Make us your home page

Lakewood Estates residents also concerned about townhouses proposed near Boyd Hill

ST. PETERSBURG — First it was the Friends of Boyd Hill. Now some Lakewood Estates residents have come out against the 115 townhomes proposed for a swath of land near the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve.

About 60 Lakewood homeowners attended a recent meeting with officials from St. Petersburg Country Club, which owns the land, and the homebuilder who hopes to buy it and build the townhome project. They took many heated questions and complaints for more than 90 minutes.

Residents are worried about traffic, property values, ruined views, maintenance, a lack of demand for the new and existing homes and the impact on Boyd Hill Nature Preserve.

The plan calls for the townhouses to go on 8 acres along the first three holes of the golf course facing the nature preserve.

Josh Gregoire bought his house on Fairway Avenue a year ago because it looked over the golf course to the preserve.

"I paid for that view. Now I'm going to have to look at the backs of these houses. I'm not going to benefit from this," he said.

Longtime resident Paul Lambert doesn't live adjacent to the proposed homes, but he is worried about living near a construction zone.

"Isn't our view going to be degraded? I'm going to see this mess coming down the road for five to six years. I don't see how that's going to improve our property values, or our view or the environment," he said.

St. Petersburg Country Club president Mike Kiernan started the meeting by saying the club didn't want to sell land but needed to for financial reasons.

When he signed on as president three years ago, he said, he learned the club wasn't able to meet payroll for its 65 full- and part-time employees. It's also behind on property tax payments. Restructuring debt with its banks and hiring a golf club management company has helped, he said.

"The short-term situation has stabilized. But we've got a ton of capital improvements we need to take care of, starting with the roof," Kiernan said. "We don't see any alternative to" selling land.

Several residents voiced understanding that if the club goes downhill it will impact them much worse than the townhomes would. Others said they understand this development needs to happen but wondered why the developer, Taylor Morrison, couldn't build fewer, bigger single family homes or at least have the townhouses face existing homes.

Devin Rushnell, a Taylor Morrison vice president, said the lots are too shallow to build larger homes priced at $400,000 or more. The proposed homes would be around 1,800 square feet and start at $200,000

"I believe we'll start at that base and go up. Our company is betting millions of dollars this is going to be successful," he said. He assured residents there is strong demand for new homes on a golf course in Pinellas County, which has so little vacant land.

The townhouses would be governed by a homeowners association that would collect dues for landscaping and all other exterior upkeep, he added.

The club board will have input on what the homes look like, Kiernan said.

"We don't have any plans to go anywhere. Whatever happens here we have to live with it, too," he said.

"Do the residents get to decide what they want to look at?" asked Celeste Nesbitt, 44, who has lived in Lakewood Estates since she was a child. Her home will face the back of the townhomes. "I'm getting the feeling the residents can like it or lump it."

At an earlier meeting with the Friends of Boyd Hill, the group unanimously voted against the development. Environmental consultant George Heinrich said the increased traffic and noise will hurt three already vulnerable inhabitants of the preserve: the gopher tortoise, eastern indigo snake and fox squirrel.

Before any construction can happen, the city must vacate a right of way it controls for a road that was never built. Rushnell estimated City Council would vote on that in November.

Kiernan stressed the club and developer will do all they can to minimize impact on nature's residents and Lakewood Estates homeowners. There will be more meetings to gather input.

"We simply have no choice but to do this," he said. "This will help us sustain our long-term needs."

Lakewood Estates residents also concerned about townhouses proposed near Boyd Hill 06/29/13 [Last modified: Friday, June 28, 2013 4:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Exploratory Lab Boot Camp provides real-life technology training to students


    CLEARWATER — At this graduation ceremony featuring some of the brightest local minds in tech, it was the youngsters who stood out.

    Laszo Leedy, 17, a senior at Shorecrest Prep, presents part of his team's project for SPC's Exploratory Lab Boot Camp. Students presented their ideas at the end of the SPC Exploratory Lab Boot Camp. The program provides real-time business training to students. This year's graduation celebrated 15 students that finished the program. 
[JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  2. Appointments at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay and World of Beer highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Tampa Bay Watch, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the marine and wetland environments of the Tampa Bay estuary, has announced two new employees. Pamela Arbisi is the new development director. Her responsibilities include …

    Scott Bendert has joined the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay as the non-profit organization's Chief Financial Officer. [Company handout]
  3. Tampa's Homeowners Choice seeks to offer flood insurance in other states


    Tampa-based insurance company HCI Group Inc.'s subsidiaries are trying to expand their flood insurance offerings beyond Florida. HCI has filed with regulators to offer flood coverage in Arkansas, California, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

    Tampa-based HCI Group is trying to expand its flood insurance offerings to other states. Pictured is Paresh Patel, CEO of HCI Group. | [Courtesy of HCI Group]
  4. Home of Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman hits market at $3.45 million

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman is back on the market for $3.45 million after a brief hiatus.

    The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman is on the market for $3.45 million. [Courtesy of Hi Res Media]
  5. Trigaux: Halfway through 2017, a closer look at six drivers of the Tampa Bay economy


    We're nearly halfway through 2017 already, a perfect time to step back from the daily grind of business and ask: How's Tampa Bay's economy doing?

    Is there one theme or idea that captures the Tampa Bay brand? Not really but here's one possibility. The fun-loving annual Gasparilla "Invasion" of Tampa is captured in this photo of 
The Jose Gasparilla loaded with pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla on its way this past January to the Tampa Convention Center. In the future a vibrant downtown Tampa or St. Petersburg may be the better theme. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]