Webb's Nursery site is rezoned
A developer's proposal to convert a longtime nursery in the northeast part of the city to an apartment complex has passed its first hurdle.
On Thursday, the City Council unanimously approved an annexation, land use and zoning change for nearly 24 acres currently occupied by Webb's Nursery near the intersection of Belcher and Montclair roads. The approvals clear the way for development of up to 237 apartments on the site.
Residents of the nearby On Top of the World retirement community voiced concerns about creating additional traffic in the area, but a traffic study reviewed by the city's planning staff determined that additional traffic at peak hours would average about one more vehicle per minute.
Commercial development wouldn't be allowed on the land.
Cyndi Tarapani, a land-use consultant and former Clearwater planning director, said the city needs more housing, since its population was projected to grow by about 14,000 residents between 2005 and 2025.
But not much open land remains in the city of 108,000. Just 40 acres of vacant residential land are available, she said.
The apartment proposal is still being developed. No site plan has been submitted to the city.
Middle school, elementary school get new principals
Two North Pinellas public schools got new principals last week, following action by the Pinellas County School Board.
Linda Burris, assistant principal at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School in St. Petersburg, was named principal of Clearwater Fundamental Middle School. She replaces David Rosenberger, who now heads Pinellas Park Middle School. She began her career in Pinellas County schools in 1997 and has been an exceptional student education teacher at John Hopkins Middle School and Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School.
Antonette Wilson, assistant principal at Leila Davis Elementary School, was named principal of Eisenhower Elementary School in Clearwater. She replaces Sandra Downes, who was appointed executive director of elementary education for the district. Wilson began her career in Pinellas County schools in 2001 and has served as a classroom teacher at Ridgecrest Elementary and an elementary curriculum specialist at Curtis Fundamental Elementary School.
Bored teens aside, crime holds steady
Aside from the usual summer uptick in mischief by teens, crime in Dunedin has held steady, Pinellas County sheriff's deputies told city commissioners during their quarterly crime update Thursday night.
In recent weeks, deputies have arrested teens responsible for a rash of bicycle thefts and mailbox destructions, Capt. Glenn Luben said. Deputies, who are also combatting a bump in car burglaries, urged residents to lock their bikes and vehicles.
"It's a small minority of juveniles who are committing the crimes. ... It's no different than any other summer and we're on top of it," said Deputy W. Spencer Gross, who attributed the mischief to teen boredom.
City commissioners reminded residents that Dunedin's library and parks department host multiple camps and other activities for youngsters. Call parks staff at (727) 812-4531 and the library at (727) 298-3080.
Award-winning singer given key to the city
At their meeting Thursday, city commissioners proclaimed the day Lari White Day, in honor of Grammy-winning country singer and Dunedin High graduate Lari White. They also gave her a key to the city.
White, in town for Dunedin High's Class of 1983 reunion, stood with her husband (songwriter Chuck Cannon), three children and parents (who still live in Dunedin) as fellow classmate and City Commissioner Julie Ward Bujalski read a proclamation outlining White's accomplishments.
"All of us have gone on to do great things ... but it's so nice to recognize the overachievers," Bujalski said.
Of all the awards she has received, White said, "nothing is more of a treasure to me than this right here — a key to this city. I feel so fortunate I was able to grow up in such a warm, loving, safe, beautiful community that I still call home."
Pipe band concert, pub crawl Saturday
The Dunedin Pipe Band hosts its first evening concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at John R. Lawrence Pioneer Park, 420 Main St. in downtown Dunedin. The concert will be followed by a pub crawl to Kelly's/Chic-a-boom, Dunedin Smokehouse and Flanagan's Irish Pub.
Advance tickets for the pub crawl can be purchased from the Lothian Kilt Rentals & Bagpipe Supplies shop at 1570 Main St., across from Publix. They cost $20 each and include one free drink at each location, $1 off of drinks all night at Flanagan's and a $5 discount off new DPB T-shirts the band will sell at the concert.
Visit cityofdunedinpipeband.com for more information.