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.
A 122-room condo-hotel is now gone from the plan. The remaining 150-room hotel is being reduced from seven floors over two floors of parking to five floors over one parking floor. Residential condo units are being reduced from 68 to 31 in one five-floor building that is replacing three previous seven- and nine-story structures. A planned standalone restaurant will now be located in the hotel. A proposed marina will have 124 boat slips, which are 40 less than originally planned.
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.
REDINGTON SHORES - Members of Gulf Beach Masonic Lodge in Madeira Beach, with donated services from Pinellas Tree Service, Sarnago Sons Recycling and Material, the town of Redington Shores and Officer Tim Kennedy of the Indian Shores Police Department, helped 91-year-old John Fink, a World War II U.S. Navy veteran, clean up his residence Feb. 11.
The residence had years of overgrown trees, vegetation and accumulated debris. The day was spent trimming, raking, and filling two large dumpsters.
MADEIRA BEACH - Seven candidates with widely differing visions on the city’s future and how to get there gave their views at a candidates forum held Feb. 9 at Madeira Beach City Hall.
The Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce hosted the event.
The candidates’ answers, during nearly two hours of questioning, showed residents will have a clear choice when they cast their votes on March 14.
The District 3 and 4 commission seats and the mayor will be decided this year. Due to resignations, this election has only one candidate who was elected and has served more than six months. That is Mayor Travis Palladeno, who is seeking his third term. Palladeno is being challenged by Maggi Black, a political newcomer whose husband Jim is the city’s volunteer coordinator.
TREASURE ISLAND - When it came time to approve paying the $33,309 bill for repairs to a broken sewer line Feb. 7, the vote by the Treasure Island City Commission was fast and unanimously in favor.
Thanks to the quick reaction of city Public Works employees last month, a much worse and costlier situation was avoided.
At about 1:05 p.m. on Jan. 9, city Public Works employees were leaving the Isle of Palms following a routine inspection of Lift Stations No. 6 and No. 7. When they reached the bridge, they noticed water spraying out of a sidewalk on the southeast side of the bridge.
REDINGTON SHORES - Replacement of eroded sand on the town of Redington Shores’ prized beaches will depend on residents’ willingness to sign property easement agreements.
That message from Mayor Bert Adams at the Feb. 8 Town Commission meeting came with a warning. “This mandate has been issued by the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers,” Adams said. “If the easements are not signed, there will be no sand.”
Adams read from a summary of a letter from Sean Griffin at Pinellas County Public Works that is being sent to all affected town residents. About 30 have received the letter so far, and more notifications are coming, he said.
TREASURE ISLAND - Contest entries are now being accepted for new signs to encourage beachgoers to help keep Treasure Island beaches beautiful.
Sponsored by the city of Treasure Island, the competition is looking for original and inspiring artwork to help create new beach information signs that promote keeping the city’s beaches and waters clean and beautiful.
Entries are due by Friday, March 31. A panel of judges will select finalists in five categories. Finalists will have their original artwork featured on one of the city’s new beach information signs.
ST. PETE BEACH - The Kimpton Hotel Zamora recently announced the recent appointment of Paul Romero as the director of sales and marketing of its boutique urban oasis on St. Pete Beach.
In this role, Romero will work to spearhead Zamora’s marketing initiatives and sales plans for the hotel, oversee group, catering and banquet activities and work with the revenue team to increase total revenue and sales.
Romero joins The Kimpton Hotel Zamora with more than seven years of hotel industry experience, most recently serving as a senior sales executive at Hilton St. Petersburg. He also held previous roles as director of sales and catering at Chesapeake Hospitality in Philadelphia, sales manager at Tampa Marriott Westshore and general manager at Country Inn & Suites, Tampa Airport.
REDINGTON BEACH - Redington Beach officials expressed mixed feelings about the future of a proposed remedy for short-time rentals in the wake of two meetings in late January with local mayors and state representatives.
Vice Mayor Fred Steiermann reported he had attended a meeting of the Pinellas Legislative Delegation on Jan. 25 and the Mayors Council Jan. 31 at which a proposal that would allow Redington Beach to fix a problem with a 2008 ordinance dealing with short-term rentals was discussed. He noted members of the delegation, which is composed of state senators and representations, had voted 6-4 to move the proposal to committee in the Florida Legislature. He posed the possibility, however, that committee members could reject the bill.
Members of the Mayors Council were “unbelievably disappointed” in the vote, he added. He noted “there was work to do and we have to look for other options.”
ST. PETE BEACH - Tampa Bay Ferry and Water Taxi is seeking approval from city leaders to use a landing off a 55th Avenue seawall to drop off passengers for a proposed water taxi route from Gulfport Municipal Marina to St. Pete Beach.
The proposed route would be used primarily to transport employees to the city’s hotel district in an effort to cut down on the number of vehicles on the island. Employees would park their cars at a remote parking lot near the marina, get transportation from the parking lot to the water taxi embarkation point, take a 20-minute ride over to St. Pete Beach and disembark next to the seawall on 55th Avenue, just east of Gulf Boulevard.
The Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual dinner on Jan. 19 at the Tradewinds Island Grand Resort.
Bruce Faulmann of the Tampa Bay Times announced the 2016 Businesses Awards. The chamber opened up voting to the entire membership. After receiving a record number of nominations, the following took top honors:
- Awesome office tradition winner: Caputo Creative’s “Beer Friday” - Biggest community impact winner: TradeWinds Island Resorts for their community impact with Habitat for Humanity - Stellar staff person: Brenna Hamilton, Plaza Beach Resort - Best office canine: Otie & Duel & Associates - Top team building event: Sirata Beach Resort’s Team Building Event at Painting with a Twist.