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Treasure Island condo project raises traffic concerns

TREASURE ISLAND — Access to a planned 16-unit condo complex on 107th Avenue is being scrutinized by city commissioners who want to make sure traffic congestion near the city's causeway is kept to a minimum.

Paul Skippier, developer of the 290 107th Ave. complex just east of the St. James Condominiums, told city officials he needs a median cut to allow future residents to make left turns in and out.

The project has already received site plan approval by the city's planning and zoning board.

The development is just west of the St. James bridge, which connects the Treasure Island Causeway to the island, and traffic from the causeway that is funneled through the area raised concern among commissioners and residents.

"There is a lot of commotion there for such a little area," resident Mel Lenehan said, referring to adding signs, flashing beacons and a median cut. She recommended commissioners consider visiting the highly trafficked area before making a decision.

"We could probably put one of our officers there all day and make our city budget" from the revenue generated by speeding fines, Commissioner Ken Keys said.

A traffic analysis of the condo project recommended the median access be approved as long as the driveway is moved further east, and additional signs, beacons and extra street lighting are installed.

The cost of making the improvements, estimated to be between $82,000 and $115,000, would be paid by the developer, who has already paid for the traffic study.

Community Improvement Director Paula Cohen said the property is zoned resort facilities high and having the condo development "makes a lot of sense at that location" and would generate less traffic than other allowed uses.

Commissioner Larry Lunn suggested the possibility of extending a left-turn lane at the location to make it easier for eastbound traffic.

Commissioners agreed to make a study of the location during peak traffic times before agreeing to a median cut.

In other business, commissioners approved a 5 percent pay increase for City Clerk Tiffany Makras, raising her salary from $60,000 to $63,000.