Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

To qualify for renourishment, more parking needed at Belleair Beach

Belleair Beach must add 28 parking spots to get funds to renourish the beach. A reconfiguration of Morgan Park could satisfy that.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times (2012)

Belleair Beach must add 28 parking spots to get funds to renourish the beach. A reconfiguration of Morgan Park could satisfy that.

BELLEAIR BEACH — Despite recent efforts to create new parking spaces, the city is still short the 10 spaces needed to qualify for federally and state funded beach renourishment.

If the parking issue is not resolved, the city will have to choose between paying $200,000 or more for the cost of renourishment — or forgo rebuilding its beaches entirely.

City Manager Nancy Gonzalez is hoping the parking shortfall can be made up by moving the city's beach pavilion at Morgan Park closer to the beach, freeing up space that could be converted into parking.

That project would be partly funded by the $2.9 million in Gulf Boulevard beautification money the city expects to receive over the next few years from Pinellas County.

The city has advertised for landscape design proposals and bids are to be opened today.

Moving the pavilion closer to the water line could require state and county approval, however.

So far the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has been cooperative in the city's efforts to find additional parking.

The DEP sets the rules on the number of public parking spaces that are needed to qualify for periodic renewal of eroded beach sand — and recently ruled the city can count bike racks toward the required number of parking spaces.

Despite the parking already available at beach access points and at public parks, the city lacks 28 of the 85 spaces needed to qualify for beach renourishment.

In recent years, the city unsuccessfully sought a parking space variance, arguing that the requirement that public parking must be evenly distributed along the city's nearly 1 mile of beach front presented a hardship.

Now the City Council has budgeted $8,000 in the coming year to install four additional bike racks at its four beach access points and at Morgan Park.

The bike racks will make up 18 of the missing 28 spaces, leaving a 10-space shortfall Gonzalez hopes will be eliminated with the reconfiguration of Morgan Park.

The only other option would be Pinellas County's call for parallel parking along Gulf Boulevard and side-street parking — a proposal the city has strongly opposed.

Beach renourishment conducted by the U.S. Corps of Engineers is funded primarily by the federal government, with the balance paid out of state and county funds.

Normally beach renourishment is done every four or five years. The last time the city's beaches received new sand was in 2012.

Both the state and county have told the city that for it to qualify for future taxpayer dollars for beach renourishment, the beach must be available to the public.

And that means people must be able to park their cars in order to get to the beach.

The tiny town of Belleair Shore, which takes up a portion of Belleair Beach's frontage along Gulf Boulevard, has no public access points, and therefore does not receive beach renourishment.

To qualify for renourishment, more parking needed at Belleair Beach 10/08/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 5:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hillary Clinton said her 'skin crawled' when Donald Trump stood behind her on debate stage

    National

    In her most detailed public comments about what happened during the second presidential debate, Hillary Clinton said her "skin crawled" as Donald Trump loomed behind her on the stage in St. Louis last October.

    Hillary Clinton speaks as Donald Trump listens during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis on Oct. 9, 2016. In her upcoming book, Clinton says "It was incredibly uncomfortable. He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled." [Pool photo by Rick T. Wilking via AP]
  2. After 17 years, Pasco-Hernando State College attorney steps away

    College

    The longtime attorney for Pasco-Hernando State College has resigned for what he says are "purely personal reasons."

    Steve Schroeder, the general council for Pasco-Hernando State College, resigned last week. His last day will be Sept. 8.
  3. Apple Scales Back Its Ambitions for a Self-Driving Car

    Autos

    SAN FRANCISCO — As new employees were brought into Apple's secret effort to create a self-driving car a few years ago, managers told them that they were working on the company's next big thing: A product that would take on Detroit and disrupt the automobile industry.

     In this Monday, April 10, 2017 file photo, Luminar CEO Austin Russell monitors a 3D lidar map on a demonstration drive in San Francisco. Russell, now 22, was barely old enough to drive when he set out to create a safer navigation system for robot-controlled cars. His ambitions are about to be tested five years after he co-founded Luminar Technologies, a Silicon Valley startup trying to steer the rapidly expanding self-driving car industry in a new direction. Apple says it will scale back its amitions to build a self-driving car.  [AP Photo/Ben Margot]
  4. Studies: Automated safety systems are preventing car crashes

    Autos

    WASHINGTON — Safety systems to prevent cars from drifting into another lane or that warn drivers of vehicles in their blind spots are beginning to live up to their potential to significantly reduce crashes, according to two studies released Wednesday.

    A side mirror warning signal is shown in a Ford Taurus at an automobile testing area in Oxon Hill, Md., in 2012. Safety systems to prevent cars from drifting into another lane or warn drivers of vehicles in their blind spots are beginning to live up to their potential to significantly reduce crashes, according to two studies released Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. [Associated Press]
  5. Pet Vet: Why a cat's color can make it more susceptible to skin cancer

    Pets

    Snowball is a fluffy female cat 10 years of age. Can you guess what color she might be? I ask the question because it is relevant to what might be causing her problem.

    White fluffy cat  [Dreamstime | TNS]