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3rd member quits Dunedin panel

A third member of a citizens' board that advises city commissioners on redevelopment resigned Tuesday. The resignation came as Mayor Manuel "Manny" Koutsourais met with the board to discuss two members' earlier resignations and to urge the remaining board members not to let one defeat make them quit.

Developer Paul Engelhardt is the third member of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) advisory board to quit because of the City Commission's decision last week not to approve the expansion of the Jamaica Inn.

Engelhardt said that he was glad Koutsourais called the meeting, but that he could no longer devote his time to the board.

"I believe in Manny, but he's a minority vote" on the commission, Engelhardt said.

Koutsourais and Commissioner Tom Anderson voted in favor of motel owner Peter Kreuziger building a five-story, 50-foot-high addition to the motel on Marina Plaza. Commissioners Paul Braun, Mary Bonner and John Doglione voted against.

Koutsourais reassured the board that commissioners still are committed to redeveloping downtown.

Dan Massaro, chairman of the 13-member advisory board, and Pat McGarr, executive director of the city's Chamber of Commerce, also have resigned. But McGarr said after Tuesday's meeting that she would reconsider.

Koutsourais, Anderson and Doglione attended Tuesday's meeting. Braun said he had other commitments, Koutsourais said, and Bonner could not be reached.

Other members said they were disappointed that their suggestions were not followed. Realtor Ellie Bastedo said Kreuziger's plan should have been approved because he met all the commission's requirements.

The commission had approved Kreuziger's preliminary site plan last year but said he had to do several things before getting final approval. He repositioned the building to include a 25-foot setback and 40-foot right of way on Victoria Drive, and he provided for more parking.

City Attorney John Hubbard said commissioners had no choice but to approve the expansion.

But some residents of Victoria Drive said the 40-foot right of way belonged to them and they did not want the motel to expand.

Last week the commission, with Doglione and Bonner as new members, rejected the plan.

"It's only a small battle we lost," said advisory board member A. J. Peterson at the meeting.

"So far the commission has not said "no' enough for me to say, "the hell with it.' "