Controversial Pinellas bus compound advances
The Pinellas School Board directed Wilcox and his staff to push ahead with preparations for a controversial north county bus compound at McMullen-Booth Road and State Road 580, but it is far from approving the plan, which includes a land swap with the City of Clearwater.
The district will conduct surveys and direct its architects to proceed with planning for the site. Plans include a 75-foot-wide buffer between the edge of the compound’s parking lot and the neighboring Briar Creek subdivision, where residents are opposed to the plan.
The buffer would include 10 to 15 feet of natural growth and a berm that would stretch the length of where homes bumps up against the site. The berm would be 25 feet wide and six feet high and would be constructed first, so vegetation would have a chance to grow before the facility opened.
Wilcox said his staff would continue to keep Briar Creek residents informed as planning progresses. The district normally would approve the project first and incur the architectural and survey costs later but is reversing the process “out of respect for the community,” he said. He added: “We’ve been unable to find any other land for this purpose.’’
-Tom Tobin, Pinellas schools reporter