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.