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. Rays blow another lead, lose rubber match to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Orioles rallied past the Rays on Sunday, winning the rubber match of the three-game series 8-5.

    Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop (6) scores in the eighth in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  2. Tim Tebow heads back to Sunshine State with promotion to St. Lucie


    Tim Tebow is coming back to the Sunshine State.

    Columbia Fireflies outfielder Tim Tebow looks out from the dugout before the team's game against the Augusta GreenJackets on April 6 in Columbia, S.C. Columbia defeated Augusta 14-7.
  3. 'Sharknado' coming to Tampa Theatre with director Q&A


    A movie about a tornado filled with man-eating sharks has to be better on the big screen, right? You'll have a chance to find out for yourself when the Syfy network's original Sharknado screens at Tampa Theatre.

    The original 'Sharknado,' which premiered in 2013, will screen at Tampa Theatre.
  4. Coast Guard airlifts man from fishing boat in Gulf of Mexico

    Public Safety

    A 27-year-old man was evacuated from a fishing boat in the Gulf of Mexico by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter Saturday night, authorities said.

  5. Trump: Not 'that far off' from passing health overhaul


    WASHINGTON — Making a final push, President Donald Trump said he doesn't think congressional Republicans are "that far off" on a health overhaul to replace "the dead carcass of Obamacare." Expressing frustration, he complained about "the level of hostility" in government and wondered why both parties can't work …

    President Donald Trump speaks during a bill signing event for the "Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017" in the East Room of the White House, Friday, June 23, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) DCEV208