Advertisement
  1. Pinellas

Belleair Golf Club wants a waterfront hole on town land

Shown is the vacant property in Hallett Park that Belleair officials may lease to the Belleair Golf Club. TOM GERMOND | Special to the Times
Published Aug. 22

BELLEAIR — Belleair Golf Club President Hal Bodley said that on one of his frequent golf trips, he played the iconic No. 7 hole at Pebble Beach, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

His wife, Patricia, took a picture as he hit a golf ball onto the green. He had the photo enlarged, took it home and placed on a large frame in his office.

"That hole has always been a passion for me," Bodley said at a recent Town Commission meeting.

Bodley wants to share that passion by creating a golf hole overlooking Clearwater Harbor at the northern tip of Hallett Park, and he received support from town officials for his plan. The parcel is west of Bayview Drive north of Waterfall Park.

Under a proposal presented to town commissioners before a full house at Town Hall, club representatives asked commissioners to consider an agreement that would allow the club to create the hole and lease the town property for 60 years if all renewal options were exercised. Commissioners said they are willing to negotiate with the club.

"We want it to be a win-win situation for everybody involved because it's going to help the country club, and we think in the long run it might help the town of Belleair," Bodley said.

Under the agreement, the country club would pay $100,000 to the town at the start of the lease, which has an initial term of 20 years.

For the first five years of the lease, the club would pay $10,000 annually. For the next five years the rent would increase to $10,500 per year. The rent would increase incrementally annually under the proposal.

The club would be responsible for all maintenance of the land and all improvements on it.

In addition, the club would agree to rebuild the entire seawall along the point from Waterfall Park to the northern part of the property that is owned by the club, said David Phillips, an attorney representing the club.

"Leasing this property would allow the town to avoid the not-too-distant expense of rebuilding the seawall along the southern portion of the point. We estimate the town's portion of the seawall, which is approximately 300 linear feet, will cost in excess of $100,000 to rebuild," he said.

That was a leading point of consideration for Mayor Gary Katica, who said the seawall was built in 1940 and could fall at any time.

"It's run by simple hydraulics. By simple hydraulics, I mean all you need is a low tide, heavy rain, and the seawall goes," he said.

"The town could lose up to $300,000, and that's why I see this as a win-win situation for the town of Belleair," Katica said, drawing heavy applause from the audience.

"I think the price is a bit low,'' Commissioner Tom Shelly said. "However, I think it would add value to our town."

The town has spent more than $30 million since 2008 on infrastructure projects and has more than $20 million in needed projects, Shelly said.

Commissioner Tom Kurey agreed.

"We certainly have a lot of obligations," he said.

He added that if a deal is approved, some of the lease funds could be used to maintain other parks and renovate Hallett Park.

Commissioner Karla Rettstatt said the proposal will be a great way to generate revenue. However, she added that the club's offer has to be better.

"It's just not enough money," she said.

Some residents spoke against the proposed lease at the meeting, including Nancy Hartshorne, who said the Hallett family donated the land to the town to be preserved.

"This completely contradicts the Halletts' intent, when they so generously donated this unique piece of property to us," she said.

The land was never meant to fall into private hands by sale or lease, Hartshorne said.

"This bluff, our bluff, is the only stretch of land for miles around that if viewed from the water is unmarred by the hand of man," she said.

Lissa Dexter, who is a member of the town's Park Board, said she hopes before the commission votes on the lease issue, the Park Board will have a chance to discuss it. The property in question, she said, could be included as part of the discussion on the restoration of Hallett Park.

Commissioners voted 4-0 to authorize Town Manager J.P. Murphy and Town Attorney David Ottinger to continue negotiations with the county club. An appraisal of the property also will be ordered. Commissioner Michael Wilkinson was absent.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Reynaldo Figueroa-Sanabria, accused of stabbing and killing John Travlos and Germana Morin aboard their houseboat in 2013, testified on his own behalf at his murder trial in Pinellas County this week. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    It took the jury about four hours to find Reynaldo Figueroa-Sanabria guilty. Next they must decide whether to send him to Florida’s death row.
  2. Casey Cane has resigned as chair of Pinellas County’s Housing Finance Authority in the wake of a Tampa Bay Times story about his failure to disclose an arrest for a financial felony when he was 19. He also serves as a Palm Harbor fire commissioner. Casey Cane
    Casey Cane failed to disclose his arrest for a financial felony in 2006. He said he didn’t think he had to reveal that information.
  3. A federal judge gas stayed the Nov. 7 execution of death row inmate James Dailey, 73, for the 1985 murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio. Left: Dailey at his 1987 trial, where he was convicted and sentenced to death. Middle: Dailey in 1993, when he was again sentenced to die. Right: The most current photo of Dailey on Florida's Death Row. Tampa Bay Times
    Dailey was set to be put to death Nov. 7. A judge ordered his execution to be postponed to give his attorneys time to present their claims. But the state can appeal.
  4. In this undated photo from the Tampa Bay Times archives, Betty Jean Miller sits at her desk in the newsroom. Mrs. Miller was a columnist and staff writer for the Evening Independent and the St. Petersburg Times for nearly 30 years. Tampa Bay Times
    A lifelong St. Petersburg resident, she reported on community events in her hometown. Mrs. Miller died last week at age 88.
  5. Herman Lindsey, a former death row inmate who was exonerated, holds a letter that he and other wrongfully convicted men delivered Tuesday to the office of Gov. Ron DeSantis, asking him to stop the execution of James Dailey. Witness to Innocence
    Former death row inmates delivered a letter to the governor’s office Tuesday asking him to stay the execution of James Dailey over questions of innocence. DeSantis won’t budge.
  6. Pat and Harvey Partridge visit Waiheke Island in New Zealand in April. Courtesy of David Partridge
    The husband-and-wife team that founded St. Petersburg’s Partridge Animal Hospital were known for their compassion and kindness to all creatures great and small.
  7. Reynaldo Figueroa-Sanabria, charged with murder in the stabbing deaths of John Travlos and Germana Morin aboard Travlos' houseboat in 2013, takes the stand in his own defense Tuesday. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    Reynaldo Figueroa-Sanabria, accused of killing two aboard a houseboat in 2013, told a different version of the same story his girlfriend told. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
  8. Adjunct faculty at St. Petersburg College voted to unionize Tuesday, joining thousands of other adjuncts across Florida who are fighting for better working conditions and pay. [Times]
    The employees are the seventh group in Florida to join Service Employees International Union in recent yeas as it pushes for investment in the state’s higher education institutions.
  9. The Florida Supreme Court building in Tallahassee. SCOTT KEELER  |  Times
    The Tampa Bay Partnership, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. filed a brief in the Florida Supreme Court.
  10. Tech Data's headquarters in Largo. TD AGENCY  |  Courtesy of Tech Data
    Largo’s Tech Data would be the fourth in as many years, though the potential sale seems far from a done deal.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement