Tampa City Council wants opinion on HCC/Ybor flap listen03/26/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Earlier this month, the Tampa City Council realized that it had no power to control the design of new buildings being constructed by Hillsborough Community College in Ybor City.
That’s after the school decided it didn’t need approval from the government body responsible for preserving the historic fabric of Ybor, the Barrio Latino Commission (BLC); and Mayor Pam Iorio agreed.
But today, City Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena brought up the idea of forwarding the question to Attorney General Bill McCollum’s office on whether HCC should need approval from the city. Council Chair Thomas Scott seconded the motion.
The current conflict revolves around the construction of a building on Palm Avenue, literally across the street from the edge of what constitutes the historic district.
Neighborhood activists say its design is out of character with the district, a point emphasized by Councilwoman again today.
But attorney Chip Fletcher said again that they don’t want to ask for an Attorney General opinion, but instead toward working on an interlocal agreement with the city.
Both Saul-Sena and Scott said the city’s Charter delineates that when it comes to land use and zoning issues, the power of doing that lies in the hands of the City Council.
But Councilman Charlie Miranda said that his interpretation of the Attorney General’s ability to make a ruling depended on HCC and the city jointly agreeing to ask for such approval. And he said since that wasn’t the case, the whole issue was essentially a waste of time.
Saul-Sena said there is nothing the city can do at this time to stop the construction of the current Students Service Center. She said it’s all about stopping the next buildings.
The Council then voted to request the City Attorney submit the question to the Attorney General that HCC be required to abide by Barrio Latino Commission regulations.