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Richman Group Submits Revised Firmenich Proposal

Lower buildings and fewer units highlight the developer's latest proposal for the old citrus center property in Safety Harbor.

On Feb. 4, the Safety Harbor City Commission told the Richman Group of Florida to again revise their development proposal for the Firmenich Citrus Center property on State Road 590.

On Wednesday, the developer did as it was asked, submitting a new proposal for the 34-acre parcel to be presented to the commission on Monday night.

The new conceptual master plan significantly lowers the density of the previous proposal, eliminating all four-story buildings from the project while reducing the number of units from 276 to 246.

The original proposal had called for a 296-unit complex.

In addition, the new proposal calls for only two-story apartment buildings and carriage houses to be built along the eastern edge of the property, while three-story dwellings would be relegated to the southwest portion of the parcel, set a minimum 450-feet from the eastern property line.

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The changes appear to be a direct response to the commission's requests at the last meeting.

"I'd like to see nothing higher than three stories...a reduction of at least 30 units and assurances the buildings will be of the highest architectural standards that Richman is capable of," Mayor Joe Ayoub said on Feb 4.

The new proposal also specifies "the use of more muted 'earth tone' color scheme and more compatible architecture."

At the conclusion to the special meeting on Feb. 4, Robert Pergolizzi, the spokesperson for the Richman Group of Florida, said he would be back on February 18 with a revised proposal in line with the commission's requests.

"We will be here, with two- and three-story buildings," Pergolizzi told the commission.

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What do you think, Harborites? Do you appreciate the fact that the developer submitted a revised proposal in line with the commission's wishes? Or do you just want the whole thing to go away? Let us know in the comments below.

Carol Zieres February 14, 2013 at 01:21 PM
I think we are getting closer to a consensus in terms of building structure, density, and composition. Ok, I get it, tear down a Firmenich building, and one by one, replace it with a muted earth tone, architectually aesthetic 2-story apartment building or carraige house. I'd still like to hear how the Richman Group plans to preserve the wetlands on the 34 acre property? I sincerely hope they don't clear cut the oaks and pave over them with a big parking lot! It would be nice if they could create a nature trail that meanders thru the woods behind the apartment complex with board walks so families could enjoy the floral and fauna; but PLEASE try not to disturb the lush vegetation in that delicate ecosystem. Safety Harbor is a pedestrian friendly town and people love the beautiful tree canopies that characterize our city. We are a "Green City," so let's keep it that way!!
Jeffrey Rosenfield February 14, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Excellent points, Carol. To your point, I know at a previous meeting the developer said they were going to leave as many of the trees as possible. I believe the quote was "we don't want the place to look like a giant parking lot".
Gary Moos February 14, 2013 at 08:10 PM
So they start with a ridiculous proposal, then decrease density by 16% and what, we should be happy. I can not believe the city is letting them get away with this. It is a disgusting display of corporate greed, and governmental cowardice.
joey boy February 16, 2013 at 05:08 AM
we still face the monstrous traffic problem on 590
Joan Schmid February 20, 2013 at 03:15 PM
This is a good proposal. It takes a potential "brown field" currently zoned as a light industrial use, cleans it up, and raises the zone to residential. The residential zoned area is designated as buffer and wetlands. The restriction of the floors to three story walk-ups maintains their desirability in the marketplace. Traffic issues are inevitable as half the property was always zoned residential and must still be addressed. But, frankly, it could have been a lot worse. Kudos to the City for fighting for a reasonable compromise between a property owner's right to develop and the desires of the community.
Elena Ricardo April 29, 2013 at 07:09 PM
It seems to me that the developers have complied with all requests and there is no logical reason that the project should not go forward. The mayor proposed reasonable limitations which will be incorporated. An architecturally pleasing development is most certainly an improvement over "light industrial." We all know that Safety Harbor has very quaint areas and some not so quaint. Let's take a good look at the proposal in relation to design, conformity with all requests and consideration for the environment. The new residents may have a lot to contribute. I do think the mayor and commissioners were correct to insist upon changes from the original proposal.

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