Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Developer appeals County Commission decision against Safety Harbor apartments

Protesters against the proposed apartment complex gather alongside State Route 590, east of McMullen-Booth Road, on May 6.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Protesters against the proposed apartment complex gather alongside State Route 590, east of McMullen-Booth Road, on May 6.

SAFETY HARBOR — After nearly a year of street protests, petitions and a seemingly endless list of complaints, Safety Harbor activists rejoiced when the Pinellas County Commission struck down plans for a large, upscale apartment complex.

But the Richman Group, the West Palm Beach developers behind the project, filed an appeal for an administrative hearing Tuesday that essentially said: We're down, but we're not out.

"What my client wanted to do was build a nice residential community," said Ed Armstrong of Clearwater, attorney for the Richman Group. "You have an awful lot of policy makers and land use professionals that assessed this case, and they also came to the conclusion this change was appropriate."

The County Commission unanimously vetoed a needed zoning change from industrial to residential May 7, even after developers squeezed the proposal past Safety Harbor commissioners and several other boards and committees, revising it several times.

The proposed complex would be on State Road 590 just east of McMullen-Booth Road, on the site of the now-defunct Firmenich citrus plant.

County commissioners said they denied the proposal because of concerns Pinellas County is losing too much industrial property and is becoming a "bedroom community" with few jobs.

But they also seemed influenced by the hundreds of letters from Safety Harbor residents who said the complex would increase traffic, damage the environment, decrease property values, bring in too many people, and be too tall, too ugly and too isolated. The proposed apartment complex was so bad, residents argued, that they would welcome an industrial plant instead, even without knowing what kind of industrial use would be there.

Among other points, the Richman Group's appeal states that the County Commission's decision to deny a zoning change wasn't supported by evidence, and the county has net-gained 80 acres of industrial land since 2006.

The petition also argues the land is not appropriate for a factory because it is bordered on two sides by single-family homes and there isn't adequate street access for a major industrial facility.

Under the appeal process, an administrative law judge will make a non-binding recommendation and send the proposal back through the Pinellas Planning Council and the County Commission. That could take eight months or more.

Developer appeals County Commission decision against Safety Harbor apartments 05/29/13 [Last modified: Thursday, May 30, 2013 12:05am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Observations from a liberal, gay, Latino, feminist Florida House freshman

    Blogs

    State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando,  rocked the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus dinner at Tallahassee's Hotel Duval Satursday night with his unabashedly liberal and passionate take on the myriad issues he said are key to LGBTQ Floridians. Among them: Access to guns, Reproductive rights, home …

    Carlos G. Smith
  2. Delta Sigma Theta honors outgoing national president

    Human Interest

    During her four years as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Paulette Walker said she always focused on the comma between "Sorority" and "Inc."

    Paulette Walker, the former director of undergraduate programs and internship in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, will be honored on Saturday for her leadership in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
  3. 10 sailors missing, 5 hurt in collision of USS John S. McCain

    SEOUL —Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five have been injured after the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore early Monday morning.

    In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain patrols in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region. The guided-missile destroyer collided with a merchant ship on Monday, Aug. 21, in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. Ten sailors were missing, and five were injured, the Navy said. [James Vazquez/U.S. Navy via AP]
  4. Pasco County Fire Rescue fighting a two-alarm fire started by an explosion

    Fire

    Two houses are on fire and one victim has been critically burned and taken to a trauma center following an explosion at a home at 8652 Velvet Dr, in Port Richey.

  5. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.