Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Map shows flaws of all-or-nothing annexation bill

LEALMAN — The so-called all or nothing bill that would make an annexing city take all of this unincorporated area rather than just a piece could more aptly be called a "nothing" bill.

Rather than giving cities a chance to woo all of Lealman to convince voters to annex, the proposal is drafted so that no city can annex the area without violating state annexation laws.

"It makes it a de facto no-annexation area," said Dave Goodwin, St. Petersburg's economic development director.

Goodwin said St. Petersburg opposed the legislation to begin with, but became especially dissatisfied when the full impact became clear.

The proposal is patterned after one passed last year to protect Tierra Verde. That statute prevents any city from annexing a part of the island without taking all of the island. And Tierra Verde residents would have to vote in favor of the annexation for it to take place.

Both East Lake and Lealman demanded they get similar protection, so state Rep. Peter Nehr, R-Tarpon Springs, filed bills for both areas. State Sen. Charlie Justice, D-St. Petersburg, filed a similar bill for Lealman in the Senate.

The wording of the Lealman bill makes it appear that adjoining cities — St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Seminole and Kenneth City — would have the option of trying to convince Lealman voters to become part of their city. But a map of the protected area created by the Pinellas County Property Appraiser at the request of the St. Petersburg Times tells a different story.

The protected area includes all of Kenneth City and parts of the other three cities. Although those could not be annexed, including the cities in the protected area means that some enclaves are included. An enclave is a small area of unincorporated property completely surrounded by one city rather like an island in an ocean.

Including those means that Pinellas Park and Kenneth City, the two with enclaves in the area, would be unable to annex those without having to annex all of Lealman.

That's contrary to state and county policies that, for years, have urged cities to annex enclaves as a way to end confusion over service delivery, Pinellas Park spokesman Tim Caddell said.

The map also shows that none of the cities could annex all Lealman if they wanted to. State law requires annexations to be contiguous to city limits and, with the enclaves and other barriers, none of the four cities have the necessary contiguity for the entire area. The result is a no-annexation zone masquerading as an all-or-nothing zone.

"There's not proper planning with this bill," Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds said. "It just shows a general lack of planning."

Seminole, he said, does not oppose the bill because it has "minimal effect" on that city.

"I don't think that this bill ever intended to be an 'all' bill," said Caddell, the Pinellas Park spokesman. "It was meant to be a nothing bill. It certainly needs to be looked at a little more closely."

Caddell said Pinellas Park officials also raised eyebrows over the length of the term — the proposal would be good for seven years. But Pinellas Park and Lealman have an agreement that the city will not annex into the area for six years. The longer term could be seen as a way to get around that agreement. Although Pinellas Park is not actively opposing the bill, the city is closely monitoring its progress.

Kenneth City Mayor Teresa Zemaitis could not be reached for comment, but has said that her town opposes the move.

"I didn't draft the Lealman bill," Nehr said. Justice, he said, gave him the language and the boundaries. The goal, he said, was to give Lealman residents peace from annexations and to preserve the tax base to support the fire district.

Justice said he believed the boundaries were taken from an old map. He said both St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park touch Lealman on both sides, and so should be able to annex. He said he was unaware of any enclaves that would prevent annexations.

Reach Anne Lindberg at or (727) 893-8450.

Map shows flaws of all-or-nothing annexation bill 03/13/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 12, 2010 5:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Dodgers close in on World Series with 6-1 win over Cubs


    CHICAGO — Yu Darvish pitched into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a commanding 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

    Los Angeles Dodgers' Chris Taylor hits a home run Tuesday during the third inning of Game 3 of baseball's National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs. [Associated Press]
  2. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  3. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears


    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing the 19 month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 2014. He said the child fell while he was giving her a bath. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  4. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts


    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

    Wengay Newton, Florida House of Representatives (in front, in center), talks as a panelist to a packed room during a community forum on "Reclaiming our Youth: Is Juvenile Justice a Reality?" at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in St. Petersburg Wednesday evening (10/17/17). The event was presented by the Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association. Community leaders discussed the ongoing auto theft epidemic among Pinellas youth.
  5. Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility and spousal abuse


    White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Donald Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter told the …