Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New effort to form a city kicks off in Palm Harbor

PALM HARBOR — Norm Atherton, a resident of unincorporated Palm Harbor for more than 50 years, says he's ready for a change.

Although it's been attempted before, he's leading a new campaign to make Palm Harbor a city.

Atherton believes the time is right to push for a local government just for Palm Harbor, which has more about 90,000 residents if you include unincorporated East Lake on the east side of Lake Tarpon.

"We think that if Palm Harbor was its own city, with its own government, things would run smoother,'' said Atherton, who has also served as a Palm Harbor fire commissioner since 1981.

With help from several longtime Palm Harbor residents, he has formed the Palm Harbor Coalition. Last week, the group sent out a news release announcing that the coalition was seeking volunteers as well as accepting applications for a board of directors.

Although Atherton is now focusing on the area that makes up the Palm Harbor Fire District, including downtown Palm Harbor, Ozona and Crystal Beach, he hopes to hear from East Lake residents too. East Lake has its own fire district.

"We are in the preliminary stages,'' Atherton said. "We want everyone to give us input to determine how to move forward.''

For years, some Palm Harbor residents have wished they had a city government rather than relying on the Pinellas County Commission. The main reason, Atherton said, is because Palm Harbor residents are in a municipal services taxing unit and pay Pinellas County to fund their municipal services.

"There are many who feel we don't get back what we pay in taxes,'' he said. "Up until now, I was not interested in incorporating, but recently I've felt we've needed local representation.''

About four years ago, another group, the Greater Palm Harbor Coalition, pushed for incorporation. However, due in large part to a group of Crystal Beach residents who wanted to remain independent, the coalition's work was tabled.

James Kleyman, one of the leaders of the former coalition, is serving as an unofficial adviser to the new group. He believes another reason past campaigns failed was that residents "were not educated and did not understand the differences of city and county government,'' he said. However, recent events have frustrated residents, Kleyman said.

Kleyman believes many in the community saw more of a need for localized government back in April when the Pinellas County commissioners decided to amend the Historic Palm Harbor Master Plan to allow property owners to use transfers of development rights to expand. "Palm Harbor was treated horribly with that. (Pinellas County) stepped all over the community,'' Kleyman said.

Ultimately, voters would decide whether or not Palm Harbor would incorporate, and in order for that to happen, the Palm Harbor Coalition will need to get the go-ahead from the Florida Legislature to proceed.

Until then, Atherton encourages those interested to contact the coalition to help with the process.

Piper Castillo can be reached at (727) 445-4163 or pcastillo@tampabay.com. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

.fast facts

To join board

The Palm Harbor Coalition is looking for volunteers to serve as board members. Here are the requirements:

• Be a resident or business owner within Palm Harbor.

• Have time and passion to devote to the process. This may involve several meetings a month for up to a year.

To apply, send your name, address and contact information to Norm Atherton, P.O Box 26, Palm Harbor, Florida 34682. An application will also be available on the Palm Harbor Coalition website, www.PalmHarborCoalition.org. The deadline to apply is Jan. 18.

New effort to form a city kicks off in Palm Harbor 01/12/13 [Last modified: Saturday, January 12, 2013 2:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. One year after deaths, Sunset Music Festival kicks off with emphasis on water and security

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Before the beat drops, or even builds, you hear Steve-O.

    "If you don't get water you're lame!"

    "Hey! Free water! Come on!"

    Steve "Steve-O" Raymond motions to guests making the line to grab free water bottle at the entrance of the Sunset Music Festival on the grounds of the Raymond James Stadium parking lot in Tampa. ( LUIS SANTANA   |   Times)
  2. Twins eventually cash in as Rays lose, fall back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays could only battle their way out of trouble for so long Saturday afternoon before succumbing in a 5-2 loss to the Twins.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 27: Brian Dozier #2 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates hitting a two-run home run as Derek Norris #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during the eighth inning of the game on May 27, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rays 5-3. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010973
  3. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  4. Fans in Florida and beyond won't forget Gregg Allman

    Music & Concerts

    The end can come quickly for those who live fast and live hard, who create worlds with their talent and sometimes come close to throwing them away.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)
  5. Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, a former senator, dies at 85

    Ml

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jim Bunning, a former Hall of Fame pitcher who went on to serve in Congress, has died. He was 85.

    In this June 21, 1964 file photo, Jim Bunning of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches a perfect game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium in New York.  The Phillies beat the Mets, 6-0.  Bunning retired all 27 batters who faced him in the first game of a doubleheader to become the first pitcher in 42 years with a perfect game in regular season play.   (AP Photo/File)