Thursday, June 21, 2018
News Roundup

Fight over Treasure Island development near John's Pass

TREASURE ISLAND — Residents came out in force Wednesday to express their opinions about a proposed ordinance aimed to shape redevelopment on the north end of the island near John's Pass.

Nearly 100 people packed commission chambers for a special meeting where the City Commission took a first look at the planned development ordinance, which has just received six months of vetting by the local planning agency.

Representatives from a group called Our Treasure Island! — formed to stop any increase in density or height in island developments — told commissioners they are opposed to the proposed ordinance.

"If you continue down this path, we will fight you every step of the way," said Kay Stimer, a Key Capri Condominium resident and member of the group.

Shelley Eckert, another Key Capri member, questioned whether "spot zoning" was involved in Greenleaf Capital's plans to redevelop about 10 acres of property including Gator's Cafe & Saloon.

She said the commission was "misleading the public" by saying no redevelopment proposal had been presented to the commission because some plans had been discussed with individual commissioners and city staff.

But Brent Von Horn, assistant general counsel for Greenleaf, told attendees that there are no firm development plans as yet.

"We are cleaning up Gator's and the marina, taking care of our property," he said. "We continue to watch and see what our options are."

An initial conceptual plan floated by the real estate arm of HCI Holdings included a 14-story and a 10-story building on property at John's Pass. The company has said more density and height would be needed if they were to build a $100 million to $150 million high-end resort.

City staff had proposed the idea of a special planned development district, which would allow developers of large projects more flexibility in design and layout, drainage, and traffic circulation.

Any proposal for buildings higher than five stories or with a density of more than 50 units per acre would have to be voted on in a referendum election.

Commissioner Alan Bildz said he had problems with the proposed ordinance since he thinks it would violate a new state law that prohibits a development order going before voters for approval.

But city attorney Maura Kiefer said she had researched the issue and said voters would be asked to vote on a "text amendment" or a development regulation, not a development order.

Several residents pointed out potential problems with traffic patterns and congestion in the north end. John Sahn, owner of Twins Inn & Apartments, said he wished the planned development district could be extended to include his property on the west side of Gulf Boulevard north of 126th Avenue.

If the planned development district is successful, City Manager Reid Silverboard said it could potentially be expanded to other areas.

Resident Heidi Horak said she thought not allowing greater height and density would result in "ugly and blocky" buildings under existing zoning regulations.

"You are going to scare off the development community and you are not going to get the results you want," she said.

The proposed ordinance was pushed ahead to a first reading, initially planned for the commission's Feb. 18 meeting.

Comments
Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

More than a year ago, Kevin Knox II stepped across the stage at the Straz Center to receive his high school diploma.On Thursday, the former Tampa Catholic standout was on basketball's biggest stage as he fulfilled his lifelong goal of playing in the ...
Updated: 4 minutes ago
Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

ST. PETERSBURG – Rookie 1B Jake Bauers has impressed at the plate and in the field since his June 7 promotion.Also, with his hustling on the bases."I knew he played hard; everybody said that at every level,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I di...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

The news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start the upcoming season likely means that the Bucs will have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in at quarterback for three crucial games.Fitzpatrick stepped in as a starter for three games last year when W...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Three-game suspension looms for Bucs QB Jameis Winston

Three-game suspension looms for Bucs QB Jameis Winston

TAMPA — The Bucs will open the upcoming season without the face of their franchise, as quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended three games by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy.Winston, 24, was accused of groping a ...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Plant City’s champion Al Berry, whose name shouted his passion, dead at 83

Plant City’s champion Al Berry, whose name shouted his passion, dead at 83

His name was Berry and berry was his passion — the strawberry that put his beloved Plant City on the map.Alfred "Al" Berry was born with the name, but he took on his role as chief promoter of Plant City through his four decades of work with the commu...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Suspect arrested in rapper XXXTentacion’s shooting death

Suspect arrested in rapper XXXTentacion’s shooting death

FORT LAUDERDALE — Authorities in Florida have arrested a suspect in the killing of rising rap star XXXTentacion, who was fatally shot in his luxury BMW electric car as he left an upscale motorcycle dealership.Dedrick Devonshay Williams, 22, of Pompan...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Pete police: Three lieutenants lied about their work hours

St. Pete police: Three lieutenants lied about their work hours

ST. PETERSBURG — Three lieutenants responsible for supervising the police officers who patrol the city were found to have been faking their work hours instead of showing up for duty on time.In some cases, the watch commanders submitted time sheets st...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Medal of Honor recipient tells teachers to push kids up, not out

Medal of Honor recipient tells teachers to push kids up, not out

Gary Littrell spent the first 17 years of his life in "survival mode." Then he joined the U.S. Army — twice — and was shipped off to Vietnam.Littrell was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor in 1973, for actions he took that saved lives.The award h...
Updated: 1 hour ago