October 14, 2004
On October 14, the Ballast Point Comprehensive Neighborhood Plan was presented to the neighborhood for an up-or-down vote on approval of the Plan. Despite competing with hurricane season (and an important World Series game), approximately 60 people attended the final neighborhood meeting on the plan at the Ballast Point Baptist Church. After a lengthy discussion, the attendees voted by secret ballot. The result was 46-5 in favor of approving the plan. The Plan and documentation regarding the meeting and vote is being filed with the City Clerk’s office, including a request that the Plan be presented to City Council. It is expected thatCity Council will take up the matter in January. Council approval is not automatic, but it would be unusual for the Council to go against the wishes of the neighborhood, after such an overwhelming vote.
Once the Plan is approved, it is up to the neighborhood to implement portions of the plan, including the use of the plan to support or deny support for rezoning and variance issues. The Plan will also give neighborhood constituents a better voice in infrastructure issues, such as street improvements, sidewalks, parks, traffic, etc. It will also be up to the neighborhood to push for an overlay district that will guide zoning issues in the neighborhood, including a height restriction of three stories and a special look at the development along MacDillAvenue and Gandy Boulevard.
Ballast Point is one of the first south Tampa neighborhoods to implement a neighborhood plan, and the methods used to arrive at the plan are being studied and used by other neighborhoods. Davis Islands, for example, is undertaking a neighborhood survey, which was the cornerstone of the Ballast Point plan. It will be interesting to observe the effects of the Plan, both in our neighborhood, and throughout Tampa.