Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Deal in works to limit growth for Coconut Inn in Pass-a-Grille

The Coconut Inn wants to rezone its adjoining land that sits in a mostly residential neighborhood.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times (2009)

The Coconut Inn wants to rezone its adjoining land that sits in a mostly residential neighborhood.

ST. PETE BEACH — A compromise may be in the works for a controversial rezoning application that would protect the Coconut Inn's ability to rebuild in the future.

Owner Joe Caruso wants the city to grant the Traditional Hotel District zoning, a special category established several years ago to preserve small hotels on Pass-a-Grille.

A year ago, amid sharp opposition from nearby residents, the city rejected Caruso's rezoning application.

Caruso waited more than a year to resubmit the same request only to have it rejected by the city's Planning Board last month, again because of opposition from neighboring home owners.

Many of those residents showed up at Tuesday's commission meeting to protest the rezoning and a land use change that rezoning would require.

After hours of debate and testimony, the commission backed off making a final decision.

On the recommendation of its attorney, Suzanne Van Wyk, the commission allowed Caruso to negotiate a special development agreement to limit development on a now vacant lot behind the hotel while providing "meaningful" projections for the hotel to redevelop in the future.

Caruso said he would agree to restricting redevelopment on the back lot to recreational uses only, unless the hotel were catastrophically destroyed. He also offered to build an 8-foot wall as a noise barrier.

The final agreement would be binding on Caruso or any future owner of the property.

The Coconut Inn is at 113 11th Ave. and is surrounded by residential homes.

The hotel uses a second adjoining lot that fronts on 12th Avenue for parking. Residents are particularly opposed to commercial structures on that lot.

Caruso's attorney, Jackson Bowman, warned there would be a lawsuit if the commission denied the rezoning and land use change.

Several residents opposed to Caruso's request were represented by attorney David Bacon.

"Whatever decision the commission makes, you will have a lawsuit," Van Wyk told the commission at one point.

Deal in works to limit growth for Coconut Inn in Pass-a-Grille 05/14/11 [Last modified: Friday, May 13, 2011 5:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays morning after:Matt Andriese trying to put good finish on injury-marred season


    RHP Matt Andriese can't make up for the 2 1/2 months he missed due to a hip injury this season after getting off to a solid 5-1, 3.54 start.

    But he can use his last few outings to remind the Rays, and himself, of how good he can be.
    He did it the hard way Thursday, allowing three runs as four of the …

  2. Trigaux: Tampa Bay household income tops $50,000 but still makes us look poor

    Personal Finance

    The good news is Tampa Bay's median household income finally crawled above $50,000 last year. The bad news is that figure — officially $51,115 by new U.S. Census Bureau data — still puts the Tampa Bay region as the poorest of the nation's 25 largest metro areas.

    Tampa Bay still has the lowest median household income among the 25 most populous metro areas, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
  3. Oh, Florida! Irma's gone, but she left behind plenty of lessons for us


    I don't want to make light of the misery and death that Hurricane Irma inflicted on Florida this month. A lot of it was ugly, and some of it was downright criminal. We saw greed and pettiness on …

    A Fort Myers woman who'd recently undergone a double-organ transplant painted a sign that said, "HOT SINGLE FEMALE SEEKS SEXY LINEMAN TO ELECTRIFY HER LIFE" and sure enough, she got her power turned back on. [Photo from video]
  4. Florida education news: Makeup days, accountability, charter schools and more


    MAKEUP DAYS: The Pasco County school district alters the daily schedule of 11 schools to make up teaching time missed because of Hurricane Irma, avoiding the …

    With students back in school after Hurricane Irma, schools across Florida begin scheduling makeup days for missed classroom time.
  5. How visiting a scenic Cuban resort can help save green sea turtles


    The Florida Aquarium has been collaborating with Cuba's National Aquarium since 2015 to help save coral dying throughout Caribbean waters.

    The beaches of Cuba's Cayo Largo are home to a large population of green sea turtle nests. The Florida Aquarium will lead eco-tours of Cayo Largo next year that will help protect the turtles and fund research.  [Avalon Outdoor]