Mayor Grover Robinson will not host his weekly press conference Monday, Nov. 11 due to the Veterans Day holiday. The mayor’s weekly press conferences will resume Monday, Nov. 18 at 9:30 a.m. in the Whibbs Conference Room, located on the first floor of City Hall, 222 W. Main St.
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City Switching to New Online Permitting and Inspections Software
The City of Pensacola is switching to MyGovernmentOnline permitting and inspections software Tuesday, Nov. 5, which will enhance the application submittal, plan review and inspection experience for contractors and residents through convenient online services.
Contractors or residents who would like to use the city’s online permitting services must create a free customer account through MyGovernmentOnline. For instructions on how to create an account, visit mygovernmentonline.org.
The MyGovernmentOnline software will give contractors and residents the ability to:
Apply online for building and trade permits
Pay permit fees online with Visa and Mastercard
Submit “paperless” plans and documents in PDF format
Track application progress up to permit issuance or notice of approval
View and print copies of review comment letters
View and print copies of “in-compliance” building plans
Request inspections online
View and print completed inspection reports
Receive real-time email or phone call notifications when an inspection is completed
The MyGovernmentOnline software will allow contractors and residents to begin applying for permits and other services online rather than traveling to a designated permit office. Please note that any documents required with an application, such as architectural plans, civil plans, surveys, property owner authorization, etc. must be uploaded in PDF format when submitting an application.
When requesting inspections online, the policy will remain that inspection requests must be submitted prior to 6 a.m. to have an inspection performed the same business day. City of Pensacola inspectors will enter inspection results in the field to ensure applicants will receive inspection results via email or through the customer portal in near-real time.
For further assistance with using the MyGovernmentOnline software, please call the technical support line at 1-866-957-3764, option 1. The MyGovernmentOnline agents are available to assist with any software related questions.
Court Rules in Favor of Protecting Heritage Oak Tree
A judge has ruled in favor of protecting a heritage live oak tree on North Spring Street that the City of Pensacola has been working to prevent from being cut down.
On Wednesday, Oct. 30, Judge Jeffrey L. Burns of the First Judicial Circuit Court denied the property owners’ motion to dissolve a temporary injunction preventing the removal of the tree, allowing the injunction to remain in place.
“The injunction will serve the public interest, as the tree ordinances in place were enacted by local government officials elected by the voters of the City, and are the reflection of the public interest of the residents of Pensacola,” Judge Burns wrote in his ruling.
The Spring Street heritage live oak was at risk of being removed at the request of the property owners, despite multiple expert opinions finding it to be healthy. The City of Pensacola filed a declaratory judgment action in an effort to save the tree and also raised some questions to the court to get clarification about how to interpret a new state statute that replaces local government processes for evaluating whether trees should be removed from residential properties to protect public safety.
In his ruling, Judge Burns determined that the city proved each required element to keep the injunction in place, including presenting evidence that it will suffer irreparable harm and establishing that the injunction will serve the public interest.
“There is an immediate danger of significant loss or damage if the injunction is not maintained, as an irreplaceable 200 plus-year-old tree will likely be removed without the injunction remaining in place,” Judge Burns wrote.
The City’s Code provides for removal of dangerous trees and protection for certain trees that are healthy. The new state law delegates to professional arborists and landscape architects the duty to determine if a tree is unsafe, but it does not specify the documentation needed to make that determination. How that decision is made and whether it is objective were among the questions posed in the city’s declaratory judgment action.
Judge Burns provided some guidance on interpreting the new state statute, concluding that any documentation rendered on whether a tree is dangerous must conform to industry standards applicable to certified arborists and licensed landscape architects.
His ruling also stated: “Accordingly, the only reasonable interpretation of section 163.045 (1), Florida Statutes is one where: (1) an arborist or landscape architect must determine that a tree is a danger; and (2) for the determination and documentation to be rendered utilizing only the methodologies and official documents applicable to the two respective industries.”
The City of Pensacola strives to have practices that respect individual property rights and are not burdensome on property owners, but the city also places value in protecting healthy trees from being destroyed. The hope is that guidance with this new state statute will not only help Pensacola and its residents, but also other municipalities that are looking for assistance with interpreting this law.
Reminder: Next Mayor’s Neighborhood Cleanup Saturday, Oct. 26
The next Mayor’s Neighborhood Cleanup day will be on Saturday, Oct. 26, allowing residents in the cleanup area to leave eligible items at the curb to be picked up by City of Pensacola Sanitation Services free of charge.
Residents in the cleanup area must leave items at curbside by 7 a.m. on the day of the cleanup.
Please note that items left at curbside outside of the cleanup area will not be collected.
This month’s cleanup area covers the east Scenic Heights area east of Pensacola International Airport, generally south of Baywoods Drive, north of Summit Boulevard, east of Spanish Trail and along Scenic Highway. Please see the cleanup map for details.
The cleanup includes bulk items only. Yard waste or garbage will not be collected.
Items eligible for removal include:
Household junk and debris
Furniture and mattresses
Barbecue grills (no propane tanks)
Bicycles and toys
Old paint and paint cans
Items not eligible for removal include:
Building materials (concrete, bricks, blocks, roofing, drywall or more than one cubic yard of lumber)
Household or pool chemicals
Herbicides or pesticides
Explosives or ammunition
Dirt or sod
Garbage or yard trash
Please keep tires and paint cans separate from all other debris, and do not place piles under low-hanging lines or near poles, fences or mailboxes.
Through the Mayor’s Neighborhood Cleanup program, all city neighborhoods have a cleanup once a year during the months of January through October. In addition to Sanitation Services collecting items left at the curb, Code Enforcement conducts a sweep of the cleanup area and addresses any code violations.
Mayor Robinson Joins National League of Cities 2020 Presidential Task Force
Mayor Grover Robinson has joined 33 other local elected officials from across the country, in partnership with the National League of Cities, to form a 2020 Presidential Election Task Force.
The Task Force will be looking to find solutions for cities, towns and villages on the national election stage. During the 2020 Presidential election cycle, it is important that every community and resident feel their voice and priorities are being heard.
“I’m a strong believer in the importance of collaboration in every level of government, and I think having a bipartisan group of leaders tasked with coming up with innovative solutions sends a message that these are issues we care about across the board,” Mayor Robinson said. “I’m incredibly honored to be part of the 2020 Presidential Election Task Force and represent not only Pensacola, but all of Northwest Florida, to address the issues that matter most to our residents.”
The Task Force convened in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 21 to build a local priority platform and help ensure community issues are uplifted during the 2020 Presidential election cycle. The Task Force has appointed bipartisan co-chairs, the Hon. Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, California and the Hon. Francis Suarez of Miami, Florida.
“The work we’re doing in cities drives America forward every day, and the issues we face should be top priorities for every presidential candidate,” said Eric Garcetti, Task Force co-chair and mayor of Los Angeles, California. “This bipartisan task force will help us shape and promote a national agenda for the future of our communities, and I am proud to lead it alongside Mayor Suarez.”
“I’m excited to work closely with Mayor Garcetti and the rest of this bipartisan group of elected officials to discuss issues facing our communities across the United States,” said Francis Suarez, Task Force co-chair and mayor of Miami, Florida. “As local elected leaders, we have a duty to uplift the voices of our communities by fostering and promoting solutions to our most pressing challenges, and to ensure they are heard throughout the 2020 election cycle and beyond. Through these efforts, we are ready to Lead Together.”
For a full list of the Task Force members, see below.
Eric Garcetti, Mayor, Los Angeles, CA
Francis Suarez, Mayor, Miami, FL
Robin Arredondo-Savage, Councilmember, Tempe, AZ
Scott Benson, Councilmember, Detroit, MI
Andy Berke, Mayor, Chattanooga, TN
Margaret Byrnes, Executive Director, New Hampshire Municipal Association
Krisanna Clark-Endicott, Councilmember, Redmond, OR
John Dailey, Mayor, Tallahassee, FL
Cameron Diehl, Executive Director, Utah League of Cities and Towns
Kathy Ehley, Mayor, Wauwatosa, WI
Derek Green, Councilmember, Philadelphia, PA
Shannon Hardin, Council President, Columbus, OH
David Holt, Mayor, Oklahoma City, OK
Lindsey Horvath, Mayor Pro Tem, West Hollywood, CA
Chokwe Lumumba, Mayor, Jackson, MS
John Lundell, Mayor, Coralville, IA
Lily Mei, Mayor, Fremont, CA
Salvatore Panto, Mayor, Easton, PA
Steve Patterson, Mayor, Athens, OH
Stephanie Piko, Mayor, Centennial, CO
Sean Polster, Councilmember, Warrenton, VA
Grover Robinson, Mayor, Pensacola, FL
David Sander, Vice Mayor, Rancho Cordova, CA
Brandon Scott, Council President, Baltimore, MD
Rebecca Viagran, Councilmember, San Antonio, TX
Victoria Woodards, Mayor, Tacoma, WA
Acquanetta Warren, Mayor, Fontana, CA
Steve Williams, Mayor, Huntington, WV
Karen Freeman-Wilson, Mayor, Gary, IN, NLC President
Joe Buscaino, Councilmember, Los Angeles, CA, NLC First Vice President
Kathy Maness, Councilmember, Lexington, SC, NLC Second Vice President
Clarence Anthony, Executive Director, National League of Cities
Barbara Moore, Executive Director, Democratic Municipal Officials
City Planning Board’s Workshop for the Proposed City of Pensacola Tree & Landscape Ordinance!
The City of Pensacola’s Planning Board is hosting a public workshop [October 24th from 4-6PM at the Hagler Mason Conference Room, Pensacola City Hall, 222 W Main St. Pensacola, FL] that will include all stakeholder groups in crafting a new Tree & Landscape ordinance to the Pensacola Code of City Ordinances. Technical advisors and materials will be provided to explain the proposed changes so the public can participate in crafting comments to be submitted towards the final product.
Over the years, urban development, tree-cutting practices and House Bill 1159 have generated concerns by residents, developers, municipalities and local arborists. Find out what the current law states, what is being proposed and how you can help the City protect their future tree canopy.
ALL GROUPS! Licensed arborists, developers, scientists, business owners, residents and non-traditional participants are encouraged to participate! The Executive Director of Emerald Coastkeeper, Laurie Murphy will be providing a presentation on the details of the proposed tree ordinance changes.
Attached is the revised Tree and Landscape Ordinance
If you are a person with a disability, which requires a need for accommodations in order to attend this workshop or a sign language interpreter, contact Emerald Coastkeeper at (850) 292-5960.
TRAFFIC ADVISORY: Section of Baylen Street to Temporarily Close Thursday
The City of Pensacola has issued a permit for a water line installation project that will require a temporary closure of the section of Baylen Street between West Strong and Cervantes streets on Thursday, Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Drivers are asked to please avoid the area, if possible. Residents and business owners within this block will still be able to access their property.
For more information, please contact Project Manager Tom Dulaney with J. Miller Construction Inc. at 850-503-7023.
City’s ADA Sidewalk Repair Project Surpasses 9,000 Feet
The City of Pensacola’s Public Works and Facilities Department has repaired approximately 9,350 linear feet of sidewalk and installed 215 curb ramps as part of the city’s Americans with Disabilities Act Sidewalk Assessment. Another 18,750 linear feet of sidewalk is expected to be repaired by 2023, along with an additional 1,806 curb ramps.
The city completed an ADA Sidewalk Assessment in 2017 to evaluate existing sidewalks for ADA deficiencies, identifying approximately 28,100 linear feet of sidewalks and another 2,021 new curb ramps needed in order to achieve an acceptable level of ADA compliance.
“These repairs and improvements are essential to making our sidewalks accessible to all of our residents, so I’m excited to see projects continue to move forward,” Mayor Grover Robinson said. “Sidewalks help create accessible, safe communities, which is what we strive for the City of Pensacola to be.”
Sidewalk repair projects were also prioritized in the survey to create a master sidewalk improvement project list, which is available on the city’s website.
Projects began on the west side of the city and are moving eastward, with the next set of projects planned for the Community Redevelopment Area Urban Core District, which is primarily the downtown area. Two sidewalk repair projects in the Urban Core District are expected to begin this year, with three additional projects expected to be completed in 2020.
“This sidewalk assessment is an ongoing effort not only to make our sidewalks ADA compliant, but also to promote city-wide walkability and connectivity,” Public Works and Facilities Director Derrik Owens said. “We are always looking for ways to continue to maintain and improve our infrastructure for all of our citizens.”