Commission votes to keep city trolley
The city trolley is safe, at least for now. Tarpon Springs city commissioners voted unanimously last week to enter into a one-year service agreement with Escot Bus Lines of Largo. The trolley, which has operated at a deficit since its inception in 2002, ferries riders between downtown and the Sponge Docks. City staff estimated the new deal will increase the annual deficit to $43,600 from $23,000. Commissioners said they would revisit the matter in the next 30 days, which is the time limit to cancel the contract. Commissioners also debated various ways to generate revenue, including raising fares or adding stops at destinations such as local parks.
Attorney appeals spa renovation
The attorney for three Belleair residents who opposed certain plans to rehab the historic Belleview Biltmore Resort & Spa filed an appeal against the town's May 20 decision in Pinellas County Circuit Court, asking that it be overturned. In a 34-page petition, Clearwater-based lawyer Alan Zimmet said the Town Commission, when it granted the developer a number of variances, violated its own code. Zimmet says the hotel's spa is much taller than the ordinance allows and that it, and its parking garage, are too close to his clients' property. He said the business will cause noise and create more traffic for nearby homes and condominiums. Zimmet also says his side didn't get the same amount of time supporters of the $100-million project did to argue its case.
Sheriff to discuss impact of cuts
Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats has been invited to a public meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday to talk about how recent proposed cuts to the budget would affect the communities of Crystal Beach, Ozona, Palm Harbor and East Lake. The program will be at the Palm Harbor Community Activity Center, 1500 16th St. The proposed cuts would eliminate the community policing unit in Palm Harbor and East Lake, traffic patrols for north Pinellas County and the DUI unit throughout the county. The program is sponsored by the Palm Harbor Community Coalition. For more information, call Jim Kleyman at (727) 798-6645 or visit www.palmharborcoalition.org.
City fills director of planning job
The city has hired a new director of planning and development services, filling the opening left by the retirement of Kevin Campbell in December. Gregory A. Rice was selected from a group of 19 finalists. He is the director of planning and community development for Ashland, Ky., and starts in Dunedin on July 7. He has experience in the public and private sectors, and he wants to be an "economic development ambassador" for the city.
Building's owners get zoning change
The Dunedin City Commission approved a zoning change of the rusty metal structure at 940 Douglas Ave. on its second and final reading. That means the property is now in the downtown core district. The owners of the building, Keller-Angelillis Design and Manufacturing Inc., plan to demolish the structure. They said the change makes the site more appealing to buyers and allows it to be used for a variety of businesses.