CLEARWATER-- Hoyt Hamilton announced his candidacy for Clearwater City Council Tuesday, saying he’s decided to run even though his family-owned land on Clearwater Beach could be developed in the coming years.
Hamilton, 54, whose family owns the Palm Pavilion, said he will “hit the ground running” in September when candidates formally file the necessary paperwork for the March 11 election.
He’ll run for term-limited Vice Mayor Paul Gibson’s seat, which has drawn the interest of another probable candidate in recent days.
Attorney Nathan Hightower 56, told the Tampa Bay Times in late July that he was eyeing both Gibson’s seat and that of Bill Jonson, an incumbent who has already drawn an announced opponent, contractor and Downtown Development Board chairman David Allbritton.
Hightower indicated that a two-person race for Gibson’s seat might be an easier path than a three-way race for Jonson’s spot.
Hamilton served on the City Council from 1999 to 2006. Hightower and Allbritton would be making their first runs for council.
The Hamilton family’s property on North Clearwater Beach has a 30-room hotel, but the parcel is big enough to redevelop into a 100-room facility. No developer has approached the family yet, but that might happen in the next several years, Hamilton said.
If a development opportunity does present itself, Hamilton said he would recuse himself from any deliberations or votes. A 100-room hotel would require about 40 rooms from the city’s hotel density reserve. That requires City Council approval.