Friday, January 19, 2018
News Roundup

Madeira Beach manager pitches plans to encourage development

MADEIRA BEACH — Less than three months into his new job, City Manager Shane Crawford is intent on making it clear the city is open for redevelopment.

He outlined various steps to achieve that goal at a recent City Commission workshop and stressed that the pending changes relating to development are policy decisions only the commission can approve.

As one of the first steps, Crawford is asking the commission to consider canceling the city's building services contract with Treasure Island, which now handles all permits and inspections for Madeira Beach — and collects all the fees.

"If we are going to be prodevelopment, I suggest we bring the permitting function back home," he told the commission. "Treasure Island has been doing a fine job, but we need to be in charge of our own destiny."

Crawford said at least four development projects totaling at least $4 million are about to be submitted for permitting, and will generate upward of $300,000 in permit fees.

On Tuesday, he said another option would involve Treasure Island renegotiating the contract to share permitting-related revenue with Madeira Beach.

Crawford is in the process of hiring a new city planner who could head a re-established community development department that could handle planning, permitting, building inspection and code enforcement.

The city used to have such a position, but after former Community Development Director Paula Cohen resigned in 2010 to take a job in Treasure Island, the post has remained vacant.

Crawford also wants the commission to consider passing four development-related ordinances the Planning Commission approved about a year ago.

One would create a new land use category, resort facility high, to attract hotels back into the city by allowing the commission to consider approving more rooms per acre than currently allowed.

Other changes relate to implementing planned developments and combining development density of contiguous properties.

The city's last major hotel, the 149-room Holiday Inn on Gulf Boulevard, shut its doors in 2004.

Although the city still has a number of mom-and-pop hotels, they are disappearing, too.

Over the past decade, the city has lost more than 200 tourist rooms. All were replaced by condominiums.

In 2005, the city hoped redevelopment of a 2.2-acre site on the mainland side of the Madeira Beach bridge would include a flagship hotel, but those plans never materialized and condominiums were built instead.

Now, a developer wants to build a Courtyard Marriott on American Legion Drive in nearly the same spot on the northeast mainland side of the Tom Stuart Causeway. The planned Marriott project requires some of the density provisions included in the pending four ordinances, according to Crawford.

In addition, a new Walgreens, a Wells Fargo bank and a new Gulf-front condominium are about to request building permits, he said.

Other developers have approached the city to explore how their projects would be viewed by officials and residents.

"This is still all pie in the sky, but developers are talking to us. Things are picking up and the pendulum is swinging the other way. The next few years are going to be exciting," Crawford said.

Further discussions about redevelopment policy are planned at another commission workshop on April 24.

Comments
Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

ST. PETERSBURG — Transportation planners are set to unveil a new transit vision for Tampa Bay leaders on Friday morning: Bus rapid transit.Also known as BRT, it has arisen as the leading option in an ongoing study to find the best regional transit pr...
Updated: 7 hours ago
What you need to know for Friday, Jan. 19

What you need to know for Friday, Jan. 19

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• Thankfully, the cold snap is over. Today’s temperature will rise into the 60s, according to 10Weather WTSP. And the weekend will be beautiful: Saturday and Sunday will both b...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Clearwater City Council candidate John Funk: City needs better planning

Clearwater City Council candidate John Funk: City needs better planning

CLEARWATER — Voters may not be too familiar with the name John Funk.So since launching his campaign for City Council Seat 5 against well-known incumbent Hoyt Hamilton, Funk said he has knocked on 2,000 doors to introduce himself. Before the March 13 ...
Published: 01/19/18
Clearwater City Council candidate Hoyt Hamilton: Experience is key for critical next term

Clearwater City Council candidate Hoyt Hamilton: Experience is key for critical next term

CLEARWATER — By asking voters to elect him into office a fifth time, Hoyt Hamilton knows he’s now considered part of the old-guard. Born and raised in Clearwater, his family roots stretch back here more than 100 years. Hamilton, 59, spent nearly his ...
Published: 01/19/18
Lightning falls to Golden Knights

Lightning falls to Golden Knights

TAMPA — The door to the Lightning dressing room remained closed a little longer than usual Thursday night, and that wasn’t surprising.After the kind of performance displayed in its 4-1 loss to the expansion Golden Knights, this had players-only meeti...
Updated: 1 hour ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 18

Thursday’s scoreboardGirls basketballNortheast 64, Largo 24Boys soccerIndian Rocks Chr. 3, Berkeley Prep 2Palm Harbor U. 7, Tarpon Springs 0Girls soccerCountryside 5, Pinellas Park 0Palm Harbor U. 5, Tarpon Springs 1...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Police presence at Martin Luther King Jr. Day after-party raises ire

Police presence at Martin Luther King Jr. Day after-party raises ire

ST. PETERSBURG — One after another, speakers stepped to the lectern at City Hall on Thursday and described the same image: police cruisers on every corner in Midtown, uniformed officers lined up across the roadway, souring what should have been a joy...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Tampa Bay record lows burst pipes, threaten berry and fish farms

Tampa Bay record lows burst pipes, threaten berry and fish farms

In winters past, when they ran the irrigation system at Parkesdale Farms to preserve the berry crop in a protective shell of ice, the icicles measured inches.But on Wednesday night, one of the coldest nights in years, the icicles hung more than a foo...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Will the third time be the charm for these Tampa Bay townhouses?

Will the third time be the charm for these Tampa Bay townhouses?

ST. PETERSBURG — In real estate circles, it would seem an odd match — 54 townhouses in an office park and a group of Realtors best known for selling luxury single-family homes in Snell Isle. Yet the Strickland Property Group is convinced it can do wh...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Crystal Lagoon planners cut the ribbon on a chilly day (w/video)

Crystal Lagoon planners cut the ribbon on a chilly day (w/video)

WESLEY CHAPEL — Mother Nature seems to have a way of putting a chill on one of the hottest amenities in residential real estate development.Members of the business community, elected officials and executives with Metro Development Group and Crystal L...
Updated: 11 hours ago