1. St. Petersburg

City okays demolition of Driftwood house that many consider historic

The city has decided to let the Schuh family tear down this home because it has fallen into disrepair. OCTAVIO JONES | Times
Published Aug. 15

ST. PETERSBURG — In a unanimous vote, the city's Community Planning and Preservation Commission agreed Tuesday to grant a request to demolish a crumbling house in the newly approved Driftwood Historic District.

But the decision to allow demolition of the home of Daniel Schuh, 82, once a well-known St. Petersburg lawyer, came with conditions. The waterfront house at 2420 Driftwood Road SE, built in 1939 and since expanded and renovated, is considered a contributing property to the historic district.

RELATED STORY: Driftwood residents against historic designation get a courtroom boost

Only if the city's building official inspects and finds the house "unfit or unsafe for human habitation," can the demolition proceed without the required certificate of appropriateness for new construction and building permit.

The homeowner's daughter, Elizabeth Schuh, is frustrated. She said her family hired and submitted documents from a respected restoration expert, Place Architecture of St. Petersburg, that showed the extent of damage to the property and costs nearing $1 million to repair. Another report showed toxic mold, she said, adding that she doesn't understand the necessity of another inspection by the city to deem the home uninhabitable.

RELATED STORY: Once laid back, St. Petersburg's Driftwood neighborhood boils over historic designation

Like the Driftwood house, the Schuh family has deep local roots. Daniel Schuh and his brother, Charlie, a former St. Petersburg mayor, had a law practice together. Their father, Charles J. Schuh, was in the Florida House of Representatives. He was murdered in his office by the estranged husband of a client in a divorce case.

Elizabeth Schuh said the house went into disrepair following a confluence of events, including the divorce of her parents, poorly done repairs, her father's failing health and financial difficulties. "You have to lay bare all of these private details in order to get compassion," she said. "It's so incredibly hard."

An added complication is the ongoing legal fight in which her father and several other Driftwood residents are involved against the historic designation of the neighborhood off 22nd Avenue S.


  1. John Jonchuck returned to a Pinellas County courtroom last month to attend a hearing about whether he was entitled to a new trial. A judge on Tuesday ruled that he is not. SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    Jonchuck was convicted of first-degree murder in April. He dropped his 5-year-old daughter, Phoebe Jonchuck, off a bridge in 2015.
  2. A study found that two of the worst intersections in the country for running red lights are in the Tampa Bay area. Tampa Bay Times
    Two intersections are among the worst for running red lights
  3. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    The 15-year-old student was arrested Monday after shouting the threat out loud, according to St. Petersburg police.
  4. Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, a Republican, has asked for a City Council vote on a resolution asking congress for gun control measures. DOUGLAS CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    However, the Republican’s symbolic resolution will almost certainly fail.
  5. Yesterday• Pinellas
    Ele Fox, Kiwanis Club of Dunedin member, and Joe Mackin, president of the Dunedin Cares Food Pantry are pictured in front of the case of meals they received to be distributed to families in need in the Dunedin area. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Bessette. Stephanie Bessette
    Local Kiwanis clubs supply food in service project
  6. Yesterday• Pinellas
    Cleo. Photo courtesy of Friends of Stray Animal Shelter. BY MONIQUE WELCH  |  Friends of Stray Animal Shelter
    Meet Cleo.
  7. Yesterday• Pinellas
    On Aug. 3, members of local nonprofit, The Brian Bill Foundation, participated in the 31Miles for 31Heroes walk in Washington to honor fallen soldiers. Brian Bill Foundation
    Elks attend D-Day anniversary
  8. Florida Department of Transportation workers inspect damage to the Interstate 175 overpass at Sixth Street S caused by a roll-off dumpster truck that left its hydraulic arm upright, according to St. Petersburg police. The incident sent concrete falling onto Sixth Street S below. Courtesy St. Petersburg Police Department
    Sixth Street S from Fourth Avenue S to Fifth Avenue S will be closed for up to three weeks for repairs, state officials say.
  9. The inside of the former American Baptist Church of Beatitudes, located at 801 28th Ave N, is seen on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 in St. Petersburg. The church is being converted into a three-bedroom home.  ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times
    Three property owners seek approval to landmark their properties: a closed school, a former church and a house built by noted St. Petersburg architect William B. Harvard
  10. A view of the student center at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where opposition is mounting over a plan to consolidate USF's three campuses. Some state lawmakers are opposed to parts of it that would concentrate authority over academic decisions in Tampa. CHRIS URSO   |   TIMES  |
    They say the proposal by USF president Steve Currall conflicts with a new Florida law by giving too much authority to the Tampa campus.