Largo City Commissioners Review Billboard Regulation and Sites for New Community Center
By Bill Lopez
LARGO-- An agreement with the City of Largo and outdoor advertising companies that have billboards in the city was drafted May 12, 1999 for regulation of outdoor advertising signs and will expire in May of 2009. During Tuesday's commission work session, the agreement was reviewed along with three alternatives for initiating a new agreement between the city and outdoor sign operators.
The agreement included provisions for removing signs from the Community Redevelopment Districts (CRDs), allowing for the relocation of existing signs, and capping the number of allowable signs within the city.
The city's obligations included eliminating the amortization schedule for existing signs; granting all existing signs outside the CRDs a conforming status, allowing the maximum number of signs within the city to be increased only through annexation and allowing for maintenance and repair of existing signs.
In anticipation of the expiration of the agreement, Largo staff identified three options to consider regarding the disposition of the agreement. These will be dealt with in a regular commission meeting.
The first option would allow the Development Agreement between the City of Largo and the OAC to expire on May 12, 2009 with no additional action. The amortization schedule for all existing signs would comply with the current sign regulations, which require the removal of all nonconforming signs within ten (10) years from its adoption date of June 5, 2007.
Section 70.20, F.S. would require the city to pay just compensation to the sign companies for any signs required to be removed at the end of the amortization period.
A second option would renew the Development Agreement between the City of Largo and the OAC with the same terms and obligations.
Finally, a third option would entail negotiating a new Development Agreement between the City of Largo and the OAC with new terms and obligations. The new terms could include the extension of the amortization period for the OAC based on the removal of additional signs from the expanded West Bay Drive Community Redevelopment District and from the identified Community Activity Centers in the adopted City of Largo Strategic Plan.
New community center sites reviewed
At the September 9, 2008 City Commission Work Session, Largo staff and Wannemaker Jensen Architects presented the results of a location study (including conceptual site plans) for construction of a new Community Center and a new Highland Recreation Center.
The preferred option of the City Commission was to construct a new Community Center on the Alternate Keene Road site proposed for donation to the city by the Goodman Group and to construct a new Highland Recreation Center on the existing Highland Complex site.
The commission directed the staff to meet with interested stakeholders regarding the proposed site and conceptual development options. Assistant City Manager Schubert and Recreation, Parks & Arts Director Byrne met with the Senior Advisory Board, Community Center users, and Highland Recreation Center users, Recreation, Parks & Arts Advisory Board, Little League Baseball and Tutterow Dancers.
His staff reported that all groups supported the construction of a new Community Center on the Alternate Keene Road site. They supported the construction of a new Highland Recreation Center building on the existing Highland site. If both facilities were built on the Highland site, they would favor the construction of two separate buildings.
City staff also met with representatives of the Goodman Group to discuss the site alternatives and the feasibility and willingness to construct a public roadway across the center of the Palms of Largo property that would connect Lake Avenue and Alternate Keene Road.
This would provide Community Center users access to the signalized intersection at Lake Avenue and East Bay Drive for left turns. Staff indicated the Goodman Group is agreeable to this concept although many details would need to be determined, including possible sharing of construction costs and development issues on their property.
Any agreement would need to be formalized in a development agreement between the city and the Goodman Group. The commission reviewed a presentation will regarding the proposed location of the roadway and very preliminary construction cost estimates developed by the Engineering Division.
The matter will be review further in a city commission meeting.
Contact Bill Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to Current Edition