Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater council argues over proposed beach hotel

CLEARWATER — Tonight, a divided City Council will decide whether to approve the construction of a new 15-story hotel on the south end of Clearwater Beach.

The proposed Hampton Inn & Suites would have 116 hotel rooms on 10 floors over five levels of parking. It would rise up on a site that's currently a parking lot between a Quality Hotel and an EconoLodge on S Gulfview Boulevard, on Clearwater Pass not far from the Sand Key Bridge.

It's anyone's guess which way tonight's vote will go. The subject of the Hampton Inn led to sharp disagreements between council members at a work session Tuesday.

Mayor George Cretekos and Vice Mayor Paul Gibson aren't fond of the plan.

Cretekos thinks the 150-foot-tall hotel would be too big for the 0.8-acre site, repeatedly comparing it to "putting 10 pounds of flour in a five-pound bag."

"It's going to be a towering structure on a narrow piece of land on a relatively small highway," added Gibson. "I would like to see this property redeveloped, but I've got some concerns about whether this is the right way to redevelop it."

Both men worry about overloading the beach, because they're quite familiar with beach traffic — Cretekos lives on Sand Key, Gibson on north Clearwater Beach.

However, council member Jay Polglaze told them that their personal views shouldn't matter in this case. He said he supports the hotel because city planners and the city's Community Development Board recommended that it be approved. The plan complies with city codes, and a study predicted the hotel would have little impact on traffic.

"You move next to an airport, you're going to hear airplanes. You live in Clearwater Beach, Sand Key, St. Pete Beach or Madeira Beach, you know what you're getting into when you move there. That is our driver, that is our economic engine," Polglaze said. "I don't see the City Council as having that type of authority, that we should make a decision on density based on emotional personal preference."

Cretekos and Gibson responded that they were elected to make legislative decisions. They had City Attorney Pam Akin explain that the development board is a quasi-judicial body that reviews whether a project meets code, while the City Council is a legislative body that's deciding whether to grant additional hotel rooms to the developer.

Clearwater allows beach hotel developers who meet certain conditions to draw units from a pool of extra rooms, building more rooms than they otherwise could per acre.

"I'm not speaking from emotion. I'm trying to do what is right just as you are trying to do what is right for the city of Clearwater," Cretekos told Polglaze. "I haven't stated how I'm going to vote. I have stated that I would be much more supportive of this project if it were one building instead of two."

The Hampton Inn will be paired with the existing five-story Quality Hotel next door at 655 S Gulfview Blvd. The Hampton would be built on the current Quality Hotel parking lot. The two hotels would have the same owner and would share the Hampton's 245-space parking garage.

The owner, Clearwater Grande Development, is asking the city to split its 1.4-acre Quality Hotel property into two parcels for the project so it can qualify for up to 136 extra rooms from the density pool rather than just 100.

The proposed 116-room Hampton Inn on 0.8 acre is asking for 76 of those extra rooms.

No new construction is planned at the 91-room Quality Hotel, but if the property split leaves it with only 0.6 acre, it will have too many rooms for the size of its property and will violate the city zoning code.

To fix that potential violation, the developer is asking the city to award the Quality Hotel 60 extra rooms from the density pool, giving it a way out of the zoning code problem.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4151. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

. If you go

Clearwater City Council

When: 6 p.m. today

Where: City Hall, 112 S Osceola Ave.

On the Web: myclearwater.com

On TV: Bright House channel 615, Knology channel 15, Verizon channel 30

Clearwater council argues over proposed beach hotel 02/20/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Dirk Koetter, not Jameis Winston, has to make the call

    Blogs

    “Touchdown” Tom Jones, the best Bucs columnist in town, htook it to the house Tuesday when he wrote that Jameis Winston should do the right thing and take a seat if he’s not perfectly healthy to play at Buffalo.

    Dirk Koetter and Jameis Winston
  2. This is no time for Jameis Winston to play hero

    Bucs

    Don't be a hero, Jameis.

    Do the right thing. Do what's best.

     Quarterback Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sits on the bench during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 15, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) 700070683
  3. NBA off and running to its usual ending

    Blogs

    The NBA season began Tuesday night.

    It ends in June.

    Call me when the Warriors win.

    True, there was news Tuesday night, bad news, grisly news, as Celtics small forward and newcomer Gordon Hayward dislocated his ankle and broke his tibia in a look-away injury early in Boston’s opener at LeBron.

    Golden State's Steph Curry drives on the Houston Rockets on NBA Opening Night
  4. It's time for the Dodgers to be back in the World Series

    Blogs

    It’s hard to believe that it’s been 29 years since the Los Angeles Dodgers made the World Series. That’s far too long. I still remember being at Chavez Ravine for the 1988 World Series, watching Kirk Gibson homer into the right field stands to beat the Oakland A’s in Game 1.

    Been a long …

    The Los Angeles Dodgers congratulate each other after beating the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series
  5. Kenny Chesney coming to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

    Blogs

    Used to be you could set your watch to a Kenny Chesney concert at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium.