The three winners in the March 14 Madeira Beach city election pose for a photo. From left are District 4 Commissioner John Southirt, Mayor Maggi Black and District 3 Commissioner Nancy Oakley. They’re expected to be sworn in on March 28.
TREASURE ISLAND - After a lengthy discussion, Treasure Island City Commissioners accepted an offer from City Manager Reid Silverboard to resign on March 21. His last day will be May 8.
As part of the agreement, Silverboard will receive six months severance pay and benefits totaling $128,618.
Silverboard, 67, has served as the city’s manager for nearly 10 years. But in recent years he has been the target of criticism for the city’s financial problems and the possibility of returning tolls to the Treasure Island Causeway. Also, voters overwhelmingly turned down a planned development zoning district proposed by Silverboard and his staff in November.
MADEIRA BEACH - Treasure Island attorney Ken Weiss and attorney Tim Weber of St. Petersburg have filed a pair of lawsuits in the 6th Judicial Circuit to overturn a city of Madeira Beach ordinance that allows development of the proposed Madeira Beach Town Center on Madeira Way.
Both lawsuits were filed March 16.
The first lawsuit, Linda C. Hein and Sam Baker vs. City of Madeira Beach, seeks a declaratory judgment, claiming the city’s rezoning for Madeira Beach Town Center and the development agreement are inconsistent with the city’s comprehensive plan.
ST. PETE BEACH - Although phase one of the Pass-A-Grille Way road project is still a few months from completion, plans have begun on the second phase, which will stretch from 19th Avenue south to the end of the island.
As part of the consent agenda March 13, city of St. Pete Beach Commissioners approved a cooperative funding agreement with the Southwest Florida Water Management District that will provide the city up to $3.1 million of the estimated $6.246 million cost for design and construction.
Meanwhile, the completion date on the first phase of the project, which runs from West Maritana Drive south to 19th Avenue, could be as late as early July, according to City Manager Wayne Saunders. He originally estimated Nelson Construction would finish the work by late May.
REDINGTON SHORES - There were tears and cheers at the March 15 Redington Shores Town Commission meeting, as commission members and a crowd of onlookers said goodbye to two longtime commissioners, while welcoming new faces to serve on the commission.
Commission changes are rare in Redington Shores. Commissioners Lee Holmes and John Branch, who are stepping down, have both served a number of years, Holmes for nearly 20 years and Branch for 11. The mayor has also been on the commission for 11 years, and another commissioner for eight.
MADEIRA BEACH - The second major development proposed for the Madeira Beach east gateway area got a final approval from the city commission at its March 7 meeting.
The Holiday Isle Marina, to be built on the Holton property at the foot of the causeway bridge, has been significantly downsized from the original plan.
The number of buildings was reduced from six to two, and includes a 150-room hotel and a five-floor condominium building that replaces three previous seven- and nine-story structures. The number of condo units is being reduced by more than half, from 68 to 31. The buildings were also moved eastward on the property to open up the view corridors for residents living in nearby condos, and redesigned with a “fishing village” look.
Voters had their say in a number of municipal elections up and down the beaches March 14. In Madeira Beach, it was a clean sweep by opposition candidates, while two new city commissioners were elected in Treasure Island and a new mayor in St. Pete Beach.
The message was clear from voters in Madeira Beach. Opposition candidates, Maggie Black for mayor, Nancy Oakley for District 3 commissioner, and John Douthirt for District 4 commissioner, each won more than 55 percent of the vote. Mayor Travis Palladeno, seeking a third term in office, was defeated by Black in a 771 to 619 vote, a 55 percent to 45 percent margin.
Meanwhile in Treasure Island, newcomer Deborah Toth defeated longtime commissioner Phil Collins with 52.8 percent of the vote and Ralph Kennedy defeated incumbent District 3 commissioner Patrick Jeffares with a landslide victory.
TREASURE ISLAND - City commissioners have agreed to accept a settlement for $850,000 in the ongoing lawsuit with Phil Graham Landscape Architecture over cracks in the Central Beach Trail.
The mediated deal calls for the construction of a new Beach Trail and the replacement of 17 access modes to the beach, which also have cracks. The current sand wall will remain.
“The next step is to get signatures, get the engineering and design done and take off from there,” said Treasure Island Mayor Bob Minning during the March 7 City Commission meeting. “If the bid comes in at the price stipulated in the mediation agreement, we’ll be ready to go.
TREASURE ISLAND - The City Commission recently approved a resolution to change the yard waste collection schedule from twice a week to once weekly on Wednesdays.
This change will begin in April and will save fuel and disposal costs, wear and tear on sanitation vehicles, lower the city’s carbon footprint, decrease the frequency of residential truck noise, and make for a more efficient collection route.
ST. PETE BEACH - It’s part of the city of St. Pete Beach’s annual “housekeeping,” but this year a $10.07 million carryover from the fiscal 2016 budget to the current budget amounts to a nice 19 percent spike.
City commissioners passed an ordinance on first reading Feb. 28 that provides a supplemental appropriation to the city’s current $53.24 million budget. It will add to the city’s general, wastewater, reclaimed water, storm water and capital improvement funds.
Of the total, $7.7 million will go to capital projects, $206,311 to the general fund, $452,371 to wastewater, $124,662 to reclaimed water and $40,021 to storm water.
REDINGTON BEACH - Town of Redington Beach officials continued their search March 1 for the appropriate computer software to track the town’s maintenance and repair needs in a lengthy discussion with a second potential supplier of Global Information System technology.
However, commissioners withheld a decision until they could determine more precisely what their needs were.
They also said farewell to a long-serving commissioner.
MADEIRA BEACH - Just days before elections in which the mayor and two city commissioners face challenges for re-election, one Madeira Beach commission member is being ousted.
A county circuit court judge has ruled that the method the commission used to appoint Commissioner Housh Ghovaee to his District 4 commission seat was a violation of the Florida Sunshine Law.
A copy of an order issued for Sixth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Jack Day on March 6, obtained by the Beach Beacon, states in part that “the process used to fill the vacancy in office violated the Sunshine Law. Furthermore the appointment of Housh Ghovaee as District 4 commissioner is void ab initio (from the beginning).”
TREASURE ISLAND - Motorists entering the city on the Treasure Island Causeway will soon be greeted by a new welcome sign.
In addition, signs denoting Sunshine Beach and Sunset Beach will be added - all using the same style created by artist Ruth Philipon, which matches other new signs in the city. Cost of the project is $29,572.
The new welcome sign, which was approved Feb. 21 by city commissioners, will greet westbound motorists, just east of the Treasure Island Causeway Bridge. Those leaving the island will see a similar sign that will say “thank you for visiting.” The Sunshine Beach sign will be located on Gulf Boulevard at 119th Avenue, next to the Ebb Tide Motel. The Sunset Beach sign will be located at the corner of Gulf Boulevard and West Gulf Boulevard.
MADEIRA BEACH - It may be early March, but plans are already underway for this year’s John’s Pass Seafood Festival Oct. 26-29 at John’s Pass Village.
After earning the distinction of being the nation’s largest seafood festival with more than 250,000 in attendance in 2016, Director Sonny Flynn and her staff are actively booking music groups and soliciting vendors for 2017.
Among the new wrinkles planned is day rental space for restaurants that can’t commit to all four days of the event. Four spaces will be available per day over the four-day festival.
ST. PETE BEACH - In preparation for the spring season, the thrift shop at Pass-A-Grille Beach Community Church is conducting a 50 percent to 75 percent off rack clearing sale of women’s and men’s winter clothing.
In addition to the full line women’s and men’s sections, a large inventory of priced to sell quickly kitchen ware, small appliances, jewelry, drapes, bed spreads, wall pictures, books, games and toys are available for your shopping convenience.
The shop stocks only new and quality used items, donated by church and community members.
MADEIRA BEACH - Pressure from residents has apparently resulted in the second major development in the city of Madeira Beach being reduced in size and redesigned.
A revised plan that features a significant downsizing of the Holiday Isle Marina, proposed for the Holton property on the Intracoastal Waterway at the foot of the Tom Stuart Causeway Bridge, was presented at the Feb. 14 city commission meeting. The number of buildings is being reduced from the six approved in 2016 to two.
ST. PETE BEACH - City commissioners voted 3-2 on Feb. 14 to reject a conditional use permit application that would have allowed outdoor dining at the former Jackie’s Bistro on Corey Avenue.
St. Pete Beach commissioners Terri Finnerty and Melinda Pletcher, along with interim mayor Deborah Schechner, voted against the measure. Commissioners Ward Friszolowski and Rick Falkenstein voted in favor.
The new restaurant proprietor, 338 Corey LLC, and property owner Jack Buns were seeking the approval, which would have allowed 32 seats in a city right-of-way covering three parking spaces in front of the restaurant at 338 Corey Ave.
REDINGTON BEACH - Redington Beach commissioners hope to persuade some local lawmakers to drop their opposition to a proposed state bill that has the potential to end short-term rentals in the community.
However, the commission rejected a suggestion to hire a lobbyist who would shepherd the bill through the Florida Legislature.
At a Feb. 15 meeting, commissioners continued to share their anxieties over the possible fate of a bill that would allow the city to redo the process of calling a referendum on a 2008 ordinance to ban short-term rentals. Six of 10 members of the Pinellas County legislative delegation expressed support for the bill at a Jan. 31 meeting.
INDIAN SHORES - Change is in the air at Indian Shores with the election of council members Michael Hackerson and Michael Petruccelli along with the pending retirement of Town Clerk Elaine Jackson and the hiring of her replacement, Stephanie Waters. These substantive shifts in personnel were officiated at the Feb. 14 town hall meeting.
Resolutions declaring Michael Hackerson and Michael Petruccelli as elected town councilors were approved as a result of both running unopposed. Each will serve a three-year term.
A second resolution authorizing credit cards to be issued to elected officials and department heads of the town, designating official signers on the SunTrust Bank account, and designating those authorized to initiate deposits and withdrawals relative to Florida Municipal Investment Trust also was approved.