Friday, January 19, 2018
News Roundup

Zephyrhills City Council rejects brownfield proposal

ZEPHYRHILLS — A divided City Council shot down plans to seek brownfield status for about 1,100 acres near the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport, siding with landowners who worried about the stigma such a designation could bring.

The aim of the designation is to pave the way for current and future businesses to take advantage of special tax breaks and financial incentives, such as job creation rebates, said Melanie Kendrick, a senior county planner who specializes in economic development and redevelopment.

At the council meeting Monday evening, council president Kenneth Compton joined members Charles Proctor and Ken Burgess in the 3-2 vote killing the proposal.

Proctor and Burgess said that while they favor economic incentives, they could not go along with putting the brownfield designation on any property not owned by the city. Individuals and businesses can apply for the designation on their own, Proctor noted, adding that he was contacted by at least one property owner who was against it.

Such a designation is historically connected to contaminated land, but since 1997 the Department of Environmental Protection has offered the brownfield designation as a voluntary program for those who "want to come forward to be good stewards of the land," Kendrick explained after the meeting. The incentives can go to properties that face a range of development challenges, even if they're not actually polluted.

"We're not claiming anyone's property is contaminated," City Planner Todd Vande Berg told the council. "This is just a designation that will bring financial and economic incentives."

One land owner, Harold Hinsz, was the only person to speak against the designation at the meeting.

When he said he did not want his property included in the area, Vande Berg and Kendrick said it would be removed from the proposal. Businessman Kevin Barr, representing the Zephyrhills Alliance, said the majority of its members supported the designation.

"If this helps economic development, we are 100 percent for it," he said.

Mayor Steve Van Gorden said he supported the designation and after its defeat, suggested he would like the issue readdressed. City Manager Jim Drumm said the only way that can happen is for one of the council members who defeated the proposal to request putting it back on the agenda.

Comments

High school scoreboard for Jan. 19

Friday’s scoreboardBoys soccerIndian Rocks Christian 2, Lakewood 1Lennard 3, Spoto 0Girls soccerPCAC Championship: Largo 3, Osceola 1Lennard 8, Spoto 0
Updated: 1 hour ago

Four people linked to Tampa carjacking captured hours later

TAMPA — It took officers just 27 minutes Friday night to capture four people who they said stole a car from its owner.The incident started outside the Ybor Coffee Shop at 5:45 a.m. A group approached the driver as he sat in his 2010 Toyota Corolla. T...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

The state has opened an investigation into CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay, days after the Tampa Bay Times asked about whether the two regional job centers were inflating the number of people they had helped get hired. The agencies, ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Florida National Guard soldier killed, five injured in Sebring crash

SEBRING — A soldier with the Florida National Guard was killed and five others were hospitalized after a multi-vehicle crash on Friday, officials said.The crash took place at about 1 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. 27 and Hammock Road.The soldiers ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

NEW PORT RICHEY — Two New Port Richey men face charges after Pasco County deputies say they stole about $11,000 worth of cellphones and cellphone equipment at a Metro PCS store on State Road 54.Robert Jackson and Ronald Hartshorn were arrested Wednes...
Updated: 3 hours ago
U.S. Attorney: Tampa woman uses soul food restaurant as part of scheme to steals thousands

U.S. Attorney: Tampa woman uses soul food restaurant as part of scheme to steals thousands

TAMPA — The owner of a soul and seafood restaurant is facing more than 10 years in federal prison for filing dozens of false tax returns and stealing thousands of dollars, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.Natalie Rene Panko, 57, owner of Ladie...
Updated: 3 hours ago
That noise you hear from MacDill is low-flying A-10 Warthogs in training

That noise you hear from MacDill is low-flying A-10 Warthogs in training

TAMPA — If you hear loud noises coming from MacDill Air Force Base over the next few days, don’t be alarmed.It’s the sound of flying hogs.A squadron of A-10C Warthogs, beloved by troops in the field for their ability to swoop low and slow and tear ap...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Autopsy: drugs found in MLB star Roy Halladay’s system after plane crash

Autopsy: drugs found in MLB star Roy Halladay’s system after plane crash

When former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died in a plane crash in November, he had amphetamines, morphine and the sleep aid zolpidem in his system, according to an autopsy report.Halladay, 40, died from blunt force trauma with drowning ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
USF leaders move to calm fears over consolidation plan

USF leaders move to calm fears over consolidation plan

ST. PETERSBURG — Holding a piece of computer paper and a microphone, the leader of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg began a Friday afternoon forum by repeating the USF administration’s new mantra.He reassured the crowd before him that t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Family: Tom Petty died of accidental drug overdose

Family: Tom Petty died of accidental drug overdose

LOS ANGELES — Rocker Tom Petty died last year from "multisystem organ failure" caused by accidental drug toxicity, the Los Angeles County Coroner said Friday.An autopsy found that Petty had several drugs in his system including fentanyl, oxycodone, t...
Updated: 4 hours ago