Tampa council denies rezoning for proposed Hyde Park assisted living facility
The Tampa City Council voted 4-2 late Thursday night to deny a rezoning for a 175-bed assisted living facility that developer Grady Pridgen proposed in Hyde Park near the bridge to Davis Islands.
During a lengthy public hearing, residents contended that the 9-story building at 509 S Hyde Park Ave., was out of scale with the neighborhood, would exacerbate an existing parking problem and could create traffic hazards on a route leading to Tampa General Hospital.
Pridgen’s development team, however, said the project met all city codes, had more parking than the city required and — with no residents having cars of their own — would generate fewer traffic trips to and from the 1.2-acre site than the office building that’s there now.
In an effort to address neighborhood concerns, Pridgen offered to reduce the number of beds from the 215 he first requested to 175 and agreed to make a dozen changes to the plan to ease the project’s impact on the neighborhood.
“So far, every request they have made, we have done,” Pridgen told the council.
But that was still too much for opponents.
“A very huge building creating a barrier” within Hyde Park, said attorney Jim Porter, who represented two neighbors next to the proposed project, which is at the northwest corner of S Hyde Park and W De Leon Street.
In making the motion for denial, council member Mike Suarez cited several city land use policies requiring the need for new projects to be in context with the rest of the community, to encourage small- to medium-scale development and to be of a scale that’s compatible with the rest of the neighborhood.
Voting along with Suarez against the rezoning were Harry Cohen, Guido Maniscalco and Charlie Miranda. Frank Reddick and Luis Viera voted in favor, and Yvonne Yolie Capin was absent.
Before the vote, Miranda said that he, like residents, was concerned about the proposed placement of a loading bay off of W De Leon Street. He had a doctor on that street 45 years ago, he said, and “even then they had a traffic problem on De Leon.”
Neighbors doubted that trucks could pull into or out of the bay without making time-consuming, multi-point turns that could block traffic. The developer’s proposal to have employees at the business trained to serve as traffic flaggers only raised a red flag for Miranda.
“Once you have to hire a flagger ... you’re already saying you have a problem,” he said. “If you’re saying you have a problem, then why are you continuing with the problem?”