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Treasure Island church seeks status change
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TREASURE ISLAND – City commissioners tossed back to the Planning and Zoning Board, a proposal that will have an effect on churches operating within the commercial general zoning district.

During a June 1 workshop, Treasure Island Commissioner Phil Collins proposed changing city policy so churches do not have to apply for a special exception from the city if the need arises to move or to relocate a church venture, such as a thrift store.

A case in point is the Friendship Community Church, which began operation 16 years ago in City Hall and now operates out of a shopping center at 152 107th Ave.

The church also operates a thrift store at the site that needs additional space and church leaders would like to move it elsewhere.

For that to happen, the church would have to go through the special exception process because it would be operating at a second site within the CG commercial district.

Collins said he would like to see churches grouped under permitted use in the CG zone, which would allow them to make such moves without city approval.

“That’s what I would like to see,” said Collins. “A thrift shop would be part of permitted use. If it changes locations within a CG, there would be no need to apply for another special exception.”

“At the time (when the church moved to its present location), we thought we could move the thrift store into the church but we quickly found we didn’t have enough room,” said John Burke, vice president of the board of directors at Friendship Community Church. “At some point we may need to move. We don’t want to have to get a special exception again and would rather change the code allowing us to stay with our (current) special exception with no time constraints.”

Permitted uses within CG now include a convenience store, retail store, personal service store, business and professional office, business and financial service facility, commercial recreation use, automobile, boat and vehicle rental agency; restaurant, alcoholic beverage establishment, public administrative facilities, public park and recreation area, hotel or motel, commercial or public parking garage, essential services and telecommunications towers.

Special exceptions uses, which must be approved first by the city’s Planning and Zoning Board, include an automobile gas station, a commercial dock including charter and/or party fishing boat facilities, marina, private club, adult entertainment establishment, residential or tourist dwelling, and churches.

“We need to look at this a little more carefully because we don’t know what we’re looking at down the road,” said Commissioner Carol Coward. “What if a larger church moves in and wants to move somewhere else within CG?”

“This boils down to expediency for the church,” said Collins.

An opinion by the Planning and Zoning Board is expected within the next couple of weeks.

In other matters, commissioners:

• Moved forward on a request by Edwin Barquet, owner of Treasure Island Marketplace, 245 107th Ave., to provide food and beverage delivery service to patrons on the public beach. Barquet said delivery hours would be 11 a.m. to sunset using a Polaris Ranger 750 utility vehicle. City staff is recommending Barquet pay the city a negotiable fee for the service.

• Moved ahead on resolution to renew the city’s facilities use agreement with Pasadena Community Church, 227 70th St. S., for use of the church as a backup emergency operations center. Treasure Island, St. Pete Beach and South Pasadena have used the church for a secondary EOC since 1983. The current agreement expires June 30. The new agreement would carry through June 2015.
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