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Testimony begins in appeal of vote against Safety Harbor apartments

Developers want to build a new apartment complex on the site of the old Firmenich Citrus Center, a 34-acre property east of the northeast corner of State Road 590 and McMullen-Booth Road in Safety Harbor.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Developers want to build a new apartment complex on the site of the old Firmenich Citrus Center, a 34-acre property east of the northeast corner of State Road 590 and McMullen-Booth Road in Safety Harbor.

CLEARWATER — A state administrative law judge heard four hours of testimony Tuesday in a developer's appeal of a Pinellas County Commission decision to block a proposed luxury apartment complex in Safety Harbor opposed by neighbors.

In May commissioners voted against the proposed 246-unit complex at the defunct Firmenich Citrus Center on State Road 590. It had been approved by Safety Harbor commissioners.

County commissioners said they wanted to retain industrially-zoned land to prevent Pinellas County from becoming a "bedroom community."

Witnesses included Robert Pergolizzi, a consultant for developer the Richman Group. He said the company made multiple changes to the plan to try to appease neighbors.

Real estate agent Scott Cullen, who is marketing the site for the property owners, said he has advertised the site to 5,000 potential buyers for more than five years. Of the nine offers he has received, he said most wanted to build supermarkets or residential developments. He argued the property is not appropriate for industrial use.

Testimony will continue Wednesday starting at 8:30 a.m. on the fourth floor of the Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court St.

Testimony begins in appeal of vote against Safety Harbor apartments 08/27/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 6:19pm]
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