Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas housing project plan draws fire

The Pinellas County Commission will consider a controversial affordable housing project tonight, even as details of the development are being revised and funding questions have emerged.

The lack of clarity prompted the head of the Pinellas Planning Council, an advisory body to the commission, to question the wisdom of moving forward with the project Monday.

Original plans for the Bayside Reserves project called for 209 apartments to be built just west of the southern end of the Bayside Bridge. Of those, 42 were to be set aside as affordable units.

Also proposed were 10 single-family waterfront homes to be sold at market cost.

Tonight, the commission will consider changing the county's land map to allow the higher density development the plan calls for. But county staff members say the development agreement that details the project's specifics has changed and public hearings must be held to consider the revisions.

That concerns planning council executive director David Healey, who said that by granting the land use change before a development agreement is reached, the county loses leverage that could be used to negotiate a more favorable deal.

"From the standpoint of protecting the county's best interest in this thing," Healey said, "I think they would be reluctant to do that."

John Cueva, a zoning manager in the county's planning department, said the revised agreement calls for 193 apartments with 39 of them set aside as affordable. Instead of 10 waterfront homes at market cost, Cueva said 37 would be allowed under the new agreement.

Also, Cueva said, the two proposed apartment complex buildings would be three stories over a parking level instead of five.

A private developer, Roger Broderick, and Banc of America Community Development Corp. were behind the deal. But the new agreement doesn't mention Banc of America, which was to purchase bonds for the project from the county's Housing Finance Authority.

Monday, Bruce Bussey, an urban development manager in the county's community development department, said it wasn't clear whether Banc of America was still involved, but said financing the project was distinct from land use questions.

Dennis Long, an assistant county attorney, agreed and pointed out that the project must still be approved by state regulators and be heard again before the commission. Not until further along in the process, he said, would financing become critical.

"Not having a lender now is no big deal," Long said.

But David Waddell, a 50-year-old Realtor and home remodeler who heads community opposition to the project, said the financing question further weakens the case for Bayside Reserves.

Last month, Healey's planning council voted down the project, saying it was incompatible with the area, Waddell said. And with the real estate market having bottomed, he said, the need for affordable housing isn't urgent.

Also, Waddell said, the deal involves letting the developer build on nearly 9 acres of land near Old Tampa Bay that was purchased in the late 1980s with Penny for Pinellas money. The county would grant that land to the developer in exchange for affordable housing concessions.

That makes no sense to Waddell, who hopes to have between 100 and 200 project opponents at tonight's meeting.

"They've just got the wrong location and the wrong plan," he said.

Will Van Sant can be reached at or 445-4166.

>>If you go

Public hearing

What: A hearing on Bayside Reserves

When: 6:30 p.m. today

Where: County Commission chamber, Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court St., downtown Clearwater

Pinellas housing project plan draws fire 10/20/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 23, 2008 6:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pasco woman gives birth to child fathered by 11 year old, deputies say


    A Port Richey woman was arrested Tuesday, nearly three years after deputies say she gave birth to a child fathered by an 11-year-old boy.

    Marissa Mowry, 25, was arrested Tuesday on charges she sexually assaulted an 11-year-old and gave birth to his child. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  2. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    Adeiny Hechavarria is quick to make his presence felt.
  3. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  4. At College World Series, the save goes to an LSU dad/doctor


    OMAHA, Neb. — The father of LSU pitcher Jared Poche' helped revive an 87-year-old man who was slumped on the TD Ameritrade Park concourse with no pulse during Game 1 of the College World Series finals.

    UF’s Tyler Dyson delivers against LSU in Tuesday’s late CWS Game 2. Go to
  5. Plant City police searching for drive-by shooter


    PLANT CITY — Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest in an early morning drive-by shooting outside a home.

    John J. Keeper, 49, was shot in the thigh in a drive-by shooting early Tuesday outside this home at 516 E Laura St. in Plant City. [Hillsborough County Property Appraiser]