Hillsborough County development regulations under review by new economic stakeholder committee

Committee members include multiple members of the Tampa Bay Builder?s Association, the Tampa Bay Realtor?s Association and land use lawyers, with only a few representing minority communities or in the case of Mariella Smith, the Sierra Club.

Though the committee?s purpose is to examine regulatory conflicts while maintaining quality of life and being mindful of the environment, it seems that the committee is focused solely on allowing development processes to be quicker and easier for developers so they can encounter less conflict.

"One of my goals is to reduce regulation," said Commissioner Sandra Murman, in regards to a development of a regulation streamlining committee. "That?s why I wanted to do this committee as the county has much broader interests, but we need to address the targeted industries."

Committee members were concerned with conflicts that occur between the Hillsborough County Land Development Code adopted by the Board of County Commissioners, the Environmental Protection Commission and other agencies.

"Developers have to go through this process and can only change regulations by making an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan," said Gene Boles of the EPSC. "If there is a conflict, how do you get that resolved?"

EPSC will continue to work through its two working groups, the regulation streamlining committee and the economic development committee on issues such as economic development, planning and growth management, development review, permitting and financial infrastructure.

From the first meeting, the ULI made recommendations, some of which raised concerns with Mariella Smith on behalf of the Sierra Club.

"From the citizen?s perspective, if it is good for us, why are lake levels going down?" Smith said. "There is a different perspective by citizens of what growth does to them versus [the perspective] in the business community."

Despite Smith?s comments, the majority of EPSC?s business members continue to focus on streamlining regulatory decisions, to make it easier and quicker for developers and contractors to complete the process and encourage economic development.

  • Sandra Murman

The Hillsborough County Economic Prosperity Stakeholder Committee (EPSC) held its second meeting Monday afternoon. EPSC was created in March to examine "the County’s regulatory structure and make recommendations to ease the burden and cost of regulatory oversight on economic development, while maintaining the County’s commitment to quality of life and responsible environmental stewardship," according to the Hillsborough County website.

The committee, chaired by Commissioner Sandra Murman and vice-chaired by Commissioner Les Miller Jr., is made up of 21 members that "represent development and land use interests, minority communities, small businesses, and economic development and environmental interests," according to the Hillsborough County website.

However the actual lists of committee members as a majority represent development industries, not the wide-range of interests that the County claims or that some would feel as more desirable for a committee that oversees regulations in regards to land use and development.

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