Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Pete Beach planners reject Coconut Inn rezoning, but commission has final word

ST. PETE BEACH — The Coconut Inn's bid to rebuild on two lots in Pass-a-Grille has been rejected.

The Planning Board, which acts in an advisory role to the City Commission, voted down Joe Caruso's request Tuesday for a land use change that would have allowed his hotel property to be rezoned from residential to Traditional Hotel District.

That designation would have allowed the grandfathered hotel to rebuild at any time, not just after a hurricane or other catastrophic loss.

In a 3-1 vote (only Chairman Will Jacoby supported Caruso), the board said changing the hotel's land use from residential to resort would harm the neighborhood.

City commissioners will have the last word, probably in May, when they take up Caruso's land use and rezoning request.

Several residents, as well as City Commissioner Bev Garnett and Historic Preservation Board Chairman Melinda Pletcher, expressed concerns.

"I am not here to speak for or against the plan," Garnett said as she described what she called the predominantly residential character of the neighborhood, but "even the slightest change has a large impact on the community."

Pletcher said Caruso should have asked for the THD designation on just the southernmost of his two lots.

A second rear lot, now vacant, extends to 12th Avenue. The Coconut Inn is at 113 11th Ave.

"Today it's my home. Tomorrow it may be yours," said Mary Fernandez, whose home is adjacent to the Coconut Inn's rear lot.

She and her husband said they feared that if the land use and rezoning were approved by the board, Caruso could rebuild using both lots.

Board member Sandie Lyman scolded both sides just before she voted against Caruso's request.

"I agree the hotel needs to stay the hotel and the lot needs to stay residential, but everybody needs to man up and get along," Lyman said.

The commission denied the same request last year amid strong opposition from local residents. Since then, the commission toughened the THD zoning requirements to limit redevelopment.

"The whole town is mixed with tourism and residential and we have to coexist," Caruso told the board. "To wish these properties to go away is not going to make them disappear."

St. Pete Beach planners reject Coconut Inn rezoning, but commission has final word 04/23/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 23, 2011 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Baker lowers expectations for primary


    Rick Baker officially lowered expectations Tuesday, saying his “battle for the future of the city” against Mayor Rick Kriseman might last until November.

    Rick Baker addresses supporters on Beach Drive Tuesday
  2. Former Sen. Greg Evers, advocate for law enforcement, dead at 62.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Former State Sen. Greg Evers, the Baker Florida strawberry farmer and veteran politician, was killed in a single car crash hear his home in Okaloosa County. The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed the death late Tuesday, but deferred any further information pending an investigation. He was 62.

    Former Florida Senator Greg Evers, R- Milton, was a passionate advocate for law enforcement and corrections officers. He was found dead Tuesday afternoon in a car crash. He was 62. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Polk sheriff: Gibsonton man sent child porn to Bay News 9 anchor


    A 20-year-old Gibsonton man was indicted on federal charges after authorities said he repeatedly sent child pornography to a news anchor for Bay News 9.

    Marchaun Browning, 20 of Gibsonton, was indicted on federal charges, accused of sending child pornography to a news anchor for Bay News 9 using Twitter. [Courtesy of Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  4. 5 things to do under $5: Type artists, shuffleboard, toy train show, Wildflower Walk


    1 Letterheads Typefest: The muralists who run Illsol Space, a gallery in Tampa Heights, said their respect for handmade fonts and sign painting techniques moved them to curate this exhibit featuring type-based muralists, hand-style lettering designers, sign painters, letterpress studios and type designers. …

    Colm O’Connor, a Dublin sign writer, is among the 22 artists featured in the Letterheads Typefest exhibit at the Illsol Space gallery.
  5. Foundation Partners buys Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home


    ST. PETERSBURG — Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, the Tampa Bay area's largest family-owned funeral company, has been sold.

    Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, the Tampa Bay area's largest family-owned funeral company, has been sold.
[CHRIS URSO   |   Times]