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City attorney: Lawyer representing Toytown has no conflict -- yet



ST. PETERSBURG -- Attorney David Punzak won approval from a land use board Tuesday that allows his client to develop the former Toytown landfill after assistant St. Petersburg City Attorney Mark Winn determined that Punzak didn't have a conflict of interest.

Punzak, a member of the Carlton Fields law firm, sits on the city's Development Review Commission, which reviews site plans for projects. The city board that approved the zoning Tuesday is the Planning and Visioning Commission, which reviews changes to the city's long-range growth plans. Punzak doesn't sit on that board.

Punzak said he knew he didn't have a conflict because he didn't sit on the board, but he said out of an abundance of caution he asked Winn anyway.

"I wanted to be doubly sure," Punzak said. "I'm a cautious fellow."

The project proposes to redevelop a landfill site on the northeastern edge of St. Petersburg for housing, offices, retail and a light rail station. The site has also been identified as a potential home for a new baseball stadium.

The project will pose a conflict for Punzak when the project is ultimately reviewed by the Development Review Commission, which Punzak has sat on for about five years, Winn said.

Punzak said he doesn't disagree. Because of the poor economy, the project won't complete a site plan for some time -- years, not months, Punzak said.

But when it is reviewed, Punzak said he'll recuse himself if he still sits on the DRC.

Michael Van Sickler, Times staff writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:24pm]


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