A fire that destroyed a $3.4-million lakefront mansion in East Lake was intentionally set, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. Arson detectives Wednesday determined that the fire began in a southeast bedroom on the second floor. The investigation is continuing, officials said. The fire was reported shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesdayat 3723 Mullenhurst Drive in the Myrtle Point at Lansbrook development. The home, which officials said had been vacant for as much as two to three years, is owned by Gregory Leonberg, 49, of Morrestown, N.J., and Loretta Leonberg, 37, of Tampa, who are in the process of getting divorced.
Mayor, council can now serve longer
In the past, Clearwater's mayor has served a three-year term, but newly re-elected Mayor Frank Hibbard will get a fourth year. That's because voters Tuesday changed the city charter to lengthen the mayor and City Council's terms of office from three to four years. The existing two-term limit remains in place. Voters also agreed to let the city donate up to a half-acre of city-owned property for affordable housing; grant easements to utility companies to connect underground lines in Coachman Park; keep council members whose names appear on the ballot off the canvassing board; and kill a requirement that voters approve revenue bonds for projects that cost more than $1-million. But voters rejected a request to have the charter review committee meet every eight years instead of every five years.
City postpones mausoleum vote
City commissioners deferred their decision Tuesday night as to whether to give a family approval to build a large, private mausoleum at the edge of Lake Cycadia. The city sold the Planes family a waterfront plot of land in Cycadia Cemetery in 2004 with certain stipulations. At that time, the family planned to build three small mausoleums on the property. Recently, they sent a letter to the city requesting to change their plan to build one large mausoleum across the three contiguous plots. City staff recommended denying the request, but commissioners said they wanted more information. They are expected to consider it again Tuesday.