Friday, June 22, 2018
News Roundup

San Antonio may not be able to stop planned Saint Leo University project

SAN ANTONIO — Even after months of deliberation, San Antonio city officials still reject Saint Leo University's plan to build a major warehouse along a city street. But that might not be enough stop the project.

A revised plan is headed to the town of St. Leo's commission for approval Monday. That plan still hinges on the controversial use of Pompanic Street, even after San Antonio residents and officials have said they think the street is unsuitable for truck traffic and poses a safety hazard.

Although San Antonio shares control of Pompanic with St. Leo, the building would lie in St. Leo limits. That means site plan approval is up to its commission, not San Antonio. It's not clear what the city can do, if anything, to stop the plan if it's approved.

"We'll see," San Antonio Mayor Tim Newlon said. "At that point it becomes a legal issue."

The proposed facility — a 16,000-square-foot plant operations building — would bring daily truck traffic to Pompanic, including semi trucks. The street is already too narrow for cars heading opposite ways to pass one another, Newlon said, let alone trucks.

He said the street would likely need to be widened to avoid safety issues.

University engineer Peter Hubbell disagreed, however. A traffic study on Pompanic revealed the street saw 600 to 700 vehicles a day. He said the facility would add about 26 vehicles per day.

If the street's width is already an issue, Hubbell said, the facility's extra trips wouldn't warrant widening the street.

But he has already tried and failed using those figures to placate San Antonio's concerns about the university's plan. Hubbell and other university engineers met with residents May 14 to discuss using Pompanic. Afterward, San Antonio officials' and residents' minds were unchanged.

The university's persistence left many wondering, why not connect the facility's driveway to nearby State Road 52? Hubbell, however, said the university doesn't want a service road running through land it wants to eventually develop.

The building would stand on a nearly 12-acre vacant lot overlooking Lake Jovita. SR 52 borders the lot's southern edge. Pompanic and San Antonio border the east, and the Holy Name Monastery, which the university purchased last year, borders the west.

Original plans for the new facility had it using already existing roads through campus that entered from SR 52. But when the university purchased the 12-acre lot next to San Antonio, Hubbell said the university wanted to move the facility as far away from campus as possible.

The problem with that, Newlon said, is it places the facility where it becomes a problem for San Antonio and the town of St. Leo. He said that not only is Pompanic not wide enough for the facility's truck traffic, it's not strong enough.

"My fear is the road will deteriorate faster than it normally would," Newlon said. "Residents of San Ann and St. Leo will foot the bill for that."

The university disagrees, further contributing to the impasse. Pompanic is a general access street without a weight restriction, it said in a release. The university's analysis showed the street could handle weights far greater than that of the facility's truck traffic.

Newlon said that since an April meeting with St. Leo's former mayor, Hubbell and a university representative, he hasn't heard from the university.

Richard Christmas, St. Leo's current mayor and member of the town commission, said that when the university makes its case for the plan's approval Monday, they'll think of San Antonio.

"We want a plan that addresses both San Antonio's and the university's concerns," Christmas said.

Comments
At a Mexican shelter, migrants who fled death threats prepare for ‘zero tolerance’ at the border

At a Mexican shelter, migrants who fled death threats prepare for ‘zero tolerance’ at the border

PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico — In Honduras, their lives were surrounded by death.Lourdes Cruz had just started a new job when the maras, the deadly gangs plaguing Central America, demanded half of her paycheck. She quit her job, but they found her number a...
Updated: 17 minutes ago

Forecast: Muggy and hot with a chance of rain for Pride festivities

As the first weekend of summer swings in, it appears Tampa Bay should expect more heat, humidity and a chance of afternoon showers.Increased moisture in the Gulf of Mexico will result in scattered showers and isolated storms for coastal areas of Tamp...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Daystarter: The Jameis Winston fallout; from CIA agents to minivan drivers; Pride comes back together in 2018

The Daystarter: The Jameis Winston fallout; from CIA agents to minivan drivers; Pride comes back together in 2018

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.   • Get ready for a wet morning as the forecast calls for scattered showers and storms to start the day. There could even be thundershowers and lightning out there, according to...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Boy George, coming to Tampa with Culture Club, talks fame, Pulse and the term ‘LGBTQ’

Boy George, coming to Tampa with Culture Club, talks fame, Pulse and the term ‘LGBTQ’

It’ll still be June when Boy George arrives in Florida this week to kick off a summer U.S. tour with Culture Club. But the LGBTQ icon says it won’t feel quite like a Pride parade. "I also bake cakes for straight people," he laughed. "Tha...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

OMAHA, Neb. — JJ Schwarz hit a two-run homer and Florida built enough cushion to survive Texas Tech's six-run outburst over the seventh and eighth innings to eliminate the Red Raiders from the College World Series with a 9-6 win Thursday night....
Updated: 9 hours ago
Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

So Hillsborough County commissioners — most of them, anyway — want voters to consider dropping political parties from certain elections, making those races nonpartisan instead.This would mean when you go to vote in those elections, you won’t know if ...
Published: 06/22/18
Joe Henderson: Hillsborough teachers have come to depend on foundation’s free supplies

Joe Henderson: Hillsborough teachers have come to depend on foundation’s free supplies

We have all heard stories about public school teachers reaching into their own pockets so their students will have basic classroom supplies.It goes on throughout the system because budgets are tight. The money allotted for pencils, markers, notebooks...
Published: 06/22/18
Kids find refugee from the street at Sulphur Springs day camp

Kids find refugee from the street at Sulphur Springs day camp

Last summer, Taem’ari Merrell spent much of her time on the couch watching YouTube.This summer, the 10-year-old is learning how to make videos.DeAndre Felton filled his 2017 summer schedule by reading comic books. But now, the 10-year-old spends days...
Published: 06/22/18
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Updated: 28 minutes ago