Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater City Council split 3 ways on beach parking

CLEARWATER — Where exactly do you put a public parking garage on the tourist mecca of south Clearwater Beach? This tricky question has bedeviled the City Council for some time now, offering new twists and turns month after month.

Council members are growing impatient. Another spring break has come and gone without enough parking on the beach, and they're getting frustrated at the lack of progress.

But they're divided. On Monday, three viewpoints emerged on the five-member council, with three different sites being championed. Council members are planning to vote at their meeting Thursday night, but it's looking doubtful that any location will win three out of five votes at this time.

John Doran and Carlen Petersen favor building a garage at the Clearwater Municipal Marina.

Paul Gibson and George Cretekos would add levels to the city's waterfront parking lot at the south end of the beach next to where the Adam's Mark hotel once stood.

And Mayor Frank Hibbard prefers the site of the Britt's restaurant along the BeachWalk promenade just south of the Hyatt Aqualea Resort.

"All of the sites are imperfect," Hibbard said. "To me right now, Britt's is the least imperfect."

In their quest to build a beach garage, city officials have been negotiating with various property owners for months, trying to make sure Clearwater doesn't get a raw deal. An update on those negotiations Monday sparked a vigorous debate at a City Council work session.

Britt's: City leaders like this location because beachgoers could park near the sand and not have to walk across Coronado Drive. But a potential deal with Surf Style Retail Management, owner of the Britt's site, has run into complications.

Surf Style would build a six-floor, 500-space garage rising above a bottom floor of 30,000 square feet of retail space. But it recently learned it will need federal permission to build on the ground level in a flood zone. It will likely have to put a protective sand dune in front of its property, similar to the dunes that are in front of the Aqualea Resort.

Just getting permission could take six to eight months, which is making the City Council think twice.

The marina: Doran proposed building a garage in the marina's parking lot. Some have suggested that drivers might have trouble getting in and out of a garage so near the Beach Roundabout, and they worry about hindering beach traffic. But Doran said engineers and architects could solve any potential problems. "I'm tired of waiting," he said.

However, Hibbard doubts that's really a quick fix. He doesn't think the city could build that garage without redeveloping the marina property, and many businesses inside the city's marina have leases.

Adam's Mark: Gibson and Cretekos argued for building on the parking lot next to the Adam's Mark site on S Gulfview Boulevard. The city owns it, and beachgoers could park without dodging traffic, they said.

However, the other three council members oppose putting a garage on the waterfront. Hibbard said gulf views from the road are part of what makes Clearwater different from other Pinellas beaches.

"You can drive from Clearwater Beach all the way down to Pass-a-Grille," he said. "After you leave Sand Key, it's hard to even know that there's water over on your right as you head south."

Gibson argued that a parking structure would only block about 40 feet of beach view, with much of the garage bordering Clearwater Pass instead of the beach. Other council members questioned that.

Cretekos said there's no water view at that spot anyway, but a rooftop deck on a garage would provide one.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at or (727) 445-4160.

Clearwater City Council split 3 ways on beach parking 05/04/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 4, 2009 8:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 20: 'This is Camino' sums up pretty much anything and everything when you take this journey


    Day 20: Puente Villarente to León: 12 km, 3 hours. Total for Days 1-20 = 465 km (289 miles)

  2. From the food editor: Three ways to curb your red meat cravings


    After a certain point in my life, it became a reliable joke at the house of one my best friends: Michelle loves meat.

  3. HomeTeam 100: Players 41-50


    Bulldog QB Charles Harrison III, (12) during the fourth quarter of the Zephyrhills at Nature Coast High School football game on Friday, 11/11/16.
  4. For Dunkirk veteran, movie brings back different memories

    Human Interest

    Movies like the World War II epic Dunkirk are popular escapes from reality.

    Fred Clutterbuck poses for a photo in front of the "Dunkirk" movie poster at the Cobb Theatre in Tyrone on Friday. Clutterback is a survivor of the Dunkirk evacuation. (EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times)
  5. Coquina Key Neighborhood Association to hold forum for District 6 council candidates

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Coquina Key Neighborhood Association is inviting residents to meet the crowded field of candidates running for St. Petersburg's City Council District 6 at a forum Monday evening.

    International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement-affiliated City Council candidate Eritha "Akile" Cainion pauses between answers during a forum at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront earlier this month. The Coquina Key Neighborhood Association plans to hold another forum on Monday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Coquina Key Neighborhood Association Clubhouse, 3850 Pompano Drive SE. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]