Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas Park adds weary street of cottages to village vision

This is what Pinellas Park envisions for the United Cottages, on about 1.6 acres a block off Park Boulevard next to the train station.

Renderings courtesy of the city of Pinellas Park

This is what Pinellas Park envisions for the United Cottages, on about 1.6 acres a block off Park Boulevard next to the train station.

PINELLAS PARK — One of the long-standing dreams held by many elected officials here is the creation of a quaint village-like area where families can stroll tree-shaded sidewalks while eating ice cream cones and ducking into small specialty shops along the way.

Those dreams took a leap forward in 2004 with the completion of Park Station, a reproduction train station that celebrates the city's history. The building, at 5851 Park Blvd., was also to serve as a beacon to draw people into the "village" area.

Now the City Council has taken another step toward creating that village atmosphere with the recent approval of plans for the United Cottages. The cottages are on about 1.6 acres a block off Park next to the train station. More specifically, they can be found between 57th and 58th streets N along 75th Terrace in the city's redevelopment area.

It's a move that thrills Nancy Hawkins, head of the recently formed homeowners association and owner of seven of the houses. Hawkins fell in love with the area and began buying houses several years ago with the idea of turning them into retail but instead started renting them out. Recently, she said, the neighborhood had started to deteriorate with people "stumbling down the street" from the nearby mission and potholes in the unkempt street. Now, Hawkins said she sees hope.

"It's just going to be adorable," she said. "I love these little places."

The cottages are little dwellings on lots so small that it would be virtually impossible to rebuild on them under zoning rules.

They're a far cry from what the council sees as their future — Katrina-style buildings that can be used for business. Some would even have their owners living in them.

Pinellas Park council member Rick Butler has been one of the main visionaries who saw the potential in the area. He tried for years to get something done but found little interest in the United Cottages community. Then, last year, an officer from the Police Department's Community Redevelopment Policing Unit walked in the door and said something needed to be done. The unit, with five officers, one detective and one lieutenant, is devoted to solving community problems in Pinellas Park's redevelopment area.

Butler said he told the officer, "It would take some new blood because this old boy is burnt out. You've got to get resident buy-in. If you get resident buy-in, the rest will fall into place."

That's what happened. The community met, and change began.

"It's pretty cool," Butler said.

To help the area's property owners get to this goal, the council granted several variances. Among them:

• Reducing setbacks so the buildings can cover more ground.

• Reducing the required living space for single-family homes from 1,000 square feet to 380 square feet. Buildings with retail must have at least 400 square feet.

• Waiving all landscaping requirements, although at least one tree must be planted on each residential lot.

The city is limiting the types of businesses that can be opened there. Permissible shops include bakeries, coffee shops, art galleries, florists, newsstands and gift shops.

Pinellas Park also plans to put the utility lines underground, limit the street to one-way traffic and redesign the street. The city has also taken possession of two lots, which it plans to offer to builders to get the project started, Butler said.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at or (727) 893-8450.

Pinellas Park adds weary street of cottages to village vision 02/05/11 [Last modified: Saturday, February 5, 2011 3:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh


    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. 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]
  5. 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.