Trash disposal and recycling goes high-tech on city streets
The city has begun installing 34 high-tech trash and recycling kiosks in Clearwater Beach and downtown to capture trash discarded by beach patrons and downtown workers.
The kiosks, which have Wi-Fi capability to alert city garbage crews when they are full, also have solar compactors.
The technology makes the kiosks an efficient way to capture trash and recycables in public spaces, said Kattrina D. Miller, a city recycling specialist.
"It's designed to give our beach and downtown patrons in high-traffic areas a way to dispose of their trash or recycables without lugging it to their home or hotel," Miller said.
The kiosks represent the first public-space recycling to be offered by the city.
State laws enacted in 2008 and 2010 established a statewide recycling goal of a 75 percent reduction in the amount of waste going to landfills by 2020. The kiosks are part of the city's effort to help Pinellas County meet that goal, Miller said.
The kiosks cost $189,414 and were being installed along Mandalay Avenue late last week.
Marina revisits expansion options
A project to add 200 dry boat slips and 14 new wet slips to an existing 66-slip marina on the Intracoastal Waterway just north of downtown was rejected last month by the Clearwater Community Development Board after city planners said it wasn't an appropriate use for the neighborhood around the 900 block of N Osceola Avenue.
During last week's CDB meeting, Todd Pressman, representative for Clearwater Basin Marina LLC, argued that the board had been misled during that July meeting by Mark Parry, a city planner. Pressman asked the board to reconsider.
But the board unanimously denied that request after hearing from Parry, who said such a large expansion of the existing marina wouldn't comply with the "limited neighborhood commercial use" called for in the city's downtown development plan.
So Clearwater Basin Marina LLC will submit a new scaled-back plan, Pressman said last week, but will also keep its appeal of the board's July ruling to the state Division of Administrative Hearings on the "back burner."
Pressman said his understanding was that a state hearing officer would wait to see if the city and the developer could work things out before acting on the appeal.
New plans are typically submitted at the beginning of each month, said city planning director Michael Delk.
Court to take up apartments issue
A controversial luxury apartment complex proposed for Safety Harbor is up for debate again, this time in front of an administrative law judge.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, attorneys are scheduled to meet at the Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court St., to argue whether the County Commission was right to strike down plans for the apartments at the site of the defunct Firmenich citrus plant on State Road 590 at McMullen-Booth Road.
Hearings start at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and are scheduled to continue all day Wednesday on the courthouse's fourth floor.
The Richman Group, the West Palm Beach developers behind the project, appealed the County Commission's decision against the needed zoning change, citing the distress of the neighbors about the apartments and other factors.
Safety Harbor's City Commission had already given the green light to the project after months of debate.
Administrative Law Judge Bram Canter's decision will likely be the final call on whether the proposed complex can proceed.
Learn about planned code, zoning changes
Residents are invited to learn about proposed city code and zoning changes aimed at boosting development along several of Dunedin's main corridors. City staff will host two presentations a day — noon-1:30 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m. — on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road.
Tuesday's presentations will focus on Patricia Avenue, Douglas Avenue and the Dunedin Causeway. The State Road 580 corridor will be the focus on Wednesday. The city will address properties outside these corridors on Thursday.
Residents who can't attend the meeting for their specific area may sit in on one of the others. Please RSVP at (727) 298-2755. Refreshments will be served.
Historical Society is seeking old street maps
The Palm Harbor Historical Society is looking for donations of old Pinellas County or Palm Harbor street maps, especially maps produced after World War II. These were fold-up maps usually kept in vehicle glove compartments and often given away by businesses or chambers of commerce.
The maps will be used as part of a forthcoming visual history of Palm Harbor so the community can understand the rapid changes that began in the early 1950s as citrus groves were eliminated to make room for subdivisions. The first new subdivisions were on the west side of Lake Tarpon and along the gulf.
If you have a map to donate, call Tom Rose at (727) 772-1097 so he can pick it up. Or maps can be dropped off at the Palm Harbor Museum on the corner of Belcher and Curlew roads between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
Fire team frees kitten stuck in car's wheel well
On Wednesday morning Tara Peterson was driving to work at West Coast Radiology on U.S. 19 in Palm Harbor when she heard a noise coming from the vents of her air conditioner.
After she arrived, her coworkers helped her find the source of the racket: a kitten stuck in the front wheel well on the passenger side of the car. But try as they might, they couldn't pull the kitten out.
Help came riding in on a fire truck. Palm Harbor fire Lt. Jason Haynes and firefighter/paramedics Doug Zimmerman and Mike Ross had to partly dismantle the vehicle to get to the kitten, which was meowing for help.
The operation took about 30 minutes. The gray and white kitten was fine and was turned over to Peterson.