Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Treasure Island developers want higher density ruling

It’s been three years since this pirate was a landmark along Gulf Boulevard in Treasure Island. Owners of the Buccaneer Motel site want the city to study allowing higher-density development.

Times files (1997)

It’s been three years since this pirate was a landmark along Gulf Boulevard in Treasure Island. Owners of the Buccaneer Motel site want the city to study allowing higher-density development.

TREASURE ISLAND — Developers of the vacant Buccaneer Motel property on Gulf Boulevard hope to persuade voters here to allow higher density development along the city's central beachfront.

Tuesday, the City Commission will consider the developer's offer to pay for hiring consultants to work with city officials, residents and business owners to develop a special plan for a 15-block area on the beach.

A new county ordinance allows local municipalities to increase density and building height for new hotels and motels in an effort to encourage development of transient lodging for tourists.

Such a move in Treasure Island would need a citywide referendum.

"We realize that we can pay for it and go all the way to the end and this community can still say no," said Al Cohen, who is representing the property owners.

During a workshop session earlier this month, the commission appeared split 3-2 in favor of Cohen's proposal.

Commissioner Ed Gayton Jr. was most strongly opposed, charging that the special plan would "back door" the voters' intent when the city charter was changed in 2002.

"I share the same concerns. This may not be a back door, but sure seems like a kitchen window approach," said Commissioner Alan Bildz.

City Manager Reid Silverboard stressed the proposed plan would closely involve city residents and would be subject to a referendum before it could go into effect.

"I would like to see this move forward," said Commissioner Bob Minning. "It makes sense to have a special area plan for central beach. I would love to see this move forward, go in front of voters and let them decide."

Mayor Mary Maloof and Commissioner Phil Collins also supported creating a special development district on the beach.

"Otherwise, we are going to have great views of the water from here on in. There will be nothing out there," said Maloof.

The proposed special development area would include the west side of Gulf Boulevard from 104th to 119th avenues, said Silverboard.

The city's current regulations have an upper limit of 50 transient units per acre. The county ordinance allows up to 100 units.

The property owners hope to develop the property as a boutique hotel that would include standard hotel rooms as well as hotel suites. Such a hotel must have a minimum of 130 units to be profitable, according to the owners. Only 77 would be allowed under current regulations.

Silverboard said the proposed hotel on the site might also require additional height to accommodate another parking floor.

If the commission accepts the owner's offer, the process to create a special area plan could take up to 18 months.

The commission is also interested in developing a new visioning plan for the city, provided an outside source of funding can be identified. The city last formally conducted a visioning process in 1998.

The 1.5-acre property, located at 10800 Gulf Blvd., has been vacant since the former Buccaneer Motel was demolished in 2005.

Last year, more code violations were cited for "building rubble, refuse, trash, junk and lumber" accumulated on the property. The owner at the time, TI Group Investments, was fined $500 a day, an amount that grew to $10,500 over a two-month period.

The property was eventually cleaned up, but the fines remained as a lien against the property.

Treasure Island Property Development, new owner of the property, paid $15,000 toward the lien and was forgiven the balance by the city.

Treasure Island developers want higher density ruling 11/11/08 [Last modified: Friday, November 14, 2008 9:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The mayor's race has been making headlines for nearly two months as Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker have been making speeches, pressing the flesh at fundraisers and gathering their ground forces for an election battle that has already broken fundraising records.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  2. Tampa moves to pause permits for 5G wireless equipment to assess impact of new Florida law


    To business groups, the bill that Gov. Rick Scott signed Friday will clear the way for superfast 5G wireless communications and give Florida an edge in attracting high-tech companies.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and other local officials have worried that a new state law aimed at facilitating the installation of 5G wireless technology could clutter scenic corridors like Tampa's Riverwalk.
  3. Trump takes another swipe at CNN after resignations over retracted Russia story


    NEW YORK — President Donald Trump used the resignations of three CNN journalists involved in a retracted Russia-related story to resume his attack on the network's credibility Tuesday.

    Anthony Scaramucci, a senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, talks to reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. [Associated Press]
  4. Clearwater woman dies after losing control of SUV, flipping in Palm Harbor


    A Clearwater woman died early Tuesday morning when she lost control of her SUV and crashed in Palm Harbor, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  5. Countryside alum A.J. Andrews lands in ESPN's annual body issue


    A.J. Andrews has taken over the spotlight in softball. Last year, the former Countryside High and LSU standout became the first female to win a Rawlings Gold Glove in the award's 59-year existence.

    Former LSU/Countryside softball player AJ Andrews, now w/ Akron, is the first female to win a Rawlings Gold Glove in the award's 59-year history. (Courtesy of Rawlings)