In 2021, the city council approved the Community Benefits Agreement program as a significant step toward more equitable economic growth. Last week they launched the program by requesting applications for the newly created Community Benefits Advisory Committee — a non-partisan board that advises the mayor, city council, and the citizens of St. Pete on the implementation of the City’s Community Benefits Agreement Program.
ST. PETERSBURG — In 2021, the city council approved the Community Benefits Agreement program as a significant step toward more equitable economic growth. It creates a process that considers the social and community impact of major development plans.
Last week, the city launched the program by requesting applications for the newly created Community Benefits Advisory Committee (CBAC) — a non-partisan board that advises the mayor, city council, and the citizens of St. Pete on implementation of the City’s Community Benefits Agreement Program.
The committee is made up of four standing members who will consult on all Community Benefits Agreement projects, as well as four ad-hoc members chosen on a project-by-project basis from neighboring areas within one mile of the project site. Two of the standing member appointments are made by the mayor and two by city council. Members serve no more than two three-year terms. Additionally, one city council member is selected by the council for each project.
The CBAC’s duties include:
- Convene meetings in neighborhoods affected by a development project to solicit input that will help guide the creation of Community Benefits Agreement
- Make recommendations to city council on Community Benefits Agreement that are based on project impact reports and neighborhood meetings
- Make recommendations to city council on a development agreement
- Provide ongoing advice and recommendations on the program and process, including how to best measure community impact and assure compliance
The CBAC will convene for at least four meetings when reviewing a project, twice in the neighborhood(s) most affected by the project to hear community input and twice to recommend preliminary and final community benefit packages to city council for approval.
Interested St. Pete residents and business owners are encouraged to apply by visiting stpete.org/CBAC. Applications are due March 30.
“Intentional equity is one of my administration’s top pillars, and that includes equitable economic development,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch. “The Community Benefits Agreement program allows the city to grow while still improving quality of life for all St. Pete residents. The flexibility allows developers to continue operating successfully in the city while identifying ways to benefit the community in sustainable ways. It’s a winning strategy for everyone involved.”
St. Petersburg City Councilmember Deborah Figgs-Sanders added: “For years, our great city has witnessed development in St. Petersburg but has not necessarily included local contractors and developers with accommodations and access to engage in our development boom. I’d like to thank my colleagues on council as well as the numerous residents and stakeholders who acknowledged this need and for this commitment to finally see movement and make it happen.”
The Community Benefits program requires developers to provide community benefits for projects that receive public assistance greater than 20 percent of the overall construction cost for projects valued at more than $2 million, or $10 million in public assistance.
When a developer’s project exceeds those thresholds, they must provide some benefit to the community, including but not limited to:
- Provide affordable or workforce housing
- Hire construction contractors certified as Small Business Enterprises or Minority Business Enterprises
- Use building components that exceed minimum energy performance standards, such as LEED certification or Energy Star
- Contribute to historic building renovation
- Construct public parking
- Fund assistance to the city’s recycling program or waterway nourishment
- Contribute to Pinellas County Schools
The appropriate community benefits package a developer must provide is determined through the work of the CBA Advisory Board in collaboration with the impacted community through engagement and community meetings. The package is part of the final development term agreement approved by city council.