What came first, Mr. Toomey’s Buliding or the (TDR) Transfer Development Rights requiring a new land use ordinance?
Toomey of Geographic Solutions , a business and property owner of 4 pieces of land in (OPH )Old Palm Harbor has his business distributed among 6 buildings with 134 employees scattered throughout those buildings.
Originally he got an an approval to build a new building to condense his whole business into one venue. He received a variance needed at the time.But then he changed the plan of the building , he wanted a bigger one which didn’t conform with the requirements to build the larger building on the lot he had. The original building plan and approval has since expired.
Someone came up with TDR idea to accommodate his new plan for a larger building on a the lot wirhout the required adequate parking. Putting a size 10 foot in a size 7 shoe. What’s wrong with this picture?
County Commission is considering a change of the Land Use Master Plan in Historical District of Old Palm Harbor allowing TDRs. Also, the new ordinance would take the citizen’s representation and accountability from the Commission and hand the sign off to the County Administrator !!
The meeting wasn’t about Toomey and his buliding requirements, it was about adding TDR into the Master plan for OPH. The part about Toomey was conveniently left out so the commissioners could not get the full picture because Mr Beardsley, the head of planning dept,, was reluctant to explain why he came up with TDR for the area to begin with. Commissioner Bostock questioned using TDR because she wasn’t sure the reasoning of why we needed the TDR and why it didn’t conform to the amount of TDR used throughout the rest of the county. She had no idea about the Toomey land plan and his building and she said the citizens knew more about what was going on than she did. She wanted the whole story.
In order accommodate Toomey’s building plan, the County Commission, along with head of planning dept., Beardsley ( sustainable advocate) would have to use TDR to give the required parking without the physical actuality of parking spaces. He wants to bulid a building for 150 employees with 28 parking spaces in OPH where there is limited parking for the other businnesses that are already operating, but he has 3 other pieces to transfer those Development Rights to the new building site to accomodate the parking requirement. Don’t forget these parking spaces really don’t exist and the citizens will have devalued property if this TDR is acceptable in OPH.
The buildings in OPH are required by the Master Plan at the most to have 3 floors with the uppermost floor for living quarters. Toomey is asking for all floors to be office space. His building would be 44 feet tall and 19,500 sq.ft . The size is not well coordinated with the existing feel of the town in scale. Other businesses in town have patrons that come and go all day leaving openings for parking throughout the day. Toomey’s employees would be parked for 8 hrs a day , taking the available parking from the open parking available to the public. Some of his workers work nights as well and with pubs and restaurants in the town some of the parking will be taken as well. Toomey’s building will require waviers as well because he wants to exceed the 25% TDR limit to 108% to create imaginary parking spaces needed to comply with the parking regulation.
Part of the ordinance changes would also take authority from the County Commission, who are accountable to the people and hand it over to the County Administrator. If the Administrator and staff so choose, all other decisions about land use in the Historic District of Old Palm Harbor will be in their hands.
PINELLAS COUNTY Commission drew a large crowd for the meeting on TDR’s , Dec 20. TDR’s are used in this case to expand a building to it’s max size within the legal prescripts of the county building department. TDR would remove the development rights for up to 25% on the property while the existing land beyond the 25% of the original structure would no longer be of value except for use for Public Parking or “open space”. The development rights are transferred or sold to expand another property for up to 25% leaving 25% less devlopment rights on the existing property. Once a property has had its rights transferred, it has been devalued. Devalued property affects all surrounding property. Private Property Rights are the sweat equity of a person’s life’s work, their wealth. Historic District Old Palm Harbor does not require TDR.
This is just another step closer to the Smart Growth Sustainable Development of Quality Communities as outlined in UN Agenda 21 . Also, the county Administrator, MR LaSala is a ICMA, ICLEI, Sustainable contact for the UN Plan of Global Goverance. He cares not for private property, he considers it unsustainable.
God save our Republic.