BELLEAIR BEACH – Because state approval of a merger of the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Pinellas Planning Council has been delayed until the spring, beach communities will need to address an interim period for current PPC delegates.
Mike Crawford, planning manager of the PPC, told members of the Barrier Islands Governmental Council Sept. 26, that final approval of the merger by Gov. Rick Scott is not expected before March and because current PPC terms expire on Dec. 31, a need has developed for an extension of the current reps on an interim basis. The extension would be from January through March.
Scott signed a special act last spring that creates a merged MPO-PPC but final approval is pending his approval of a reapportionment plan that will determine if the area keeps its present configuration or goes to a regional MPO process.
St. Pete Beach Vice Mayor Marvin Shavlin currently represents Madeira Beach, Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach on the PPC, while Indian Rocks Beach Commissioner Joanne “Cookie” Kennedy represents Belleair Beach, Bellaire Shore, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, North Redington Beach, Redington Shores and Redington Beach.
One of the two reps will be retained to represent all beach communities on the unified MPO.
The purpose of the merger, Crawford explained, is to link land use and transportation in a more meaningful manner. The combination will make development and redevelopment take place at a faster pace.
Once the merger takes place, the new MPO will have 13 members.
There will be one representative each from the beaches, Clearwater, Dunedin, Largo and Pinellas Park.
Belleair, Belleair Bluffs, Gulfport, Kenneth City, Seminole and South Pasadena combined will have a representative, as will Oldsmar, Tarpon Springs and Safety Harbor.
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will also have a rep.
Pinellas County, collectively, will have three reps and the city of St. Petersburg will have two.
In other action:
• Republican State Senate candidate Jeff Brandes spoke briefly and noted the importance of communication. “Stay focused on what you need out of Tallahassee,” he said. “We need to know what we can do as state legislators.” Brandes, who is running in November against write-in candidate Raymond Alan Baker of St. Petersburg, said he is excited to take on the issue of beach nourishment funding, as well as education funding. He said he didn’t see any meaningful legislation on the horizon regarding offshore oil drilling.
• Madeira Beach Mayor Travis Palladeno was appointed as the BIG-C representative on the county’s Tourist Development Council. He will serve a 1-year term.
• The next meeting of the BIG-C will take place Wednesday, Oct. 31, 9 a.m., at the Clearwater Sailing Center. The November-December meeting will be held Wednesday, Dec. 5, 9 a.m., at the Indian Shores Municipal Center.