Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Seabird Sanctuary suspects aviary will be rejected

REDINGTON SHORES — It is not a sure thing that the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary will get final approval Wednesday for a new flight cage for hawks and other predatory birds.

The issue passed nearly unanimously when it was considered last month by the town's Planning and Zoning Board.

But Michelle Simoneau, spokeswoman for the sanctuary, said Friday that she had "heard on the street" that the Town Commission may reject the proposal, which requires a setback variance to town zoning and building codes.

"There is a good chance they are going to turn us down," she said.

The commission will debate the flight cage proposal at its meeting Wednesday, which begins at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 17425 Gulf Blvd.

The sanctuary, which rescues up to 10,000 birds annually, opened in 1972 and is the largest nonprofit wild bird hospital and sanctuary in the country, Simoneau said.

Officials at the facility hope to build a 40- by 20-foot aviary that would allow recovering injured birds the space to strengthen their wings before being released back into the wild.

"This is so badly needed in Pinellas County," Simoneau said. "Now we have to ship out our birds to other facilities."

Simoneau said a sanctuary member has offered to pay the expected $25,000 to build the 12-foot-high aviary, which she said would be mostly netting supported by a wood frame.

Trees and other natural vegetation along the sanctuary's eastern boundary would be preserved, she said, to help screen the structure from neighboring properties.

Sanctuary supporters filled the commission chambers last month. Simoneau hopes they will again.

There was no opposition at that hearing, but one resident sent the town a letter objecting to the proposed flight cage.

Greg Sather, an Illinois resident whose property here abuts the sanctuary, praised the work it does rescuing birds but wrote that the facility often is not a "good neighbor."

He objected to a "bad smell" coming from many of the existing bird cages, blocking of his access to the beach during nesting season, and moldy sand stored on the street.

During last month's hearing, Planning and Zoning Board Chairman Bonnie Stein praised the organization's efforts to rescue injured birds but voted against the proposal, arguing that it violated the town's building codes.

Seabird Sanctuary suspects aviary will be rejected 01/09/10 [Last modified: Saturday, January 9, 2010 3:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gov. Rick Scott vetoes 'liquor wall' repeal

  2. 'Liquor wall' staying up in Florida after Gov. Scott's veto


    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's liquor wall, which was been around since Prohibition ended, will remain standing after a bill to tear it down was vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott.

  3. To catch a poacher: Florida wildlife officers set up undercover gator farm sting


    To catch a ring of poachers who targeted Florida's million-dollar alligator farming industry, state wildlife officers created the ultimate undercover operation.

    To catch a ring of poachers who targeted Florida's million-dollar alligator farming industry, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission set up an undercover operation. They created their own alligator farm, complete with plenty of real, live alligators, watched over by real, live undercover wildlife officers. It also had hidden video cameras to record everything that happened. That was two years ago, and on Wednesday wildlife officers announced that they arrested nine people on  44 felony charges alleging they broke wildlife laws governing alligator harvesting, transporting eggs and hatchlings across state lines, dealing in stolen property, falsifying records, racketeering and conspiracy. The wildlife commission released these photos of alligators, eggs and hatchlings taken during the undercover operation. [Courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
  4. Trump has Mar-a-Lago employee working on government trip, report says


    The following is from Buzzfeed News:

    A top Mar-a-Lago employee is also working for the government to help prepare for President Trump's visit to Taormina, Italy, for the G-7 Summit — an unconventional arrangement that further blurs the line between the president's business empire and the White House.

  5. Manchester bombing victims include at least 7 parents


    LONDON — The world has been horrified by how young many of the victims in the Manchester bombing were, but on Wednesday, attention shifted to parents of concertgoers who were also killed. Seven have been identified, among them a couple who left behind two orphaned daughters.