INDIAN SHORES - The site plan for Ocean 9, a multi-family condominium project at 19738 Gulf Blvd., was approved by the Indian Shores Town Council Dec. 9.
When complete, the project will consist of nine units and four levels over parking.
According to Mayor Jim Lawrence, the site plan approval is just the first step in a long process that includes approval of the construction plans by the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Florida Department of Transportation and a second approval by the Town Council.
MADEIRA BEACH - City Commission members had high praise for Madeira Beach City Manager Shane Crawford’s performance, before rewarding him with a salary increase of nearly 10 percent. Crawford will be paid $135,600 a year beginning in 2015. He was hired in 2012 at a salary of $117,000.
The commissioners’ evaluations of Crawford’s performance indicated they believed he is worth every penny of his new salary, and more.
Commissioner Elaine Poe said he received “100 percent in every category” of his evaluation from every commission member.
REDINGTON SHORES - A property owner seeking to build a home higher and with fewer setbacks than allowed by the Redington Shores town code had his setback requests approved, but the height variance was turned down.
A Town Commission vote Dec. 10 confirmed earlier decisions by Special Magistrate Thomas Trask on the variance requests. The rulings by Trask had been appealed.
Neighbors near the proposed home at 17812 Lee Ave., Redington Shores, opposed allowing a reduced setback on the seaward side. Greg MacMinn cited environmental concerns in his objection. MacMinn said the setback rule, which requires homes to be built behind the FDOT’s coastal construction line, is needed to protect the beach and nesting turtles. Another neighbor to the property, former Commissioner Casey Wojcik, said he agreed.
TREASURE ISLAND - Five suspects were arrested Dec. 8 and eight are still at large as the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and Treasure Island Police Department conclude a long-term undercover narcotics investigation dubbed Operation Sand Storm.
The investigation began in July and concluded in December. The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Treasure Island police to identify and conduct multiple narcotics transactions with 13 different suspect.
MADIERA BEACH - Two good Samaritans rescued a driver of a vehicle that crashed into the Gulf of Mexico offshore Madeira Beach Thursday afternoon.
According to a report from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to 14230 Gulf Blvd. in Madeira Beach about 12:20 p.m. Dec. 11.
According to deputies, Lawrence White, 51, of St. Petersburg, an employee of the city of Madeira Beach, was collecting garbage on the beach in a city pick-up truck. Deputies said White appears to have lost control of the vehicle and struck a parked University of South Florida vehicle, driven there by 29-year-old Zachary Tyler, 29, of Tampa, who was surveying beach erosion for USF.
TREASURE ISLAND - A possible solution to Treasure Island’s beach parking controversy got the boot Dec. 2 at city hall.
City commissioners voted 3-2 against hiring a Bradenton law firm that offered to draft a local bill for consideration in the 2015 Florida Legislature. The legislation would have been written to help the city resolve its beach parking issue for city special events.
However, the $50,000 cost estimate by the law firm of Lewis Longman and Walker was a little tough for three commissioners to swallow.
TREASURE ISLAND - City commissioners moved forward on an ordinance Dec. 2 that sets the language for four referendum questions that will be on the March 10 ballot.
The four questions relate to Treasure Island’s proposed Planned Development Zoning District, which passed on a first reading Nov. 18 and will be up for a second public hearing at some point in January.
Two proposed ordinances would amend the Future Land Use Element of the city’s comprehensive plan to allow for greater height, density, floor area and impervious surface ratio. Both are necessary to create the PD district, which would make redevelopment of commercial property more attractive to developers.
The affected areas are Commercial General and Resort Facilities High properties located north of 127th Avenue and Resort Facilities High sites from 104th to 119th avenues on the west side of Gulf Boulevard.
REDINGTON BEACH - Going underground was a major topic at the Redington Beach Town Commission workshop Dec. 2 as discussion ensued about ditching the unsightly utility poles and wires along Gulf Boulevard and placing them underground.
The town, according to Mayor Nick Simons, has so far submitted only a rudimentary plan to the county with plans to underground the cross wires on the east and west of Gulf Boulevard and the potential for undergrounding wires on the east side of the street running north and south.
For the past several years, this ambitious but inevitably costly project has remained a subject for debate among the 11 beachside communities up and down Gulf Boulevard. The overall expense and attendant hassles associated with a project of this type has prevented some towns, including Redington Beach, from pursuing it although that is beginning to change.
The funds to accomplish at least a portion of this upgrade derives from Pennies for Pinellas, the sales tax fund, which disburses monies at the beginning of each fiscal year to the barrier island municipalities to be spent on various capital improvements as part of a larger project aimed at unifying the aesthetics of the entire length of Gulf Boulevard.
ST. PETE BEACH - A historic survey project will begin this month in Pass-A-Grille.
The St. Pete Beach City Commission approved the selection of TRC Environmental Corp. Dec. 2 to complete a historic survey in Pass-A-Grille. The project will be funded mostly through a state grant.
The historic district, located in the southern portion of the island, was first listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 as a 40-acre district with 115 total buildings. Then an additional 116 acres was added to the district in 2003 with a total number of 508 buildings. The time period, of the mostly residential buildings, covers the early 1900s through the late 1950s, according to the vendor’s proposal.