News

February 18, 2020 - 3:15pm

City of Tampa’s City Attorney’s Office Rounds Out Staff with Key Hires

Over the past 4 months, the Office of the City Attorney has added four private-sector attorneys to the City Legal Department.  These attorneys bring vast experience in the area of land use and local government and will be a tremendous asset to the City of Tampa.  All four attorneys left behind successful private-sector careers in exchange for the opportunity to be a part of the effort of Mayor Castor and City Council to Transform Tampa’s Tomorrow – finding creative and innovative ways to better serve the public and deliver City services.

“City Attorney Gina Grimes has built a world class office full of some of the City of Tampa’s biggest legal names,” said Mayor Jane Castor. “Each of these individuals bring to the table decades worth of professional experience that will prove invaluable as our city continues to grow and thrive. Their private and public sector careers are unrivaled in any other City Attorney’s office and we’re incredibly fortunate to have them.”

Andrea Zelman, Deputy City Attorney
Andrea Zelman, Deputy City Attorney
Andrea Zelman recently rejoined the Office of the City Attorney after 17 years in private practice at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC’s Tampa office (formerly the law firm of Fowler White Boggs),  where she practiced land use and environmental law.  Andrea began her legal career at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region IV in Atlanta, and also served as an assistant city attorney in Tampa from 1996-2002.  Andrea is AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell, and has been recognized in several publications, including being named as a “Legal Elite” by Florida Trend magazine in 2019, and as the 2014 and 2016 Tampa Land Use and Zoning Litigation Lawyer of the Year by The Best Lawyers in America.  She is a member of the Urban Land Institute,  Leadership Tampa Alumni (LT-‘10),  and the Athena Society;   and has served on the Board of Directors for organizations including Teaching Tools for Hillsborough Schools, the Tampa Downtown Partnership and NAIOP(Commercial Real Estate Association).  Andrea is a proud graduate of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Mass Communications and the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

 

Morris Massey

Morris Massey, Deputy City Attorney

Morris C. Massey is rejoining the Office of the City Attorney after 14 years of working at Hill Ward Henderson in the practice areas including land use, zoning, commercial real estate development, and real estate transactions.  Prior to that Morris served the City Attorney's office for 8 years and before joining the City Attorney’s Office, Morris was a shareholder at Carlton, Fields, P.A. where he practiced for 11 years.  Morris is a member of the American, Florida, and Hillsborough County Bar Associations.  Morris is a graduate of Wake Forest University (BA, 1983 with High Honors) and the University of Florida College of Law (JD, 1986 with Honors) where he was a published member of the University of Florida Law Review.

 

 Cate Wells
Cate Wells, Senior Assistant City Attorney 

Cate Wells returns to the Office of the City Attorney with three decades of experience in administrative, regulatory and land use matters before local, regional and state government entities in Florida.  Cate started her career in the public sector representing the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation In 2001, Cate joined the City of Tampa where she served as legal advisor to various departments and administrative boards.  Cate was a partner with Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP between 2006 and 2018 and thereafter joined Trenam Law.  Cate is a member of the Florida and Hillsborough County Bar Associations and is AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.  Cate is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (BA, 1985) and the Florida State University College of Law (JD, 1988).

 

Susan Johnson-Velez

Susan Johnson-Velez, Senior Assistant City Attorney

Susan Johnson-Velez has been a practitioner of land use/zoning and local government law in Tampa for over 25 years.  Prior to joining the Office of the City Attorney, she represented business, commercial and individual clients in the full range of local government and quasi-judicial land use matters as a solo practitioner.  Prior to starting her own solo firm in 2009, Susan was a shareholder with the Fowler White Boggs law firm, and an Assistant County Attorney for Hillsborough County, Florida.  She has been Board Certified by the Florida Bar in City, County and Local Government Law since 1999.  Susan received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from The University of Texas at Austin and her Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri-Columbia.  Susan was a board member and past president of both the Hillsborough County Bar Association and the George Edgecomb Bar Association. 

 

 

February 18, 2020 - 9:00am

Lane Closure on North Florida Avenue Between East Idlewild Avenue and East Henry Avenue

Beginning at 9 a.m. today, the outside northbound lane of North Florida Avenue will be closed between East Idlewild Avenue and East Henry Avenue while the Tampa Water Department repairs a water main break. Barricades and signs will be located in the area to assist with traffic flow. Please use caution when driving in the area. Modifications may be necessary during the course of the work.

 

The completion of the work with a return to normal traffic patterns is expected by 6 p.m., Friday, February 21. The Tampa Water Department may need to return at a later date to complete additional work. An update will be provided at that time. Work schedules are contingent upon weather conditions. The staff and crews of the Tampa Water Department appreciate everyone's patience during this time.

 

See all road closures at www.tampagov.net/RoadClosures.

For additional information, contact:

Elias Franco, Water Distribution & Consumer Services Manager 

Office: (813) 274-8335

Cell: (813) 352-3607

Fax: (813) 274-8358

Elias.Franco@TampaGov.net 

 

February 18, 2020 - 9:00am

Traffic Advisory for the annual Gasparilla Distance Classic – Saturday, February 22 & Sunday, February 23, 2020

Traffic is expected to be heavy this weekend in and around downtown Tampa/Bayshore Boulevard due to the Gasparilla Distance Classic races.  Drivers and pedestrians alike are advised to allow for extra travel time and to travel through the area with caution. Barricades and signs will be located to assist with traffic flow.

 

STREET/LANE CLOSURE SCHEDULE:

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2020

2:00 a.m.

  • E Brorein Street from S Jefferson Street to Bayshore Boulevard
  • W Platt Street/Channelside Drvie from S Parker Street to S Nebraska Avenue
  • Selmon Expressway eastbound Exit 6A Downtown West ramp to S Florida Avenue
  • Bayshore Boulevard from W Brorein Street to W Platt Street
  • S Ashley Drive between E Whiting Street and Channelside Drive
  • S Franklin Street between E Whiting Street and Water Street
  • S Florida Avenue between E Whiting Street and Water Street
  • E Whiting Street (WB Lane Only) from S Florida Avenue to S Tampa Street
  • S Morgan Street between E Brorein Street and Water Street

 

4:30 a.m.

  • S Tampa Street from E Whiting Street to E Brorein Street

 

6:00 a.m.

  • Bayshore Boulevard between W Platt Street and W Gandy Boulevard
  • W Gandy Boulevard between S Zion Street and Bayshore Boulevard

 

 

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2020

3:00 a.m.

  • Bayshore Boulevard between E Brorein Street and W Swann Avenue
  • W Platt Street/Channelside Drive from S Plant Avenue to S Florida Avenue

 

4:00 a.m.

  • S Franklin Street (SB Lane Only) from E Whiting Street to E Brorein Street
  • S Franklin Street between Channelside Drive and Water Street
  • E Whiting Street (WB Lane Only)  from S Florida Avenue to S Tampa Street

 

5:00 a.m.

  • Bayshore Boulevard between W Swann Avenue and W Gandy Boulevard

 

6:00 a.m.

  • S Plant Avenue between W Platt Street and NB Davis Island Bridge
  • NB Davis Island Bridge between S Plant Avenue and Davis Boulevard
  • Davis Boulevard between NB Davis Island Bridge and Arbor Place
  • Arbor Place between Davis Boulevard and Columbia Drive
  • Columbia Drive between Arbor Place and Barbados Avenue
  • Barbados Avenue between Columbia Drive and Channel Drive
  • Channel Drive between Barbados Avenue and S Davis Boulevard
  • S Davis Boulevard between Hudson Avenue and W Davis Boulevard
  • W Davis boulevard between Davis Boulevard and S Davis Boulevard
  • Davis Boulevard between SB Davis Island bridge and W Davis Boulevard
  • SB Davis Island Bridge between Bayshore Boulevard and Davis Boulevard

 

       

 

See all road closures at www.tampagov.net/RoadClosures.

 

 

The Tampa Police Department would like to remind all run participants and spectators to report suspicious activity. If you see something, say something. No tip is too small. Report anything suspicious to the nearest police officer or submit an anonymous tip using the TPD mobile app available on iPhones and Androids.

 

 Gasparilla Distance Classic Map

 

 Gasparilla Distance Classic Map

For additional information, please contact:

Traffic Management Center, Smart Mobility Division

Department of Transportation and Stormwater Services

(813) 274-7358; TrafficManagement@tampagov.net 

February 17, 2020 - 4:30pm

Temporary Lane Closures on Pierce Street to begin February 25, 2020 for Building Construction

A portion of N Pierce Street between E Cass Street and E Twiggs Street will close daily beginning on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 for building construction. A private contractor will be installing a new roof on the office building located on the northeast corner of N Pierce Street and E Twiggs Street.  One (1) southbound lane on N Pierce between E Cass Street and E Polk Street and two (2) southbound lanes on N Pierce Street between E Polk Street and E Twiggs Street will close at 9 on February 25, 2020.

Two (2) southbound lanes on N Pierce Street between E Polk Street and E Twiggs Street will be maintained at all times during construction.

Sidewalks within the work area will be closed.  Pedestrian access will be maintained via signage to other available sidewalks at all times during construction.

All lanes on N Pierce Street between E Cass Street and E Twiggs Street will be open to traffic by 4 pm on  Friday, April 24, 2020, weather permitting.

The City recommends using alternate routes to avoid traffic congestion. 

Road Closure

ROW-20-0000539

See all road closures at www.tampagov.net/RoadClosures

For additional information, please contact:

Debbie Herrington, P.E., Right of Way Management

City of Tampa Planning & Development Department

(813) 274-3100, Option 5; debbie.herrington@tampagov.net

February 17, 2020 - 1:30pm

City of Tampa will Host Bridges to Business Subcontractor Outreach Event

As part of Mayor Castor's Bridges to Business Program, the City of Tampa will host a subcontractor outreach event geared towards connecting subcontractors with prime contractors for the City of Tampa's major infrastructure projects. All construction subcontractors are urged to attend. Minority, women-owned, or small businesses interested in becoming certified with the City of Tampa are also encouraged to attend. The event will take place Thursday, March 12, 2020, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Tampa River Center at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park located at 402 West Laurel Street. Register at tampagov.net/btbtour.

 

“The City of Tampa is at a critical time and we’re making historic and unprecedented investments in our infrastructure as we implement the stormwater project, plan for the future of Tampa’s transportation system, and begin our $2.9 billion P.I.P.E.S. project,” said Mayor Jane Castor. “With great growth comes a great responsibility to ensure we diversify the way we do business and uplift all of the great subcontractors here in the City of Tampa as well as the region. Through this outreach event and a host of others, we are aggressively encouraging our prime contractors to provide opportunities to our smaller subcontractors.”

 

WHO: City of Tampa staff, prime- contractors, subcontractors

WHAT: Bridges to Business Subcontractor Outreach Event

WHERE: Tampa River Center at 402 West Laurel Street, Tampa FL 33602

WHEN: Thursday, March 12, 2020, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

February 17, 2020 - 10:45am

Temporary Lane Closure on W Cypress Street to begin February 18, 2020 for Utility Construction

A portion of W Cypress Street between Interstate 275 W Frontage Road and N West Shore Boulevard will close daily at 9 am beginning on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 for utility construction.  A utility contractor will be installing communication cables on W Cypress Street between N Occident Street and N West Shore Boulevard. 

One (1) eastbound lane on W Cypress Street between N Sherrill Street and N West Shore Boulevard will close at 9 am on February 18, 2020. 

One (1) eastbound lane on W Cypress Street between N Sherrill Street and N West Shore Boulevard will be maintained at all times during construction, with delays.

Sidewalks within the work area will be closed during construction. Pedestrian access will be maintained via signage to other sidewalks in the area at all times.

All lanes on W Cypress Street between N Sherrill Street and N West Shore Boulevard will be open to traffic by 4 pm on Saturday, April 18, 2020 weather permitting.

The City of Tampa recommends that motorists traveling eastbound on W Cypress Street should allow more time to drive on W Cypress Street between N Sherrill Street and N West Shore Boulevard beginning on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.

ROW-19-0002728

See all road closures at www.tampagov.net/RoadClosures

For additional information, please contact:

Debbie Herrington, ROW Coordination, Permitting and Mapping Manager

City of Tampa Planning & Development Department

(813) 274-3100, Option 4; debbie.herrington@tampagov.net

February 17, 2020 - 7:15am

Update #2: Lane Closure on North Florida Avenue Between East 26th Avenue and East Emily Street

Beginning at 9 a.m. today, the outer left-hand northbound lane of North Florida Avenue will be closed between East 26th Avenue and East Emily Street while the Tampa Water Department conducts scheduled maintenance on the water distribution system. Barricades and signs will be located in the area to assist with traffic flow. Please use caution when driving in the area. Modifications may be necessary during the course of the work.

 

The completion of the work with a return to normal traffic patterns is expected by 3 p.m., Wednesday, February 19. The Tampa Water Department may need to return at a later date to complete additional work. An update will be provided at that time. Work schedules are contingent upon weather conditions. The staff and crews of the Tampa Water Department appreciate everyone's patience during this time.

 

See all road closures at www.tampagov.net/RoadClosures.

 

###

For additional information, contact:

Elias Franco, Water Distribution & Consumer Services Manager 

Office: (813) 274-8335

Cell: (813) 352-3607

Fax: (813) 274-7435

Elias.Franco@TampaGov.net 

February 14, 2020 - 11:00am

Temporary Road Closure Bayshore Boulevard February 17, 2020 for Utility Maintenance

A portion of Bayshore Boulevard between Interbay Boulevard and MacDill Air Force Base will close continuously beginning at 9 am on Monday, February 17, 2020 for Utility Maintenance.  A City contractor will be performing sanitary sewer repairs at the intersection of Bayshore Boulevard and Shore Breeze Drive.

Bayshore Boulevard between Bay Trail Court and Old Bayshore Way will close at 9 am on February 17, 2020.

Bayshore Boulevard between Bay Trail Court and Old Bayshore Way will be open to traffic by 3 pm on Friday, February 21, 2020, weather permitting. 

The City of Tampa recommends that motorists use alternate routes to avoid congestion.  Southbound and northbound motorists can use S Dale Mabry Highway between Interbay Boulevard and MacDill Air Force Base in lieu of Bayshore Boulevard.

 

CWS-20-0000033

See all road closures at www.tampagov.net/RoadClosures

For additional information, please contact:

Albert Calloway, Chief Construction Engineer

City of Tampa Contract Administration / Construction Management

(813) 635-3400; albert.calloway@tampagov.net

 

 

February 13, 2020 - 8:45am

Mayor Jane Castor Shares Final Housing Affordability Recommendations for Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow

Today, Mayor Jane Castor revealed key recommendations from her Housing Affordability Advisory Team that support her vision for Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow. The team is made up of subject matter experts tasked with identifying how the City of Tampa can take action to prevent housing from becoming unattainable to Tampanians. 

Housing affordability is a challenge facing many cities across the country. In Tampa, this issue is compounded by the increasing demand for housing, limited supply, and rising market rates. For over a decade, the number of new residents moving to Tampa has outnumbered new housing units built. 

To balance the scales, Mayor Castor identified Housing Affordability as one of her top 5 priorities for Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow. 

“Housing affordability is an issue that affects Tampanians in every neighborhood and every corner of our city,” explained Mayor Jane Castor. “We have to act now to preserve housing options Tampa can afford so that all who work in Tampa have a chance to live in Tampa too. So that elderly residents don’t get priced out of their long-time neighborhoods, and so that our kids can afford to plant their own roots here someday. These recommendations and actions will help us make our housing affordability vision a reality for thousands of residents and guide us towards a brighter future for our city.”

To support this mission, the City of Tampa has already invested more than 20 million dollars into housing affordability over the last two years through a variety of assistance programs. The Housing Affordability Advisory Team recommends expanding these programs and identified other recommendations to support this vision. 

The key recommendations from the advisory team fall into three categories:

  1. Supply and Programming
  2. Policy and Alignment
  3. Community Outreach and Engagement

For Supply and Programming, the team recommends that the City develop a Community Land Trust to streamline the process of acquiring, managing, and making land available for development. To increase the supply of housing, an RFP will be issued for the development of an 18-acre parcel of land currently owned by the City in West Tampa.  

In addition to increasing housing supply, the team also recommends expanding programs that make it easier to buy and restore homes.

The second recommendation, Policy and Alignment, focuses on updating land development codes to eliminate unnecessary costs and hurdles. This includes making strategic changes that address both housing and transportation needs and streamline the process of developing residential projects. 

Lastly, the Advisory Team recommends that the City improves Community Outreach and Engagement by synthesizing housing assistance information in one central location and by utilizing various communication channels to increase awareness of existing housing programs. 

These recommendations will serve as a roadmap to meet housing affordability goals and progress towards Mayor Castor’s Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow vision. 

To learn more about the Housing Affordability Recommendations and Mayor Castor’s Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow vision, visit tampagov.net/T3.

PLEASE WATCH VIDEO ON RECOMMENDATIONS HERE AND SHARE!

February 12, 2020 - 5:00pm

Mayor Castor Kicks Off Intersection of Innovation at the Synapse Summit

With the Synapse Summit currently in full swing, Mayor Jane Castor took the opportunity to engage the innovative community and reveal an exciting new initiative: Intersection of Innovation.

This call to action to Tampa’s innovators is an opportunity for the City to work with leading experts, startups, and problem-solvers to tackle some of the City’s greatest challenges and embrace next-generation solutions.

Intersection of Innovation supports Mayor Jane Castor’s Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow vision, with a key emphasis on transportationdevelopment services, housing affordability, workforce development, and sustainability & resilience. Through this program, companies and individuals will have an opportunity to pitch project ideas to City decision-makers, to identify projects that will meet resident needs. Successful projects could be selected for future pilot programs, which the City would test via their ‘City as a Lab’ approach.

Mayor Jane Castor discussed some of the details of this new initiative during a Fireside Chat at the Synapse Summit where thousands of entrepreneurs, tech-experts, and innovators are currently attending a 2-day event. By engaging the community, Mayor Castor hopes to foster a positive working relationship with the public that will lead to smart solutions that improve quality of life for all residents.

“The future is all about innovation. So as a city, we need to do everything that we can to be a catalyst for progress and to keep Tampa on the cutting edge,” explained Mayor Jane Castor. “Right now, we have a chance to transform Tampa into the world-class city we all want to live, work, and play in—but in order to get there, we have to work smarter, not harder—and we have to work together. That’s why we need innovators on our side working with our amazing city staff to tackle our greatest challenges and help us reach our goals.”

"Synapse is excited to be working with a Visionary Mayor that is supportive of Tampa's growing tech ecosystem. We look forward to continue to work with her and her team to move our region forward"  added Brian Kornfeld  Co -Founder and President of Synapse Florida

Some examples of civic innovation projects that the City of Tampa Smart Mobility Division is currently working on include:

Wayfinding for persons with visual disabilities: This wayfinding app that will make it easier for persons with visual disability to navigate the city comfortably. The first phase of this program will provide wayfinding from transit stops to City Hall, the Municipal Office Building, and the Lighthouse for the Blind and Low Vision. The app is scheduled to launch later this year during White Cane Awareness month, October.

Mobility as a Service App: This app will connect all the various forms of transportation (streetcar, busses, Pirate Water Taxi, e-Scooters, rideshare, etc.) into one app where locals and visitors to plan, book, and pay for trips.

Curbside Management Pilot: This pilot program will create a system for rideshare drivers, commercial delivery trucks, and other vehicles to reserve City curb space. This will cut down on double-parking, mitigate congestion, and leverage the city’s limited curb space for the safest and most effective use.

Intersection of Innovation will welcome more opportunities for civic projects like these, allowing the City to embrace modern solutions and support Tampa’s innovative workforce.

To learn more about Intersection of Innovation, visit tampagov.net/intersection