval of the Barrio Latino Commission.

With a compromise in hand, Iorio nixed the idea of going to the attorney general.

But the City Council still wants to take the matter to the state's top attorney.

Council member Linda Saul-Sena made the motion to ask for the attorney general's opinion, saying she knows its risky because the answer may not favor the city. But she said she wants to do everything possible to support the Barrio Latino Commission's jurisdiction.

Council chairman Tom Scott seconded the motion, saying it's the only way to resolve the conflict.

Council member John Dingfelder said the council would ask another attorney to request the opinion if Fletcher would not.

Only council member Charlie Miranda voted against requesting the opinion, saying as he understands it the attorney general will only consider it if both the city and HCC make the request.

"If the other agency doesn't do it then we're wasting our time," Miranda said.

Fletcher said he will examine the city charter, which gives the mayor the right to negotiate with other governments, to see if the council has the authority to ask for the opinion.

Janet Zink can be reached at or (813) 226-3401.

Tampa council wants attorney general's opinion on Ybor design rules 03/26/09 [Last modified: Friday, March 27, 2009 12:11am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
  2. Man injured when small helicopter crashes into Odessa home


    ODESSA — A small manned helicopter crashed into the roof of a house in northwest Hillsborough County on Monday, injuring a pilot, officials said.

    Rescuers respond to a crash of a small helicopter on the roof of a home in the Odessa area on Monday. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  3. State investigation cites multiple failures in death of Largo child


    LARGO — It was sweltering in the bedroom of the Largo mobile home the day a child welfare case manager visited in July.

    Liz Rutenbeck, 24, poses with her son William in a Facebook photo. Baby William Hendrickson IV died while his mother was in jail after police said his father left ihim in a sweltering room.  A state investigation into the boy's death found multiple failures on the part of the child welfare system.
  4. 'Siesta Key' star punched in face, not sure who did it


    TAMPA —Alex Kompothecras, cast member on MTV's reality show "Siesta Key," tells police he was punched in the face outside a bar in Tampa's SoHo district.

    Alex Kompothecras, Juliette Porter, Pauly Apostolides, Madisson Hausburg, Chloe Trautman, Garrett Miller, Kelsey Owens and Brandon Gomes pose for a photo in Siesta Key in June before the debut of the MTV reality series Siesta Key. [
EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Editorial: Senate health care bill would be disastrous for Florida


    The frantic effort by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with something — anything — ranks raw politics over sound policy and threatens the health care of millions of Floridians. It is a desperate attempt to declare victory by shifting responsibility from the federal government …

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks in August in Doral.