Mayor Castor's vision for the future of Tampa comes into focus

Mayor Jane Castor has lots of ideas for Tampa's future and she wants to see results - quickly.

Her advisory teams for Transforming Tampa's Tomorrow are focused on five key issues facing the city, and Thursday the mayor unveiled some major recommendations.

The main goal of the Development Services group was to find ways to streamline the permitting process. Eliminating red tape to make it easier for homeowners and contractors to complete projects easier and faster.

The skyline of Tampa is changing. It's hard to ignore all the cranes, concrete, and construction happening all across the city.  Mayor Jane Castor wants to make it easier for developers and homeowners to get projects off the ground.

“I committed to bringing together a mix of stakeholders focused on identifying immediate ways to cut the red tape and implement efficiencies when dealing with the city,” Castor said.

The mayor announced key findings from an 11-member advisory team focused on improving development services in Tampa.  Over three months they came up with recommendations that can be done right away to help folks navigate city services and jumpstart growth.

"We’ll see some real changes in constriction service here in Tampa and it will benefit the entire community," said Castor.

For the average citizen, that means quicker services and help navigating requirements when taking on a remodeling or home improvement project.

Officials will also be assessing the current development fee structure.  Some haven't been updated in 13-years.

"You just want to make sure that everyone is responsible for the impact that their development is causing,” Castor said.  “So we just want to make sure it’s a fair and equitable service."

The group also found more staff is needed in certain areas to meet the growing demand for services. One huge area is our tree canopy.  The city inspects every project that involves trees, but with only four arborists on staff, there could often be a long wait.           

"So what we have done is we have trained a cadre of 20 arborists, trained and certified them in city standards so that if you want as a homeowner or developer, you want to expedite that process you can go to that list of arborists and get your permit quicker," said Castor.

The advisory team report contains many more recommendations all focused on making development easier and accessible.