Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Port Richey puts the brakes on brownfield status

NEW PORT RICHEY — Public outcry has stalled an effort by city officials to declare nearly all of New Port Richey a brownfield in the hopes of tapping into economic incentives for redevelopment.

More than a dozen citizens came out in opposition at the City Council meeting Tuesday night, prompting the council to table a final vote on the brownfield status. Instead, council members opted for a fact-finding work session on Dec. 13 to get more information on what a brownfield designation would mean for the city.

"I don't feel that we are in a position to move forward with this," said Mayor Bob Consalvo, who along with other council members said he received communications on the matter from a skeptical public.

A brownfield designation would allow the city to identify specific sites that could be contaminated — such as former gas stations, dry cleaners and other businesses that used chemicals — and offer tax breaks and other perks to property owners to clean up the properties.

The proposed resolution would seek a state brownfield designation for the 2,250-acre Community Redevelopment Area, a near citywide swath that the council already declared blighted back in 2001 to qualify for other grants and tax incentives for redevelopment. Acknowledging the brownfield label could be perceived as a negative, officials said they would call the area an "Economic Incentive Area."

But some residents said the possible stigma of painting nearly all of New Port Richey as potentially contaminated would far outweighs any benefits.

Much of the opposition at City Hall Tuesday came from local Realtors who said including residential neighborhoods in the proposed brownfield area might send property values plunging. Realtors in the crowd also said if the resolution passed, they would be legally bound to disclose the brownfield status of properties to potential buyers.

"Perception and stigma (are) very, very strong," local real estate broker Sonia Magruder told the council. "I want to thank you for not making a hasty decision."

After the meeting, city leaders said they were open to the option of targeting certain areas for brownfield status, instead of a sweeping designation covering almost the entire city.

Deputy Mayor Rob Marlowe said brownfield status along the U.S. 19 corridor could be useful. Although he voted for the brownfield resolution on first reading last month, Marlowe said Tuesday a near citywide designation could do more harm than good.

"I said when this first came up that we already declared the city blighted, so how much worse can it get? Well it appears that it can get worse," Marlowe said.

Council member Judy DeBella Thomas first questioned last month how property values may be affected, but said she still voted for the measure on first reading in hopes of having more discussion.

Redevelopment in the city is important, she said, but taking such a drastic step as a brownfield designation demands scrutiny.

"There is no quick fix. This is just one option that needs to be used with discretion," she said.

.if you go

Be heard

Do you have questions or concerns about the city's proposal to designate most of New Port Richey as a brownfield area? City officials say they want input from the public prior to a Dec. 13 work session on the issue. To weigh in, email development director Lisa Fierce at, or call (727) 853-1038.

New Port Richey puts the brakes on brownfield status 11/02/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 8:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  2. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  3. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  4. Hernando sheriff: Orlando mother turns in 18-year-old son in pawn shop burglary


    Times Staff Writer

    SPRING HILL — Hernando deputies have arrested a fourth person in connection with a pawn shop burglary, but they really didn't have to do anything to find him.

    Elijah Pickard, 18, of Orlando, was turned in by his own mother in connection with a pawn shop burglary, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office [Courtesy of Hernando County Sheriff's Office]