Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

At neighbors' urging, Largo won't extend downtown redevelopment

People who own homes and businesses near Highland Avenue and East Bay Drive won their crusade to stay out of the city's latest plan to redevelop Bay Drive in downtown.

Last week, city commissioners voted unanimously against expanding the boundaries of the West Bay Drive redevelopment plan. The area of contention: 18.6 acres north of East Bay Drive from Fourth Street NE to Highland Avenue.

For two months, about a dozen people in and near the area voiced their concerns at city planning board meetings. Tuesday, several of them returned to City Hall to tell city leaders that building colossal structures in their neighborhood would increase traffic and ruin their peaceful way of life.

"We like the small-town feel," said neighbor Iris Merryweather. "This is where we choose to live."

"It sounds like a good thing as long as it's over on West Bay Drive, where it belongs," said another neighbor, Ross Jahren said.

Commissioner Woody Brown noted that many who lived in the area had been there a long time and didn't seem to have plans to sell.

"If we don't foresee development, why include it in the plan?" he asked.

Mayor Pat Gerard said there was plenty of work to do in the core of downtown.

After voting to exclude the controversial section, commissioners discussed the new plan, which would allow buildings up to eight stories in parts of downtown.

The boundaries of the redevelopment district generally run from west of the Pinellas Trail to Fourth Street NE, and span several blocks north and south of West Bay Drive.

Several business leaders urged city leaders to pass the plan soon.

"We need to see this go forward," said Largo/Mid-Pinellas Chamber of Commerce President Tom Morrissette. "We have to put the message out that we're ready to go."

Marty Shelby, a former Largo commissioner who lives just west of the redevelopment area, urged restraint. City leaders should take their time with the new plan to protect property owners who live outside the district, he said.

Commissioners questioned the clarity of some sections of the plan and asked the staff for revisions before their initial approval July 21.

At neighbors' urging, Largo won't extend downtown redevelopment 06/20/09 [Last modified: Saturday, June 20, 2009 12:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Diaz, Taddeo win easily in special Miami Senate primaries


    Two Miami state Senate candidates who raised and spent the most in their respective primaries — Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo — notched easy victories in a special election Tuesday night.

    Republican candidate Jose Felix Diaz is surrounded by supporters after he won the primary for Florida’s Senate District 40 race. Democrat Annette Taddeo, right, celebrates her victory with supporter Venus Lovely at BJ’s Restaurant in The Falls.
  3. In live debate, Kriseman and Baker ask St. Pete: Is the city better off?



    Mayoral candidates Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker made their best pitch to voters in front of a live television audience on Tuesday night. The candidates essentially asked this: Is the city better off now than it was four years ago?

    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience during the City of St. Petersburg Mayoral Debate at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg on Tuesday evening. The event was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. Romano: It all comes down to sewage in this mayoral race

    Local Government

    Well, poop.

    Nothing else really matters, does it?

    Schools, economic development, public safety? Pfft. The Rays stadium, affordable housing, the pier? Ack. When it comes to the St. Petersburg mayoral election, sewage is the yin, the yang and the yuck.

    At Tuesday’s debate, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman said responsibility lies on him regarding the sewage crisis.
  5. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.