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South Tampa Strong

Growth South of Gandy | John Dingfelder, Councilman District 3

Sunny:  Councilman Dingflelder, the growth of new apartment complexes especially those South of Gandy Boulevard, has been widely criticized by area residents. Pleas from residents south of Gandy Boulevard and community action groups have been demanding city officials take action to stem the flow of new apartment construction in their neighborhoods.

In response to this, you proposed a moratorium on permitting that would freeze new permitting for building multi-family development for certain land-use categories for several months. This pause was designed to allow for studies to determine the impact of continued building in South Tampa’s residential neighborhoods. As we know, this proposal was defeated by the City Council this May. 

What now?

John: This issue isn’t going away.  I have a deep commitment to preserving the individuality and safety of our neighborhoods as a preservationist and neighborhood advocate.  In 2019, I saw that neighbors who interacted in their front yards, built personal connections that make communities closer and safer. Tampa is famous for its front porches, a feature of Tampa’s traditional Bungalow style house. At that time, residents who wanted to add a front porch to their home faced expensive and time-consuming red tape. I led an initiative for the Council to make it easier and cheaper for Tampa residents to attach a front porch to their home which the Council voted unanimously to support. These are the type of things we should be encouraging to help neighbors build a stronger sense of community.

Preserving South Tampa’s small communities and ensuring public safety is paramount. The overbuilding of apartment complexes in South Tampa is a safety issue.  I’m very concerned about these neighborhoods. For example, even 300 new apartments can equate to 600 new cars driving on one small residential road every day.  That’s not what these little neighborhoods were built for.

“They are overbuilding apartment complexes down there and this can lead to an even larger evacuation problem than we already have. Knowing this, why would we want to add thousands of apartment units? That’s just wrong and it’s dangerous.”

Sunny:  What do you propose citizens do?

John: There are several things that citizens can do. In all the City Council meetings I have attended, when a matter is brought before the Council for a vote and no citizens are in attendance to express opposition, generally the item is approved.

Without citizen input, the Council can only make a decision with the information they have. That’s why attending City Council meetings when issues important to your community are discussed is so important.    

Next, know who your local government representatives are. Ask them questions. Tell them your concerns and don’t hesitate.  They need to learn from you to understand differing points of view. Use whatever type of communication works–call, send emails, letters.  What matters is that you share what you think. Encourage others in your neighborhood to do the same.

Also, if you have a Civic Association or Neighborhood Crime Watch in your area join them. There is power in numbers. When citizens unite in large numbers change is more likely to occur. I will continue to advocate to stem overbuilding in South Tampa.  To put it simply, I’m not done fighting.

Meet John Dingfelder—Tampa City Councilman at Large, District 3

John’s commitment to serving our community began decades ago as a former civic association president and has continued over the years as a little league coach, attorney, and public-school teacher. First elected to Tampa City Council in 2003, the voters re-elected him to that same District 4 seat in 2007. John returned to Council in 2019, in the City-wide District 3 seat. He was the President of the Ybor City Rotary and serves on numerous civic boards and councils and greatly enjoys delivering for Meals on Wheels, painting for Paint Your Heart Out, and hammering for Habitat for Humanity. A practicing attorney for 30 years, he has served as an Assistant County Attorney and as an Assistant Public Defender.

Make Your Voice Heard!

Share your opinion on building more apartment complexes south of Gandy Boulevard.  Answer our poll and immediately see the results from everyone who has voted so far.  

We will share the final results of this poll with Councilman John Dingfelder!

Do You Support More Residential Development South of Gandy

5 Simple Ways to Make Our Neighborhood Safer

1. Make Friends with Neighbors

Good neighbors watch out and help in case of an emergency.

2. Join Safety Efforts

Join your Neighborhood Watch Group.  Call TPD for the 411.

3. Tend to Your Yard

A well-kept yard can help deter crime.

4. Close Your Windows & Blinds

Especially at night!  Don’t give anyone a look inside your home.

5. Improve Outside Lighting

Burglars target homes with poor outdoor lighting.

3 Neighborhood Apps to Keep Your Family Safe

Apps are a great tool to help neighbors stay in touch. We recommend a few free apps specifically designed to fight crime. These three examples are just a sampling to help you become aware of the many options out there. Take time to check out all your options and decide what might be a helpful tool for you.

The apps noted below are free and all have crime-tracking components. If you elect to have a paid subscription, Apps offer more extensive reports on crime in your area.

Area Vibes

AreaVibes helps you find the best place to live based on the factors you believe is important. This app gives you information before your commit to a specific place to call home.

How it works

Enter a state, city, neighborhood, or address into the AreaVibes search box, and the website instantly plots the location on a map and provides you with its livability score between one and 100.

The site also maps and ranks nearby areas according to their scores and compares your area’s livability score to state and national averages. AreaVibes also assigns locations a letter grade from F to A+ for each of seven livability factors, one of which is crime.

A Special Feature

AreaVibes’ custom search function sets it apart from similar tools, allowing you to sort locations by livability factors such as crime, amenities, education, and housing.

If crime is most important to you, AreaVibes is a great way to quickly and easily compare the crime activity in several cities at once.

The Neighbors App

The Neighbors App by Ring is one of the newest neighborhood tools on the scene. Created by Ring (known for its doorbell cameras and Ring Alarm home security system), the app aims to be an online neighborhood watch program.

How it works

You don’t have to be a Ring customer to use the free app. It uses reports by people in your neighborhood and local law enforcement to alert you to suspicious activities and crime events in your area. You can also anonymously contribute your own tips.

In addition to its neighborhood safety functions, you can submit or look for information on lost pets.

A Special Feature

The unique feature for this app is more of a warning. Educate yourself on your privacy rights and Ring’s history with police partnerships. Then decide if Neighbors is for you. Investigate thoroughly as Ring has its privacy pros and cons to weigh.

Spot Crime

SpotCrime maps crimes and delivers crime alerts via email, Facebook, Twitter, and several other platforms.

How it works

SpotCrime gathers data from law enforcement agencies, news reports, and user tips to visually represent crime stats.

Crimes are represented by icons that make it easy to see what type of activity takes place in your neighborhood. When you click on an icon, you get the crime title, when and where it took place, and a link that directs you to the source where the data came from.

The source is usually the law enforcement agency that handled the incident. You can search SpotCrime by state and follow links to a city’s crime maps, most-wanted page, and daily crime reports.

A Special Feature

SpotCrime isn’t as extensive as some of the other sites, but it is one of the more user friendly and visual. It gives the viewer a quick look at crime in their neighborhood. It also allows users to report a crime or tip anonymously.