Archives for November 2008

Tierra Verde Annexation Approved

St. Petersburg City Council voted Friday to annex 18 acres in Tierra Verde, allowing a former resort and marina to be torn down and replaced by a high-rise condo complex.

Many residents from Tierra Verde showed up to protest, saying the high-rises would ruin the gateway to their community, blocking views and causing traffic problems.

Owners of the former Tierra Verde Resort Marina want to redevelop the property, although no plans have been submitted. Under agreements with the city, nothing taller than 8 stories would be built as long as the annexation isn’t challenged in court. If challenged, the height could increase to 15 stories because St. Petersburg ordinances could be applied. The legal limit under St. Pete law is about 15 stories, which is triple the height of Tierra Verde’s 50-foot limit.

Critics have said St. Petersburg’s Mayor and other city leaders want the tax revenue the development of the annexed land would generate – up to $1 million annually. Baker on Friday defended the annexation, saying the increased revenue would help spread the tax burden among the residents of St. Pete.Baker also said he thinks the annexation is legally sound and will withstand any challenge in court.

An attorney for one of the potential developers, said property owners such as his client have the right by law to ask to be annexed.

Tierra Verde is an unincorporated area of Pinellas County and home to about 4,500 people and several businesses. The annexed land is on the north tip of the island, just south of a bridge to the Pinellas Bayway, and it includes, in addition to the now-vacant resort, a strip shopping center of small businesses and two boat-storage facilities.

Beach Hotel Decision Delayed

The Clearwater Community Development Board approved a development agreement with Dr. Kirin Patel and his development company for a new hotel on Clearwater Beach 4 years ago. That was during the building boom. Now, building is at a standstill and financing difficult to find.

Patel has asked the city to approve an amended agreement. Among other things, it would give him 3 years from its approval to start the project. At the November 18th meeting Councilman Paul Gibson said that without a qualified partner, the project was “destined to fail” and may never get built.

Plans call for a 450 room hotel to be built on the 2.75-acre parcel directly south of Pier 60, between Coronado Drive and S. Gulfview Boulevard. 200 rooms will be timeshares and the rest will be available to the public.

The property is currently vacant and used for temporary public parking by the city. If the amended agreement is approved, the city wants to add $240k worth of improvements that would add 101 spaces to the 103 spaces and add curbing and landscaping. The city would eventually get 8 public parking spaces in the hotel’s parking garage to replace the curbside spaces that will be lost to the hotel project.

The City Council postponed a vote on the amended agreement until its Dec. 4 meeting so parking lot details can be tweaked.

New Pinellas County Park Underway

Eagle Lake Park, a 156-acre development at Keene and Belleair roads, is about 50% complete and should be open to the public in about a year. Park construction has been paid for with $7.2 million in Penny funds and two state grants totaling $1.16 million.

The park will offer residents 2.5 miles of paved trails, 1.7 miles of shell foot paths, 293 parking spaces, a playground, a large dog park, 6 picnic shelters, 5 boardwalk viewing decks on ponds, 1,774 feet of boardwalks over wetlands, five vehicle bridges, various types of urban wildlife, such as coyotes, foxes, osprey and red-tailed squirrels. There will be a wetlands restoration area that will re-create the natural flow of water across the property.Entrances will be located on Keene, Belleair and Rosery roads.Roadways will be 22 feet wide and the trails 12 feet – the same as the Pinellas Trail.

The site also includes the Taylor Historical Addition, a 6.6-acre section the county purchased in 2006 for $2.25 million. The former Taylor family home, built in 1910, is being restored, along with a barn and other buildings nearby. They will be open for tours and geared toward school field trips. The park will be staffed with county personnel, including live-in security. The live-in site is a home formerly owned by a member of the Taylor family, which previously owned the land with the Carter family. The two families were among the original settlers in the county.

Park construction has been paid for with $7.2 million in Penny funds and two state grants totaling $1.16 million.

Madeira Beach Condo Extension Approved

The developer of the Beach Club of Madeira condominium project at 14002 Gulf Blvd. was given a 1 year time extension to begin construction at the October Board of Commissioners meeting. The delay was requested due to problems with proposed fire ingress and egress.

The Beach Club of Madeira is a 7 story 13 unit project, which was originally approved as a Planned Development Project in January 2007.