Monday, December 18, 2017
News Roundup

No resolution in sight for New Port Richey firm in zoning bind

NEW PORT RICHEY — Advanced Research Institute, a clinical drug trial company that has operated for nearly a year without the proper zoning, was close to a solution that would put it in the clear.

But on Tuesday night, the measure came up one vote short.

"I think it's basically a show of favoritism, so I'm against it," said City Council member Bob Langford, who cast the deciding vote.

The proposed ordinance did not deal with ARI specifically, but rather would have allowed any business to seek city approval for "low traffic" office uses within a high-density residential area. Still, the measure was drafted in the wake of ARI's zoning conundrum. And Langford, who has previously criticized ARI for "knowingly breaking the law" by operating without the right land use, said he opposed passing a citywide ordinance to resolve one business' problem.

All of which leaves ARI in the same bind as before.

Code enforcement cited ARI owner Susan Randall last May for operating her clinical drug trial business at 6716 Congress St. without meeting the proper zoning requirements. The property — which used to hold the Harbinger House for troubled youths — is zoned for residential, while the city found Randall needs a medical office designation.

The city has no zoning designation on the books that allows the inpatient and outpatient clinical trials going on at ARI. The city warned Randall that was the case, but she opened anyway.

Complicating matters: City Council member Judy DeBella Thomas is ARI's marketing and enrollment liaison. Though she has voiced her support for the city and ARI to resolve the matter, she has had to recuse herself from any votes.

Deputy Mayor Rob Marlowe also had to recuse himself because his computer company provides email services to the business.

So only three council members could vote Tuesday evening on the proposed ordinance to allow office uses, with the city's permission, in high-density residential areas. Mayor Bob Consalvo and council member Bill Phillips both voted to approve the measure.

But the 2-1 vote fell short: The ordinance needed three votes to pass.

ARI's representatives were not at the hearing and did not return calls Wednesday for comment.

Phillips has been in favor of easing restrictions on businesses looking to come into New Port Richey, which has struggled with development in recent years. Prior to the vote he pointed out the ordinance mandates that each applicant seeking the special exemption must come before council for approval.

City Development director Lisa Fierce also said applicants would also have to meet several criteria that must be approved by the Development Review Committee and City Council. Those include how the business will affect traffic, hours of operation and consistency with surrounding residential areas.

After the meeting, Phillips said he was disappointed with the vote and predicted the issue may be raised again with a new City Council after April elections. Marlowe and Langford have both announced they won't seek another term.

"I really thought we were going to have four people vote, but that didn't happen," Phillips said. "So when I saw that I tried to make it clear that every applicant that is seeking this exemption will have to make their case to council."

Marlowe expressed his frustration with a Florida Commission on Ethics ruling that he should recuse himself, telling the Times that he would not have been voting on ARI specifically, but a measure that addresses the whole city. He said he would have voted for the ordinance, though he still scolded ARI for operating in violation of city zoning.

"They never should have opened until they had the proper zoning," he said.

DeBella Thomas stood up for her employer even though she didn't vote.

"I'm disappointed not only for ARI, but for the whole spectrum of opportunities this ordinance would have brought the city in bringing businesses into our community," she told the Times.

Comments

Portion of Lutz Lake Fern Road closed after crash involving motorcycle

TAMPA — A portion of Lutz Lake Fern Road is closed in northwest Hillsborough County following a crash involving a motorcycleHillsborough County deputies say the roadway is expected to be closed between Sunlake Boulevard and Cypress Green Drive for th...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Tampa flights affected as Atlanta airport outage creates holiday chaos

Tampa flights affected as Atlanta airport outage creates holiday chaos

ATLANTA — While power has been restored to the world’s busiest airport, the travel woes will linger for days.Thousands of people were stranded Monday morning at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where more than 1,000 flights were gro...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The government admits it studies UFOs. So about those Area 51 conspiracy theories.

The government admits it studies UFOs. So about those Area 51 conspiracy theories.

For decades, Americans were told that Area 51 didn’t really exist and that the U.S. government had no official interest in aliens or UFOs. Statements to the contrary, official-sounding people cautioned, were probably the musings of crackpots in tinfo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Will Jon Gruden be the Bucs’ coach next year?

Rick and Tom podcast: Will Jon Gruden be the Bucs’ coach next year?

Jon Gruden will be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor tonight, but could it be more than just that as the Glazers may be looking for a new head coach come January? In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss whether Gruden would coac...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Missing Child Alert canceled for Homestead boy, 13

A Florida Missing Child Alert has been canceled for a 13-year-old Homestead boy.According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, John Noble-Sinclair had last seen Sunday in the area of 300 block of Southwest 4th Avenue.The case has been resolv...
Updated: 1 hour ago
LeBron wears one black shoe and one white shoe, speaks about Trump

LeBron wears one black shoe and one white shoe, speaks about Trump

WASHINGTON — LeBron James made a statement during an NBA game with his shoes — one black, one white, with the word "equality" in capital gold letters on the back of each.Then, after the game, James made a statement about President Donald Trump, sayin...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Deputies seek suspects who fired shots into crowded Northdale nightclub

TAMPA — Hillsborough County deputies are searching for the suspects who fired shots inside a crowded nightclub in Northdale early Monday morning.According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, deputies patrolling the area heard shooting coming...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Forecast: Morning fog leads to a warm and sunny pre-Christmas week in Tampa Bay

Forecast: Morning fog leads to a warm and sunny pre-Christmas week in Tampa Bay

Thick fog will usher in a warm and sunny pre-Christmas week.10News WTSPThe latest 7-day forecast The fog is especially thick along the Interstate 4 corridor in eastern Hillsborough County into Polk County, with visibilities to near zero in Lakeland ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
VA rejects system private hospitals use to save millions on shipping, Tampa company says

VA rejects system private hospitals use to save millions on shipping, Tampa company says

TAMPA — If you could pay $19.19 to ship a package instead of $227.32, wouldn’t you go for the cheaper rate?That’s the question raised by Rob Barrow and Will Sands, Marine combat veterans and businessmen from Tampa who say the Department of Veterans o...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Daystarter: Atlanta power outage affects Tampa flights; Gruden entering Bucs’ Ring of Honor; Orca advocates push for Florida law to ban killer whale breeding; fact-checking President Trump’s words to Haitian community

The Daystarter: Atlanta power outage affects Tampa flights; Gruden entering Bucs’ Ring of Honor; Orca advocates push for Florida law to ban killer whale breeding; fact-checking President Trump’s words to Haitian community

• A warming trend will bring high temperatures around 80 and mostly sunny skies throughout the week, according to 10Weather WTSP. Overnight lows will be in the 60s with our next rain chance coming on Thursday.10News WTSPThe latest 7-day forecast• As ...
Updated: 2 hours ago