Thursday, April 19, 2018
News Roundup

Madeira Beach commission will consider Marriott rezoning request

MADEIRA BEACH — The commission will consider a number of actions Tuesday that are expected to move the city forward toward redevelopment and revitalization.

Developers are seeking rezoning approval for a new Courtyard Marriott hotel, the first in many years and a leading indicator of a better economic future for this beach community.

The proposed Courtyard Marriott would be on waterfront property on the north side of American Legion Drive, just east of the American Legion post and behind McDonald's and Publix, which both face the mainland side of the Tom Stuart Causeway.

Previously, the commission changed its zoning codes to strengthen its planned development rules, allowing the city to negotiate site plans and construction and design criteria with developers.

Initial designs for the Marriott project call for a four-story building (current codes allow only three stories) and an overall height that would exceed code limits by about 3 feet.

The hotel would have 90 rooms, a restaurant primarily for guest use, a small meeting room, an outside swimming pool, jacuzzi, and outdoor seating at an outside bar.

In a related move Tuesday, the commission is also expected to ask its planning commission to review a proposal that would ease zoning criteria for businesses and residents who need variances to the city's codes.

If eventually approved, the new criteria would address development issues affecting substandard or irregularly shaped lots, establish historic neighborhood characteristics, and establish regulations affecting the development of public facilities, parks and utilities.

"(This) can provide some measure of flexibility in those areas the community finds warrant such consideration," said Community Development Director Lynn Rosetti, who said the city's current variance rules are too restrictive.

Last week, the commission authorized City Manager Shane Crawford to tear down the aging and deteriorating public works building near the city marina.

"The existing facility needs to go away," Crawford said. "It is literally falling down and somebody is going to get hurt."

Crawford said if the commission decides to replace the building with a structure to house garbage trucks and other city vehicles, it could later be transformed into a high-and-dry boat storage facility.

With increased development expected in the coming year, the city also is considering changing how its building inspections are done.

Currently, building inspections are performed by Treasure Island, but that city's building inspector is now working for South Pasadena.

A special workshop session is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to discuss whether to cancel its contract with Treasure Island and switch to South Pasadena.

Commissioners had previously indicated an interest in hiring its own inspector and bringing all services back to the city, but Crawford said that option would be too expensive.

Other projects in the works include building a new City Hall and fire department. The commission has hired an architect to draw up concept plans for the redevelopment.

The commission is also expected to authorize spending about $10,000 for a definitive cost estimate from Progress Energy for burying power lines along Gulf Boulevard, 150th Avenue and Madeira Way.

Similar estimates are also needed from other utilities to determine the total cost of such a project. The city is slated to receive money from Pinellas County over the next 10 years to help pay for putting utility lines underground.

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