Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

Tarpon voters face decision on city nursing home sale

TARPON SPRINGS — In 1995, Tarpon voters approved the sale of the city-owned nursing home on Walton Avenue.

The sale never happened, but in a few days, voters will be asked to approve it again.

The Burnard Group, a New Port Richey property management and development company, wants to purchase and renovate the long-vacant and dilapidated former nursing home and open a 100-bed assisted living facility with the capability of housing Alzheimer's patients.

Burnard has agreed to pay $813,000 for the 3.4-acre parcel and has reached a development agreement with the city.

Under the city charter, the property can't be sold unless voters approve. So this referendum question will appear on the March 11 city election ballot:

"The City proposes to sell an approximately 3.4-acre parcel at 501 S. Walton Ave. for its appraised value of $813,000 subject to the terms of an approved Development Agreement. The property formerly operated as a nursing home and has been vacant and deteriorating for nearly 10 years. The City desires to sell it to allow for redevelopment as a multi-care assisted living facility and generate new tax revenue. Shall this sale be approved?"

The ALF will employ 60 to 100 people and pay the city about $13,000 per year in property taxes. No zoning or land use amendments will be necessary for the project.

The city has been involved with the Walton Avenue property since the late 1970s, when a nonprofit borrowed more than $2 million to build the nursing home. Tax laws at the time required that the city become the owner after the debt was retired.

In 1995, the city wanted to sell the property to the company that had leased and operated the nursing home since 1982, Beverly Enterprises. Voters approved the sale in a referendum.

But negotiations dragged on and lawsuits against Beverly made the company lose interest in the purchase. Another operator took over the lease, but by 2004, that operator pulled out and moved residents to other accommodations.

The building has been empty since then. While the city had hoped for a developer to propose some new and exciting use of the property, Burnard, with its plan to renovate rather than build, provided the first solid offer.

The city has negotiated a tough development agreement with Burnard to spur quick improvements on the property.

Within six months of the sale, Burnard must remove overgrown landscaping, install new plants and paint the facade. By 12 months, stucco must be repaired and windows replaced.

If the ALF doesn't have a certificate of occupancy within 30 months, the developer will have to pay a penalty of $1,000 a week.

Diane Steinle can be reached at (727) 445-4152 or [email protected]

Comments
The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

For the second straight week, the Buccaneers had the ball in the final minutes of a tie game.For the second straight week, they could not finish.As disappointing as that might be, they have a larger problem, and one that has existed all season: The B...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

TAMPA — A 24-year-old aide at Buchanan Middle School was arrested Monday and charged with using Instagram to ask for sex and nude photos from female students at the school, deputies said.Between Sept. 1 and the time of his arrest, Quinton J. Bradford...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
New tracking system could help put a dent in juvenile car theft epidemic

New tracking system could help put a dent in juvenile car theft epidemic

LAKE MARY — Hundreds more juveniles who steal cars each year could be kept off the streets under a new tool approved by a Department of Juvenile Justice committee Tuesday, a move that could put a dent in a dangerous local car theft epidemic.Secretary...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pinellas construction board prepares to lose independence

Pinellas construction board prepares to lose independence

LARGO — Members of the Pinellas County agency that oversees contractor licensing cried foul in January when elected officials sought to fold the board into county government.They were mostly quiet this week as they received word on plans to make that...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

TAMPA — Police were searching Tuesday for a missing 15-year-old Plant City girl who disappeared from a Tampa girls school.Zoe Warren was last seen about 8 a.m. Monday at the PACE Center for Girls, 1933 E. Hillsborough Ave., where she attends school, ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

LARGO — Daniel Richards, on trial for the murder of his 83-year-old mother, began his own criminal defense on Tuesday by asking a few questions to the pool of prospective jurors."If you were accused of killing your mother, would you want to represent...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Two of St. Petersburg’s assistant police chiefs leaving next month

Two of St. Petersburg’s assistant police chiefs leaving next month

ST. PETERSBURG — Two assistant police chiefs are stepping down next month, leaving two of the three of the second-in-command jobs vacant at the St. Petersburg Police Department.Assistant Chief Jim Previtera announced this week that he will resign fro...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ex-Facebook VP: Social media destroying society with ‘dopamine-driven feedback loops’

Ex-Facebook VP: Social media destroying society with ‘dopamine-driven feedback loops’

Washington PostA former Facebook executive is making waves after he spoke out about his "tremendous guilt" over growing the social network, which he feels has eroded "the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other."Chamath Paliha...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Largo man arrested after passenger falls out of minivan and dies

Largo man arrested after passenger falls out of minivan and dies

PLANT CITY — A Largo man struck a pedestrian with a minivan last Friday, authorities said. Five minutes later, his female passenger was fatally struck by on-coming traffic after falling out of the vehicle.Plant City police arrested Todd Charles Riggs...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Former Tampa police sergeant to be sentenced in tax fraud case

Former Tampa police sergeant to be sentenced in tax fraud case

TAMPA — LaJoyce Houston admits that she benefitted from the proceeds of tax refund fraud.But the former Tampa police sergeant denies that she was ever an active participant in a fraud scheme, according to a memo filed in her federal criminal case. An...
Updated: 2 hours ago