Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Business

Madeira Beach, St. Pete Beach approve redevelopment

MADEIRA BEACH — Sharp political differences about future development in two of the county's largest beach communities were on vivid display Tuesday.

In Madeira Beach, a city of political turmoil just a few years ago, the City Commission quickly and proudly embraced new development regulations that it hopes will attract more hotels and restaurants to those already under construction.

In contrast, in St. Pete Beach, where there was more than a decade of political and legal wrangling over development rules, commissioners agonized and debated for hours on issues ranging from temporary commercial off-street parking to a possible new condo hotel.

Both decisions by the commissions on Tuesday ended up favoring redevelopment, but in Madeira Beach the process generated excitement, while in St. Pete Beach the seven-hour meeting ended in exhaustion with many unresolved issues.

Madeira Beach

It took the Madeira Beach commission only four minutes to create a new comprehensive plan land use category for higher-density hotels and set new standards for redevelopment of the city's downtown core.

With even more dispatch, the commission unanimously approved a process to allow density and intensity of development on related properties to be combined.

"You are a now a very, very progressive city that finds a way to make things happen and not just watch and let time pass us by," said City Manager Shane Crawford.

The actions follow prior decisions to build a new $10 million city hall, fire station and recreation complex as well as approve a brand new major hotel — both now under construction.

Mayor Travis Palladeno said a "rebirth of our city" would result from the commission's actions, including redevelopment the long-vacant site of the former Leverock's Restaurant on the Madeira Beach Causeway.

"I am excited to finally get this done," Commissioner Terry Lister said. "This is a strategy to promote redevelopment. It will make this a nice city and a wonderful place to live."

St. Pete Beach

In neighboring St. Pete Beach, commissioners agonized for hours over whether hoteliers could temporarily park employee and guest cars on vacant residential lots.

Two of the three pending temporary use applications were unanimously approved for six months.

A similar but more controversial request for a lot in the Punta Vista neighborhood included a barely veiled threat of legal action from the owner of the Sirata Beach Resort, who was eventually allowed to pull his application and given 60 days to continue using the lot while applying for a more permanent conditional use permit.

It nearly midnight when the St. Pete Beach commission finally got around to what should have been the star item on its agenda — the prospect of a major hotel redevelopment.

The owner of the 1950s-era beachfront Plaza Beach Resort wants to tear down his existing small motel, at 4506 Gulf Blvd., and rebuild a modern condo hotel.

After several hours of debate, the commission approved a variance allowing larger room square footage and 19 additional rooms from the city's density pool, allowed under its currently contested comprehensive plan.

Most of the new hotel's 66 proposed units would average about 900 square feet and include two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Most hotel rooms in the city are about 750 square feet.

Comments
Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

Following deaths from Irma, Florida looks to new rules for keeping nursing homes cool after outages

After national headlines and a public outcry over the deaths of 14 people at a Broward County nursing home after Hurricane Irma, nursing homes across the state are working to comply with new rules requiring them to have back-up power.But the process ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Yoshi — car maintenance that comes to you — launches in Tampa Bay

Yoshi — car maintenance that comes to you — launches in Tampa Bay

A California-based company that promises to bring limited on-site car maintenance directly to you — from an oil change to a fill-up — has picked Tampa Bay as its next pit stop."Anything that your car needs, we’re going to bring to you," said Nick Ale...
Published: 02/20/18
St. Petersburg set to rename main library after President Obama

St. Petersburg set to rename main library after President Obama

ST. PETERSBURG — Speaking in front of a small crowd gathered on the front lawn of the city’s main library, Mayor Rick Kriseman announced Monday that the facility will get a $6 million renovation and be renamed in honor of President Barack Obama.The a...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Sheriff’s undercover sting nabs 26 ‘brazen’ unlicensed contractors

Sheriff’s undercover sting nabs 26 ‘brazen’ unlicensed contractors

DUNEDIN –– Pinellas sheriff’s detectives spent their weekend luring in unlicensed electrical, plumbing and other home improvement contractors to a vacant home wired with cameras.It took only hours before a stream of people arrived to work on the outd...
Published: 02/19/18
Tampa Electric appeals OSHA citation for fatal Big Bend accident

Tampa Electric appeals OSHA citation for fatal Big Bend accident

TAMPA — Tampa Electric Co. is formally contesting the biting citation the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration handed down in December for a maintenance incident in June that left five workers dead.At a meeting with the Tampa Bay Tim...
Published: 02/19/18
On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

TAMPA — Columbia Restaurant owner Richard Gonzmart says he’s ready to put his checkbook where his heart is when it comes to supporting a Tampa Bay Rays move to Ybor City.So is the investment fund for the founding family of Ashley Furniture. So, it ap...
Published: 02/19/18
Epilogue: Tourism community remembers Paradise founder Cedar Hames

Epilogue: Tourism community remembers Paradise founder Cedar Hames

When Cedar Hames spoke, you listened.He was a natural storyteller, always dressed sharp to match his wit and natural elegance. He grew a two-person business in St. Petersburg into a leading tourism, advertising and marketing agency over an esteemed 3...
Published: 02/19/18
Report: Winn-Dixie parent company could close 200 stores

Report: Winn-Dixie parent company could close 200 stores

Bi-Lo LLC, a subsidiary of the same Jacksonville company that owns Winn-Dixie, could file for bankruptcy as soon as next month, according to a Bloomberg report.Parent company Southeastern Grocer is planning to shut down nearly 200 stores either befor...
Published: 02/19/18
New bus routes, times to start on Sunday in Hillsborough

New bus routes, times to start on Sunday in Hillsborough

TAMPA — More than a dozen bus routes in Hillsborough County will have new times, paths and stops starting Sunday.The changes come almost four months after the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority rolled out an entirely new bus network, scrapp...
Published: 02/19/18
The small gun shop that sold the weapon to the alleged high school shooter ‘closes indefinitely.’

The small gun shop that sold the weapon to the alleged high school shooter ‘closes indefinitely.’

The aftermath of the horrific mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has led to the closure of one small business.According to the Miami Herald, the owners of Sunrise Tactical Supply, the Coral Springs, Florida shop that auth...
Published: 02/19/18