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St. Pete Beach tackles ordinance on development

(ran BEACH edition)

The City Commission today will discuss a new ordinance that would provide more control over future development.

The ordinance, an overhaul of St. Pete Beach's land development regulations, includes a city staff proposal on grandfathering, which is of particular interest to residents in the Pass-a-Grille neighborhood. There, a letter-writing campaign generated more than 120 letters urging the city to give "vested rights" to existing properties that do not conform to current building laws.

Pass-a-Grille residents have been eager to see the city grandfather their properties for several years because current restrictions, at the city, state and federal level, could prohibit homes and businesses from being reconstructed if they were destroyed in a hurricane.

The commission workshop will take place at 4 p.m. today at St. Pete Beach City Hall, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive. A second workshop on the same ordinance will be held at 4 p.m. July 31 at City Hall.

The public is welcome at the meetings, but public comment will not be taken until the ordinance reaches a public hearing.

_ AMY WIMMER

Gulfport

The Community Players will present their One Act Play Festival this weekend at the Catherine A. Hickman Theater of Gulfport.

The show includes nine plays from writers such as Tennessee Williams, Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna, along with original works of local writers. The show, which includes dramas and comedies, will last about two hours.

Shows will be at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. for the matinee performance Sunday. The lobby will open one hour prior to the shows, with seating beginning 30 minutes before the shows. The theater is at 5501 27th Ave. S.

Tickets cost $7. They may be purchased at the door or in advance at area retailers Gulfport Beach Bazaar, Eileen's Resale Boutique, Treasurers, Small Adventures or Class Act. For more information, call (727) 893-1070 or e-mail mshawci.gulfport.fl.us.

_ AMY WIMMER

Treasure Island

Commissioners are considering an increase in property taxes next year to improve the pension and benefit plans for city employees and the quality of their public communications.

In a workshop Tuesday, commissioners discussed the possibility of hiring an information technology coordinator to handle the city's video productions, e-mail and Web site operations as well as computer systems. The position would pay between $33,000 and $47,000, according to a proposal by City Manager Chuck Coward.

The manager developed the job description at the request of commissioners who are considering increasing the city's millage rate even higher than Coward had originally proposed. He did not include the new position in his proposed 2001-2002 budget.

The city's millage rate could increase from 2.2272 to 2.6272 under a resolution approved by commissioners earlier this month. A mill is equivalent to $1 of tax for every $1,000 of assessed property. The owner of a $225,000 home, minus the homestead exemption, would pay about $525 in property taxes.

The final budget, which takes effect Oct. 1, will be adopted in September, following a series of public hearings.

_ KATHY SAUNDERS

Indian Shores

The city has voted to leave the millage rate unchanged for 2002. With property values rising along the beaches, an unchanged millage rate still will mean higher property taxes.

One mill equals $1 of tax for each $1,000 of assessed real property. The millage rate for Indian Shores is 1.7129. The owner of a $225,000 home, minus the homestead exemption, would pay about $342 in property taxes.

_ ANDREW MEACHAM

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