issue 1
August 2012      
A consolidated planning agency
Ray Chiaramonte
Ray Chiaramonte, AICP Executive Director of the Planning Commission & MPO
Ramond (Ray) A. Chiaramonte, AICP, Executive Director of the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), was hired as Executive Director of the Planning Commission in May.  Ray's vision for his new role included a more unified planning process.  By synchronizing the plans, streamlining internal management decisions, and improving staff efficiency, this consolidation of planning agencies will better tie together comprehensive land use planning with long range transportation planning while saving taxpayers money. Following a three month trial period, the Planning Commissioners unanimously approved allowing Ray to serve as Executive Director of both the Planning Commission and MPO on August 13th.

Melissa Zornitta, AICP, and Beth Alden, AICP, will serve as Assistant Directors of the Planning Commission and MPO, respectively.  The MPO unanimously approved the dual Executive Director agreement at its July 30th Board Meeting.

Handy guide to information &
services during the RNC
Where we'll be during the RNC 
Click the image above for a
full screen view of
Where we'll be during the RNC

The end of August will look like nothing we've ever seen before in Tampa Bay, as tens of thousands gather for the Republican National Convention (RNC).  The Planning Commission staff has been relocated to remote locations throughout Hillsborough County to better serve you.  Appointments are encouraged by calling or emailing our planners directly, or dial 813.273.3774 x 300 for a receptionist.  Click on the image to the right to view more information on... Where we'll be during the RNC.

Looking for other City or County services?  Concerned about traffic and parking?  What about road and bridge closures?  Or if you just want to know what is going on, here are some useful resources:

City of Tampa
24 hour Toll-free RNC Call Center | 866.762.8687

Hillsborough County
Find County services near you | 813.272.5900

TBARTA Commuter Solutions 


HART Buses & TECO Line Streetcar 

Hillsborough County Public Transportation during RNC 



people pedal-powered buses in Downtown during RNC 


Front Row Tampa Bay

your front row seat inside the RNC - live webcast  


RNC Mobile Apps & Social  Media  



We're looking forward to showing the world why

Tampa Bay is the best place to live, work and play! 



Plant City appoints new Planning Commissioner
On August 13th, the Plant City City Commission appointed Gary Pike to serve the remainder of Commissioner Sears term.  After serving more than 20 years on government boards, Gary Sears recently resigned from Hillsborough County's planning board, citing health reasons. 
Gary Sears honored by Plant City City Commission
Mr. & Mrs. Gary Sears receive proclamation honoring the retired Planning Commissioner for his years of service to Plant City from Mayor Sparkman at the August 13th City Commission meeting.
We wish Gary Sears well and welcome Commissioner Pike to the Planning Commission.  Born and raised in Elmira, New York, Gary Pike has been actively involved in charitable and community activities since he moved to Plant City in 1995.  A Trustee of the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce and current President of the Clubhouse Woods Homeowners Association, Commissioner Pike will take the oath of office at the September 10th Planning Commission meeting.

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In this Issue
Consolidated planning agency
Guide to the RNC
Plant City appoints new Commissioner
Upcoming Events
Video Central
Speak Up
Students get down to business in University Area
MPO receives Federal Transportation Planning Excellence Award
Ybor City Museum Society honors Tony LaColla
Community Corner

More News 

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Upcoming Events   

THU - August 23rd | 9am

Planning Commission Retreat


FRI - August 24th 

OFFICES CLOSED for Staff Training


MON - September 3rd



MON - September 10th | 2pm

Planning Commission Meeting


TUE - August 18th | 6pm

Balm Community Plan Workshop


THU - September 20th | 6pm

Terrace Park - University Square

Vision Plan Workshop 


THU - August 27th | 5:30pm

University Area Community Plan Update Open House 


For more information on meetings, events, locations and agendas, visit our website: 


Video Central  

'Feeling Good' about Tampa Bay - music by Michael Buble

'Feeling Good' about Tampa Bay -

music by Michael Buble

County Service Locations during the RNC
County Service Locations during the RNC

Speak Up  

Help us develop a Vision Plan for the Terrace Park - University Square community by taking this survey.



Want to see a more efficient transit system in the University Area? Take this brief survey.  


Student volunteers get down to business in the University Area

At the August 13th Planning Commission meeting, student volunteers who made the execution of the University Area Community Plan Business Survey possible were recognized.  For a community to chart a course for a brighter future, it's vital to get those who live, work, or own a business there involved.  One focus of the update of the University Area Community Plan is to support and improve economic opportunities within the neighborhood. To encourage local business participation in the development of this update, Planning Commission staff worked with the Hillsborough County Economic Development Department and the University Community Area Development Corporation to create a business survey.


Student volunteers honored at Aug 13th Planning Commission meeting


Designed to take a snapshot of the current health and future outlook from the local business perspective, the survey was presented in person to hundreds of University Area businesses along the major roadways. Armed with information, warm smiles and bilingual capabilities, student interns working at the University Area Community Development Corporation canvassed the neighborhood in just five days! All this during the summertime swelter of a July with record breaking rainfall.  With limited staff, the Planning Commission was only able to execute such a feat with about a dozen student volunteers.


A product of a public / private partnership, this business survey could not have been executed without these eager-to-help, civic-minded student interns. "Seeing these young students so willing to work at the grass roots level to improve the quality of life in the University Area reinforces my optimism about the future of Hillsborough County," said Planning Commission Chair Frank Chillura.  "On behalf of the entire Planning Commission, thank you."



MPO receives Federal Transportation Planning Excellence Award

The U.S. Department of Transportation honored the Hillsborough County MPO with a Transportation Planning Excellence Award (TPEA) for the Hillsborough Countywide Bicycle Safety Action Plan.  The MPO and consultant Tindale Oliver used crash data to pinpoint chronic safety problems.  The MPO also brought together multiple agencies to develop solutions for implementation over the next 5 years.  The judges favorably considered the approach involving multiple agencies in collaborative solutions. Bicycle Safety Action Plan Receives Award    


The Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration co-sponsored this biennial awards program along with the American Planning Association and the Transportation Research Board to celebrate outstanding transportation planning practices in communities across the country.  The Bicycle Safety Action Plan was one of ten winners out of 50 applications submitted from around the country.


For further information on the Bicycle Safety Action Plan, contact Gena Torres at, or 813.273.3774 x 357.



Ybor City Museum Society honors Tony LaColla
The Ybor City Museum Society recently presented Planning Commission staff member Tony LaColla, AICP, with the prestigiousAdela Gonzmart Award.  The award is presented annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to the historic district including innovations in business or arts development. 
Legacy Awards 2012
Tony LaColla being presented the Adela Gonzmart Award by Andrea Gonzmart from the Columbia Restaurant & Historic Ybor Neighborhood Civic Association board member Jose Garboza
Tony has been involved in the redevelopment of Ybor City, serving as President of the Historic Ybor Neighborhood Civic Association and as a member of the Ybor City Development Corporation Board of Directors, for the past six years.  He played a key role as an advocate for the completion of the I-4 / Selmon Crosstown Expressway Connector Project using
funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  He also worked closely with the City of Tampa to update regulations related to nightclubs and create design standards for Ybor City parking lots.  Tony was the catalyst for a business incubator project in Ybor City.  Today, in partnership with the Hillsborough County Small Business Information Center, Hillsborough County offers small business assistance in Ybor City and a plan for a commercial kitchen incubator is underway.  He was also responsible for preparing and submitting an application to the American Planning Association which earned Ybor City's 7th Avenue the "One of America's Top 10 Streets" designation.

Congratulations Tony! 



Community Corner | community planning briefs |

| university area community plan update

An Open House for the University Area Community Plan update is scheduled for Thursday, September 27th at the University Area Community Center, 14013 North 22nd Street in Tampa from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.


This Plan Update will focus on the most important areas to continue this progress into the next decade. Since early 2011, the Planning Commission worked with citizens, businesses and community stakeholders to draft the University Area Community Plan Update. The major topics the draft plan addresses include:

  • Improving residential neighborhood bicycle and pedestrian connection
  • Job opportunities and economic development
  • Redevelopment potential
  • Housing alternatives
  • Crime prevention

We want to know if we have we missed anything important to you and if that you agree or disagree to the Vision, Goals and Strategies being proposed? Please join us.


| balm community plan |


Balm hosted their second Open House on August 7th.  A BBQ and desserts were enjoyed by all.  The community provided feedback, rating the overall plan a 4.16 out of a possible 5.


Balm Open House

The next workshop will be held on September 18th from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Balm Civic Center to review the Open House results and agency review input.  We anticipate filing the plan amendment in 1st Cycle 2013. 

In accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other nondiscrimination laws, public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability or family status.