Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Politics

Hillsborough looking for ways to simplify its development rules

TAMPA — Hillsborough County will borrow a page from Tampa.

County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to create a task force to look for ways to streamline the county's zoning and permitting rules. Two commissioners also will sit on the committee.

A similar body created by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn after he was elected in March has just finished its work, presenting findings Tuesday.

With the vote, commissioners also agreed to hire the Urban Land Institute for $125,000 to assist the effort.

Commissioner Sandra Murman said it is high time the county tackled overly burdensome regulation. Staffers came up with suggestions and the result will be something called the Economic Prosperity Stakeholders Committee.

While the county has taken steps to streamline some aspects of development review, and offers a raft of incentives, "Businesses are still feeling strangled by regulation," Murman said.

Commissioner Mark Sharpe argued that the panel should not simply seek to eliminate regulation just for the sake of it, but should focus on making the process easier to navigate. Other board members agreed.

Sharpe noted that development took off all but unchecked before the economic downturn. Excessive home construction is a key contributor to the slow turnaround, he said.

"If you're going to make it easier to build more homes that we don't need, is that the answer?" Sharpe said.

County administration initially proposed creating a committee of 14. Each commissioner would appoint a constituent, with the rest consisting largely of development industry insiders and one environmental group representative recommended by county staff. A commissioner would serve as chairman, with Murman asking for and getting the job.

Board discussion led to commissioners adding about six more people to the panel — more industry representatives and another environmentalist representative. After Commissioner Les Miller cautioned that the committee needs to reflect the community's racial diversity, commissioners made him the board vice chairman.

A separate technical advisory panel including such interests as Tampa International Airport, the Port of Tampa and other groups, will work alongside the committee. The stakeholder committee will be asked to meet for eight or nine months to come up with recommendations, and was charged with coming up with some easy pickings in two to three months.

The committee's meetings will be open to the public.

Bill Varian can be reached at (813) 226-3387 or [email protected]

Comments
All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

TAMPA — All those public watch parties during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s postseason run? And how about the rally at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square Park with the big white Lightning logo spray-painted on the grass? You need police to prote...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Explain this to me: In the world of partisan politics, how is being an independent thinker a bad thing? When it comes to general elections, we seem to like rogues and mavericks. We want outsiders and swamp scrubbers. Folks appreciate a good finger-...
Published: 05/22/18
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Published: 05/20/18
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Published: 05/20/18
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18
Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after ...
Published: 05/17/18
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

WASHINGTON — Republicans are pushing for a speedy confirmation vote as early as Thursday after the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President Donald Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency. But opponents concerned about Haspel’s ...
Published: 05/16/18
Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON - The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel for CIA director, setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.The committee vot...
Published: 05/16/18
Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

In Hillsborough County — where one of the world’s largest Confederate flags still flies near a busy interstate — you may not be surprised to learn there’s an Uncle Tom Road.The name is a flash point and a slur, shorthand for a black person who will d...
Published: 05/16/18