Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

East Lake looks at two means to preserve its character, borders

EAST LAKE — Scenic neighborhoods. Small businesses. Ample places to boat and fish.

Those are some of the features East Lake residents want to preserve in their unincorporated community.

This week, neighborhood leaders showcased two key efforts to keep those features and to maintain the community's borders.

"We all have the same idea of why we moved here, and we want to preserve it," said John Little, a resident who attended the meeting held by the Council of North County Neighborhoods.

One of the efforts is a proposed state bill modeled after the "all or nothing" legislation passed in 2009 for Tierra Verde. It would require a city to annex all of East Lake, with voter approval, or none of it.

An attempt to pass a similar bill for East Lake, which has about 33,000 residents, failed in the state Legislature last year. But bill sponsor Rep. Peter Nehr, R-Tarpon Springs, said it has a better chance of passing this time because it allows voluntary annexation by property owners and includes a 10-year expiration provision.

Another effort spearheaded by neighborhood leaders is called a community overlay. It would define the East Lake Tarpon community's boundaries, which generally match the fire district boundaries, and outline policies to keep the community much the way it is today.

Council president Don Ewing said the overlay would help guide county leaders.

"It's your way of communicating and saying these are the parameters we want you to consider when you make decisions about our area," Ewing told more than 50 residents who attended Monday's meeting at Fire Station 57.

John Miolla, the council's first vice president, said the overlay has had strong community support. But he wants more feedback to make sure it encompasses the vision of the whole community.

The overlay basically summarizes the community's vision as a chiefly family-oriented residential area and some of its core values, such as preserving Brooker Creek Preserve and Lake Tarpon.

Little said he liked the idea of the overlay, but he questioned why it wasn't more specific.

Brian Smith, the county's planning director, Tuesday said framing objectives more broadly helps make overlays more inclusive.

"If you get it real detailed, everybody may not buy into it," Smith said.

There are a number community overlays throughout the county and so far three have been approved in unincorporated Pinellas, including Tierra Verde, Ozona and an area near Alderman and Belcher roads.

Smith said the purpose of overlays varies from community to community. For example, he said, parts of Ozona's overlay recognize the community's heritage, while Alderman's expresses the community's desire to stay mostly rural.

Neighborhood leaders plan to submit East Lake's overlay to the county planning department in April. After that, it will go to county commissioners and, if approved, it would be adopted into the comprehensive plan.

Lorri Helfand can be reached at or (727) 445-4155.

Where is East Lake Tarpon?

It's bordered by Pasco County on the north, Hillsborough County on the east, Lake Tarpon on the west, and Tampa Road and the city of Oldsmar on the south.

For more information

Want to learn more about the East Lake Tarpon community overlay plan or share your ideas? Contact John Miolla at or visit

East Lake looks at two means to preserve its character, borders 02/22/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 8:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. BREAKING: Tropical Storm Harvey forms in Atlantic


    UPDATE: At 5 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  2. Editorial: Pinellas should join lawsuit challenging new state law


    The Florida Legislature has been on a cynical, constitutionally dubious quest to render local school boards powerless. The most direct assault is a new state law that strips school boards of much of their authority when it comes to the creation and funding of charter schools. It's time for the Pinellas County School …

  3. Editorial: Fix funding unfairness in Florida foster care system


    Many of the children in Florida's foster care system already have been failed by their parents. The last thing these kids need is to be failed by bureaucracy, too, and yet that's exactly what appears to be happening because of a needlessly rigid funding formula set up by the Florida Legislature. Child welfare agencies …

    The Legislature may have had good intentions when it came up with the funding plan, but it’s obvious that there is some unfairness built into it. The funding may be complicated, but the goal is simple: Making sure every child in need gets the help he or she needs.
  4. After Charlottesville, Judy Genshaft asks USF to "stand together with open minds and open hearts"


    TAMPA — In a welcome letter celebrating the start of a new academic year, University of South Florida System President Judy Genshaft took a moment to reflect on last weekend's violence in Charlottesville and asked students to unite with "open minds and open hearts."

    USF president Judy Genshaft posed with graduate Matt Jackson in 2015.
  5. Police: Man arrested in Largo had thousands of child pornography files


    LARGO — A 43-year-old man was arrested Wednesday after detectives found thousands of child pornography images and videos on his laptop.

    Tyrone Jeffrey Russell, 43, was arrested Wednesday on child pornography charges, according to Largo police. [Pinellas County Jail]