TARPON SPRINGS — Just two years ago, developer Manuel Lindiakos envisioned a townhouse community on the 16 acres he amassed on N Jasmine Avenue.
But the stagnant housing market means a dearth of buyers, he told city commissioners on Tuesday.
"I've been hanging in there as long as I can," said Lindiakos, 47. "There is absolutely no market for residential."
Lindiakos was back before the commissioners to ask for a reversal of their decision in 2007 to change the zoning from residential to industrial.
City commissioners voted unanimously to approve the changes that will allow for Lindiakos' new vision: a roughly 160,000-square-foot warehouse development north of Cycadia Cemetery.
The complex would bring jobs and tax revenue to the city, Lindiakos said.
But commissioners were especially pleased with Lindiakos' promise to extend E Spruce Street, which borders the property to the north.
Road improvements planned for the proposed Lowe's Home Improvement warehouse on the west side of U.S. 19 include a realignment of Live Oak Street that will extend down to W Spruce Street, where a new traffic signal will be installed at U.S. 19.
Now residents on the east side of U.S. 19, with Lindiakos' extension of Spruce, would have a straight shot to both the main north-south artery and downtown.
One neighbor said the development wasn't appropriate for the area, which has residences to the east.
Lorraine Carver said she feared the project would lower nearby property values and generate more noise and traffic.
Lindiakos said he'd create an internal road on the site and plant a vegetative buffer to minimize noise.
City Commissioner Robin Saenger said the project would create much-needed jobs and help diversify the tax base.
"I don't see any reason why light industrial, light manufacturing, couldn't coexist with residents nearby," she said.
In other meeting news:
• The City Commission voted unanimously to begin amending city codes to allow kennels and overnight pet boarding in the city's highway business district, which includes the U.S. 19 corridor. Currently, city codes allow those pet services only if they're provided by a veterinarian. A second reading on the item will be held Jan. 27.
• A representative from Janus Research in Tampa gave a brief presentation on the survey of historic structures beginning this month.
The firm will resurvey the historic district to identify buildings that may have been missed during a 1988 study. Some nearby neighborhoods will also be included. The firm expects to have a final report prepared by June.
Rita Farlow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4162.