issue 2
september 2012
APA Florida elects Zornitta


Ballots for the 2012 Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA Florida) elections were cast from
Melissa Zornitta, AICP
Melissa Zornitta, AICP
around the state in August. At their September 12th Annual Business Meeting  at the Waldorf Astoria in Naples, our Assistant Executive Director, APA Florida announced Melissa Zornitta, AICP, as President Elect. In addition, Tony LaColla, AICP, has been elected as Vice President - Section Affairs.

"This brings pride to our agency which has always been a leader in both the state and national American Planning Association," said Ray Chiaramonte, AICP, Executive Director of the Planning Commission. Congratulations, Melissa and Tony!


Talk planning with us in Naples


For those attending the APA Florida 2012 Conference, many on our Planning Commission team will be leading sessions.  Please join us!

Thursday, September 13th, 4:15p:

New Manager 's Institute: Shortening the Learning Curve for Managers or "How to avoid the mistakes we made!" Targeted to new managers or directors, the purpose is to discuss the opportunities and challenges of managing staff, providing direction, addressing performance issues, balancing perspectives, creating a corporate culture, managing change, and enjoying the job.  Speakers:  Ray Chiaramonte, AICP, Hillsborough Planning Commission/ MPO; Michael L. Delk, AICP, City of Clearwater; Mary Kay Peck, FAICP, MKPeck Associates


Friday, September 14th, 1:15p: We the People NEED JOBS


Politics and Planning. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs - that's the latest mantra we hear from elected officials. Yet what we hear can change from day to day, depending on who is in the room and who is up for reelection. The reality of planning is inherently political. Being politically savvy is key to successful implementation of policies and programs and is a crucial skill for planners. Speakers:  Melissa Zornitta, AICP, Hillsborough Planning Commission; Wayne Tedder, AICP, Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department; Brad Cornelius, AICP, CPM, LEED GA, WadeTrim  


Friday, September 14th, 4:15p (two sessions):  


Sense of THIS Place Planning: Integrating the experience, energy and commitment of residents to get it done. Planning... it's tough these days. Keystone-Odessa Budgets are slim, time frames are tight, and opposition can come from all angles. Learn from three communities-large and small-on how they empowered community stakeholders to develop, support and implement  community plans. Speakers:  Lisa Silva, AICP, RLA, Hillsborough Planning Commission; Wayne Daltry, FAICP, North Fort Myers Planning Panel; Shilpa Mehta, AICP, Renaissance Planning Group; Bob Hunter, FAICP, Sustainable Solutions; Barbara Dowling Aderhold, Keystone Civic Association


Up By Our Own Bootstraps, or Poison Pill? Raising Money for Infrastructure. Gas tax real value has declined steadily for years, other funds have dried up, and yet transportation needs continue to grow exponentially. The MPOAC hired the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) to come up with options for sustainable funding. Meanwhile in Tampa, a 2010 local sales tax referendum to fund rail, etc., did not pass, even while polls reflect sentiment that transportation is an important issue to address. So, how, exactly? Hear what market research revealed. Speakers, Beth Alden, AICP, Hillsborough Planning Commission/ MPO; Ray Chiaramonte, AICP, Hillsborough Planning Commission/ MPO; Stephen Reich, CUTR, USF; Michael P. Howe, Sarasota-Manatee MPO


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In this Issue

  • APA Florida elects Zornitta
  • Talk planning with us in Naples
  • Home, sweet home!
  • Planning Commission retreat
  • Community corner
  • More transit for the University Area?
  • MPO receives APA Florida Award of Excellence
  • Video Central
  • Take a Survey 
Video Central

Feeling Good about Tampa Bay (Michael Buble music)
Feeling Good about Tampa Baymusic by Michael Buble


Take a Survey 


MPO receives APA Florida Award of Excellence 

At its September 13th 2012 Conference Keynote & Project Awards Lunch, APA Florida presented the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) its only Awards of Excellence. A winner in the Best Practices category for "Serving Up Transportation Choices Like Soft Drinks -The Role of Product Market Research in Planning", the MPO conducted marketing-style research as part of its post- referendum analysis of its 2035 Plan.
The project 2035 Logowas judged based on its innovation, transfer-ability, quality, implementation and comprehensiveness.

With a $20 billion shortfall in transportation funding and a countywide vote 58 percent against a sales tax during the worst of the recession, the Hillsborough MPO is using a private-sector technique to retool its long range plan. Focus groups with randomly selected registered voters, conducted by a market research firm behind mirrored glass, have told the MPO its citizens' preferences in their own words.

2035 Post-Referendum Analysis

Home, sweet home!
After Labor Day, the Planning Commission moved back into our County Center home. The Republican National Convention offered us a unique opportunity to test our emergency operation procedures. Passing with flying colors, normal business and public meetings were conducted at satellite locations around Hillsborough County. A big thank you to the City of Temple Terrace who allowed us to take over a piece of City Hall as our home awaCity of Temple Terrace logoy from home for our administrative office!

Planners also worked at locations alongside planning staff from Tampa, Plant City and Hillsborough County, while others were able to virtually log into their County Center desktops from their home offices. Not only are we well-prepared for future storms or special events, but also, we now know teleworking can be used with confidence.
Planning Commissioner retreat
Planning Commissioners on tour of MacDonald Training Center
Planning Commissioners tour the
MacDonald Training Center, whose mission is to empower people with disabilities to lead the lives they choose.

In late August, the Planning Commissioners held a retreat at the  MacDonald Training Center

Following welcome remarks from the Center's Chief Executive Officer Jim Frigogal, a tour of the facility was given. The Planning Commissioners and staff were impressed and touched by the heart and soul of this organization in carrying out its mission to empower people with disabilities to lead the lives they choose.   


The goal of the retreat was for the commissioners and staff to learn more about each other and how we can maximize our efficiencies.  After a self-evaluation, the Planning Commissioners learned about the jurisdictions we plan for and every aspect of the agency, including:


  • History and role of the Planning Commission
  • Planning and Sunshine Laws 
  • GIS, technical infrastructure, Internal and external communications
  • Comprehensive planning, demographics and data 
  • MPO/ Transportation planning and funding 
  • Community and Vision planning
  • Hillsborough River Board  and environmental planning  


Throughout the day, Commissioners looked at opportunities to help them be able to make more informed decisions. Chairman Frank Chillura commented on how the staff are Commissioner are working cohesively.  "The flow of information and morale are greatly improved," he said. "I am pleased on how we are working together within our agency and with other organizations in our region." Member-at-Large Jill Bufford thought a lot was accomplished during the day. "I would like to see a retreat planned for new commissioners and have an annual retreat for the entire board." 


Community corner


Next Workshop:
Tuesday, September 18th, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Balm Civic Center

We'll review results from the August 7th Open House, look at input from agency reviews, and anticipate filing the plan amendment in 1st Cycle 2013.

diverse young family
Terrace Park - University Square Vision Plan

Next Workshop:
Thursday, September 20th, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at MOSI
There will be four drawings for pairs of MOSI admissions!
This workshop will include presentations by the
City of Tampa Land Development Coordination & Stormwater Divisions, as well as the Planning Commission on community goals.



Open House:
Thursday, September 27th, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the University Area Community Center  

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

  • Improving residential neighborhood bicycle & pedestrian connections
  • Job opportunities & economic development
  • Redevelopment potential looking towards a bright future
  • Housing alternatives
  • Crime prevention 

Have we missed anything important to you? Please join us at the September 27th Open House!  This is your opportunity to weigh in, as we work to build a brighter future - together!


More transit for the University Area?


Would you like more public transit options for getting around the University of South Florida Area? Which destinations need better transit service? Would you use the service?

The Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) invite you to a workshop to discuss opportunities for improved transit service within the University Area.

Announcing:    Workshop for the University Area Transit Circulator Study
Date:                   Thursday, October 4, 2012
Time:                   2:00p - 4:00p
Location:            University Area Community Center
                              14013 N 22nd Street, Tampa, FL 33613

Take the University Area Transit Circulator Study Survey now!

For more information, please contact Randy Kranjec at 813/273-3774 x359, or Steve Feigenbaum, at 813/384-6559,


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.