Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas County Commission reaffirms Airco Golf Course revamp plans

CLEARWATER — The Pinellas County Commission reaffirmed the plans to redevelop Airco Golf Course on Tuesday, despite the proposal's stiff rejection by a county advisory board.

Commissioners voted 6-1 to move ahead with the St. Petersburg Clearwater International Airport's plans to convert the 129-acre course off Ulmerton Road into hotels, industrial and aviation businesses over a decade. Commissioner John Morroni, a resident of nearby Feather Sound, voted no.

On Dec. 16, the Pinellas Planning Council — an advisory board of elected officials including Morroni — voted 12-0 to reject the county's plan.

Morroni and other council members questioned the wisdom of adding more traffic to congested Ulmerton Road without firm traffic improvement plans.

Even with construction projects through 2030, Ulmerton would remain a failing road under Pinellas' rating system. The projects could add thousands of trips a day there.

Council members also wanted protections imposed now for a 60-acre buffer section between the site and Feather Sound. That land includes wetlands and an archaeological site. Only a firm protection would put neighbors at ease, Morroni said.

The council isn't against redeveloping the course, which lost money last year, but found the county's "incremental" planning left too much to be decided later, council executive director Dave Healey said.

"Let's go back and do this right," Healey told the commission, summing up the council's reaction, which went against its staff recommendation.

Instead, top county officials asked the commission to take the legally required supermajority vote to rezone the land and move the plan ahead. County officials promised a full master plan of the development will be approved, with road improvements, before work begins.

They also noted the commission decided in November to protect the buffer zone between the airport and Feather Sound — a decision neighborhood resident Michael Schlensker said should be binding.

"I don't see that we're that far off honestly, despite a 12-0 vote by the PPC," Commissioner Ken Welch said.

But designating the land for preservation now might rattle the Federal Aviation Administration, which has to approve the plans and looks down on preservation space, airport director Noah Lagos said. While other steps to save the buffer could work, the county also might lose flexibility to develop other areas of the course.

"We are committed to the buffer of that site with the adjacent residential (area) — period," County Administrator Bob LaSala said.

The plan still needs state approval and a final vote by the commission.

David DeCamp can be reached at ddecamp@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8779.

Pinellas County Commission reaffirms Airco Golf Course revamp plans 01/05/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 3:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

    Blogs

    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Tampa Bay Times honored for top investigative story in Gerald Loeb annual business awards

    Business

    The Tampa Bay Times was a co-winner in the investigative category for one of the highest honors in business journalism.

    Tampa Bay Times current and former staff writers William R. Levesque, Nathaniel Lash and Anthony Cormier were honored in the investigative category for their coverage of "Allegiant Air" in the 60th Anniversary Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. 
[JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times

]

  3. Pasco woman gives birth to child fathered by 11 year old, deputies say

    Crime

    A Port Richey woman was arrested Tuesday, nearly three years after deputies say she gave birth to a child fathered by an 11-year-old boy.

    Marissa Mowry, 25, was arrested Tuesday on charges she sexually assaulted an 11-year-old and gave birth to his child. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.