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A Safety Harbor landowner says city plan for downtown redevelopment devalues his property

SAFETY HARBOR — William Turkali has filed a claim against the city for $350,000 and against the county for $50,000, which he says would give him the fair market value of his property.

He has long maintained that his 10,550-square-foot parcel at 315 S Bayshore Blvd. has been devalued by the city's expanded downtown redevelopment plan, which sought to give a tapered-down look along 1.4 acres of waterfront south of the site of Olympia Development's planned condos.

Since 1992, Turkali's land had been zoned retail, office and service, which would have allowed for lucrative development.

Because of the pending zoning change, a developer will be allowed to build no higher than 35 feet in the area now called Waterfront Village.

According to the Pinellas County Property Appraiser, the comparable sales value of Turkali's house is $398,800 — about half what he would have been able to sell it for before the zoning change, he has said.

With the claim, Turkali is putting the city on notice that he intends to file a lawsuit, said Mayor Andy Steingold.

"Is the city going to defend its position? Yes,'' Steingold said.

The city's insurance company has hired James L. Yacavone III, of Frazer Hubbard Brandt Trask & Yacavone, based in Dunedin, to represent it.

Yacavone did not return calls Tuesday to the St. Petersburg Times.

Turkali could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Last week, the Pinellas County Commission unanimously authorized an amendment to the countywide future land use map. The action allows the planning department to change zoning in the downtown master plan area.

"The county's approval puts us one step closer to reaching our goal of putting a new regulatory framework in place for the downtown by the end of this year,'' said Matt McLachlan, the city's community development director.

"It's been a long time getting to this point, but I think the extra effort will prove worthwhile.''

The City Commission is set Aug. 3 to adopt the plan.

"We're moving forward as scheduled,'' said City Manager Matt Spoor.

Eileen Schulte can be reached at schulte@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4153.

A Safety Harbor landowner says city plan for downtown redevelopment devalues his property 07/14/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 9:03pm]
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