City of Largo, Florida
May 4 Story of the Week
May 4 Story of the Week
Comprehensive Development Code Update
Over the last year the City of Largo has been focusing on updating its Comprehensive Development Code to make development, sign, and land use standards more friendly towards the business community. Specifically, there are four important updates that the Community Development Department has developed, and of those, three have already been adopted by the City Commission. Last, City Commission will consider whether to initiate an assistance program to assist private property and business owners to construct monument signs prior to 2017, when all free-standing, non-conforming pole signs will be required to be removed under the City of Largo's Comprehensive Development Code.
US 19 Signs - In September 2011, the City Commission adopted an ordinance amending the City's sign standards for parcels that are contiguous to the US Highway 19 corridor. The ordinance was established to allow greater height for signs in order to bring consistency to the corridor and to provide owners with signage that better corresponds to the roadway design. The new standards allow parcels contiguous to the US Highway 19 the ability to erect one freestanding sign (monument or pole) to a maximum height of 14 feet above the crown of the road.
Small Scale Development Review Process - In November 2011, the City amended the Small Scale Review process to encourage renovations and local investment and to help private property owners save time and money. Small Scale proposals traditionally are reviewed administratively, do not require a Development Order (DO) and typically involve small additions to existing buildings, such as remodeling of existing restaurants or commercial space where there are alterations such as the addition of a deck or reconfiguration of parking. Full Scale review can be a longer application process. Recognizing the importance of viable infill and the needs of small retailers, the City Commission adopted an ordinance to increase the maximum threshold for Small Scale Reviews from 10% of existing gross floor area to 25% of gross floor area, or 2,500 square feet, for buildings up to 25,000 square feet in size.
Drive-throughs - In January 2012, the City amended the Comprehensive Development Code to allow restaurants with a drive-through as a conditional use on properties within the West Bay Drive Community Redevelopment District. The City Commission adopted this ordinance with the intent to designate specific design guidelines for drive-through restaurants.
Alcohol Sales for Industrial Limited Properties - In April 2012, the City Commission voted to allow staff to proceed with an amendment to the alcohol ordinance to allow the sale of alcohol on industrial limited parcels that have existing commercial development. This change is based on the needs of annexed commercial properties that have existing retail uses on industrial limited. This ordinance is scheduled to go to First Reading.
Assistance Program - In 2007, after a series of public involvement meetings and advisory board review meetings, the City of Largo enacted a new sign ordinance as part of the City's Comprehensive Development Code. In an effort to assist the business community in their transition from non-conforming freestanding pole signs to monument signs, the City Commission established an amortization period in the amount of 10 years for owners of previously permitted signs. The amortization period ends in June 2017. In March 2012, the City Commission requested staff to develop potential options for funding to provide assistance for the business community in replacing non-conforming signs before the end of the amortization period. Staff presented several assistance options to the City Commission in April 2012, and at the direction of the City Commission, will be presenting the options to the Community Development Advisory Board and the Planning Board for feedback. After obtaining this feedback, City staff will present the results to the City Commission for further direction.
This summer, Community Development Staff will be reviewing the Comprehensive Development Code's sign standards for ways to amend the code to be more business-friendly for commercial properties.
Stay informed by visiting www.largo.com/comdev for the latest news on the Community Development Department.
For past stories of the week, please click here.