TREASURE ISLAND - After more than 90 minutes of discussion, city commissioners voted 3-2 on April 4 to pass a resolution that authorizes the first phase of a study on the possibility of returning tolls to the Treasure Island Causeway.
Commissioners Ken Keys and Deborah Toth, and Mayor Bob Minning, voted for the measure while commissioners Ralph Kennedy and Larry Lunn voted against it.
Cost of the 8-month first phase is $295,107. It will be headed by Atkins North America Inc., the primary consultant for the state of Florida’s Sun Pass program and a number of other toll projects around the state.
MADEIRA BEACH - The April 11 Madeira Beach City Commission meeting agenda appeared made to order for a newly-installed commission majority getting a first experience at governing.
One page long, it listed, besides installation of the elected officials and selection of a vice mayor, an approval of the agenda and minutes, a proclamation (which was tabled because the date was wrong), an alcoholic beverage application, request to purchase a replacement vehicle and a consulting agreement with former finance director Vince Tenaglia.
Commissioner Nancy Oakley requested the addition of items dealing with charter officials and the workout facility at the City Center complex.
ST. PETE BEACH - City commissioners voted unanimously April 11 to approve a request for a conditional use permit for a mixed-use development on the site of the Coral Reef hotel property at 5750 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach.
Owners of the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort plan to build a 217-room hotel on the site with an 811-space multi-story parking garage, which will make up the proposed Sugar Sands at TradeWinds Island Grand Beach Resort. The building will include a timeshare sales center, a spa, fitness center, a marketing office and a reception area.
The proposed height is 116 feet, which is the reason for the conditional use permit.
REDINGTON SHORES - Last month, at a workshop session, the Redington Shores Town Commission appeared ready to approve the use of speed tables as a way to control speeding motorists on 175th Avenue East.
However, residents who were strongly opposed to that plan, along with a few in favor, packed town hall and voiced their opinions at the April 12 regular commission meeting.
The residents’ opposition caused the Town Commission to put off any approval of speed tables for 175th Avenue or any other town road for at least 90 days. Another workshop will be held on the issue Wednesday, April 26, at 6 p.m., Mayor Bert Adams said.
INDIAN SHORES - Town engineer Bob Brotherton provided the annual update on the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System at the April 11 Indian Shores Town Hall meeting.
The presentation was suggested by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Brotherton made an eight-point presentation with accompanying documentation, which included a brief summary of Pinellas County’s fertilizer ordinance, the value of reclaimed water to reduce fertilizer requirements, a larger map of reclaimed water locations, Pinellas County fertilizer use regulations adopted by Indian Shores, fertilizer best practices, the difference between storm drains and sewer drains, storm water regulations and illicit discharge, and pool de-chlorination safety data.
NORTH REDINGTON BEACH - After the town’s old sign ordinance was recently found to be unconstitutional in federal district court, the North Redington Beach Town Commission sought the advice of an expert to amend the ordinance, leading to a newly-revised sign ordinance, which passed unanimously on its first hearing April 13.
John Messmore, owner of Sweet Sage Café, was cited in 2015 for signage in violation of the town’s pre-existing sign ordinance. Messmore pursued and won a lawsuit against the town regarding whimsical signs he affixed to the fence around the parking lot of his business. The judge ruled in Messmore’s favor, citing the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
As a result, the old sign ordinance has been repealed and consultant Steve Suzanski submitted recommendations for a new ordinance in a detailed 22-page report with an attached 39 pages of exhibits. The new ordinance omits the offending sections of the old ordinance in order to be constitutionally sound.
TIERRA VERDE - Tierra Verde Community Association member Bill Beason spoke about crime and initiating a Neighborhood Watch program in Tierra Verde during discussion at the April 10 meeting.
Beason had a personal reason for bringing the issue to the TVCA. On March 27, at approximately 9 a.m., an unknown subject walked into Beason’s open garage, unlocked his vehicle, and rifled through the car’s console.
A vigilant neighbor scared off the perpetrator and called 911. Beason was frustrated by the fact that, when the call came in, the deputy on duty was at a meeting without backup coverage and that one of the community’s multiple security cameras had been inoperable for an unknown period of time.
REDINGTON BEACH - Redington Beach Town commissioners have unanimously approved a resolution asking Florida lawmakers to reject any more proposals to cut back home rule powers.
The April 5 action was a pushback against new attempts by the legislature to limit the ability of municipalities to make and enforce their own rules.
After the commission passed the resolution, Mayor Nick Simons said he hoped the action would “send them [the legislature] a message” and called for cities and towns statewide to pass similar resolutions.
ST. PETE BEACH - In honor of National Child Abuse Awareness Month, Boulevard Burgers & Tap House has teamed up with Angels Against Abuse to raise funds for the organization’s local foster care system.
The St. Pete restaurant has released The Pretzilla Burger, an 8-ounce Boulevard Burger featuring pepper jack cheese, fried jalapeno poppers and a spicy chipotle sauce wrapped into a soft pretzel bun. One dollar for every burger sold this April will go straight to the charity.
“This news is so exciting,” said Sandy Kearney, founder of Angels Against Abuse, in a press release. “Thank you and your staff at Boulevard Burgers for choosing Angels Against Abuse as their local charity for National Abuse Awareness Month. Children are our future, and it is only thanks to businesses and organizations like yours that give hope to these children for a better tomorrow for the children and youth who are victims of child abuse and neglect. From the bottom of our hearts, the Angels thank you for helping us to help them!”
INDIAN SHORES - The town of Indian Shores offers, as part of its recreational program, oil painting for beginners and intermediates.
The class is continuous and meets Thursdays, 1 to 3:30 p.m., in the community room of the Indian Shores Municipal Building, 19305 Gulf Blvd., Indian Shores.
New students begin with basic fundamentals and move toward working independently from their own photographs or subject matter. More experienced painters share with others and are glad to offer tips and help. Class time consists of demos, instructional time, painting time, and critiques. The class is kept to a small number so that the instructor can work with each student individually.
ST. PETE BEACH - St. Pete Beach City commissioners voted unanimously March 29 to approve a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with the International Association of Firefighters Local 4966.
The new agreement is retroactive to Oct. 1 and continues through Sept. 30, 2019.
Among the more significant points, the firefighters’ retirement system and pension plan will be changed only through mutual consent of the city and the union. In the previous agreement, pension changes were not specifically addressed.
REDINGTON SHORES - After failing to control an ongoing speeding problem on one of the most traveled side streets, the Redington Shores Town Commission is turning to a speed-inhibiting device many residents oppose.
A commission majority at the March 29 town workshop agreed to try “speed tables,” which are similar to speed bumps but offer a softer ride-over with less jolt, to try to slow motorists on 175th Avenue East.
Speeding on the road has been an issue for years, said Mayor Bert Adams. Vice Mayor Tom Kapper added that the town has had complaints about speeding on the street for years.
The 2017 theme, Destination Marketing in Economic Uncertainty, will be presented by one of Christopher Pike, director of impact studies and one of Tourism Economics’ leading strategists. Pike will survey the state of the U.S. and global economies and share his firm’s view of the implications for the U.S. travel industry over the coming year. Pike also will present recent analysis on the essential role of destination marketing and strategies for maximizing returns amidst current economic shifts.
MADEIRA BEACH - You have to look hard to find it but when you do, you realize you have come to what can only be described as a place where the locals go - a place that the neighborhood embraces, a Florida version of “Cheers,” the legendary Boston bar where “everybody knows your name.”
The place is Castaways TacoRita & Beach Bar, 13437 Gulf Blvd., in Madeira Beach. It opened just a few months ago, in July 2016, and so far, according to the owners, it has been as successful as they hoped.
NORTH REDINGTON BEACH - Due to the late date of the municipal election on March 14, the Town of North Redington Beach held its March meeting a week later than usual on March 16.
Town Attorney Jay Daigneault officiated at the swearing in of the newly elected board members at the start of the meeting.
Mayor Bill Queen and Town Commissioner Gary Curtis both ran unopposed. Incumbent Commissioner Richard Bennett won his re-election bid against opponent Jeff Busch for Seat 1. Busch had previously served on the NRB Commission in the 1990s and left in 2003.
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.