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Oldsmar puts off elevator ordinance

The City Council tabled a proposed elevator ordinance Tuesday after being warned that it could provoke further litigation from a Tampa developer.

The ordinance would require elevators in apartments with three or more floors. Mayor Jerry Beverland amended the proposal so that it would apply to current projects that have yet to receive city building permits.

That change meant the ordinance would apply to a controversial project for a 270-unit apartment complex on Forest Lakes Boulevard for residents with low and moderate incomes.

In May, the City Council approved a site plan from the complex submitted by Tampa-based Wilson Co., but the city attached several conditions to the approval.

Company officials claimed one of the conditions was designed to make the project economically unfeasible, and the company filed two lawsuits against the city.

"I just want to make absolutely clear what my opinion is on this," City Attorney Tom Trask said at a meeting Tuesday. "It is my opinion that if you pass this ordinance as it has been amended so far, you are going to invite further litigation with the Wilson Co. and further monetary exposure."

City Council members voted to postpone the discussion after council member Brian Michaels questioned how the proposed requirement would affect building and safety codes and whether the city would need additional requirements for developers if the elevator ordinance was approved.

City Manager Bruce Haddock also warned council members that the proposal might provoke more lawsuits.

"I think if you make that revision, you are just asking for another lawsuit, or aiding their cause, at least in my opinion, and weakening ours," Haddock said. "I think we are in a pretty good position now but if you make that change you will be eroding our position."