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St. Pete Beach City Commission won't freeze hotel rezoning

ST. PETE BEACH — Development rules for Pass-a-Grille may change drastically in the future, but for now there will be no moratorium on rezoning for hotels.

Commissioner Beverly Garnett failed Tuesday to get any support for her proposed six-month freeze on granting the Traditional Hotel District designation to any hotels.

Instead, the City Commission will discuss future redevelopment in Pass-a-Grille at a special workshop at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The commission indicated it will review residential redevelopment rules in addition to how hotel district zoning affects residential neighborhoods.

The THD designation currently applies to operating tourist lodgings located south of 15th Avenue. The district was established in 2008 to allow aging small hotels to rebuild. Among the issues to be discussed are building heights and densities, and design guidelines.

"I don't think we need a moratorium at this time," said Mayor Mike Finnerty, adding that he was "sick and tired" of the city's continuing fights over redevelopment.

City Manager Mike Bonfield also warned there may be many more structures than the nine identified small hotels that are renting rooms to tourists and might legally qualify for THD zoning.

"I can't tell you there aren't people out there that have licenses and pay bed taxes," Bonfield said.

Since Garnett first proposed the moratorium several weeks ago, the city has been inundated with e‑mails and telephone calls from residents opposed to any hotel redevelopment that would result in taller or more massive buildings.

And although she insisted her proposed moratorium did not target the Coconut Inn, whose owner tried and failed to get THD zoning in January, Garnett admitted she wanted to "stay" any new rezoning applications until the commission could review existing regulations.

City Attorney Mike Davis cautioned the commission against "arbitrary" zoning that targets a single property.

Coconut Inn owner Joe Caruso says he plans to reapply for THD zoning in June.

St. Pete Beach City Commission won't freeze hotel rezoning 05/15/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 14, 2010 5:35pm]
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