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Plan could change Treasure Island
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TREASURE ISLAND – A proposed Countywide Plan that cuts 36 land use categories down to 11 could have a long-term negative impact, according to Paula Cohen, community improvement director for Treasure Island.

Speaking before city commissioners Aug. 19 during a discussion on the proposal, Cohen explained that because Treasure Island is defined as a Coastal High Hazard Area on the proposed Countywide Plan Map, lower residential densities would be required under the county land use plan.

For example, the city’s current Residential Urban land use designation allows 7.5 dwelling units per acre. The city’s Residential Medium, Resort Facilities Medium and Resort Facilities High designations allow 15 dwelling units per acre. Under the county’s new “Neighborhood” designation, it would drop to 5 units per acre.

Temporary, or tourist accommodations, would stay the same under the county’s “resort” designation at 50 temporary units per acre.

However, none of this would happen overnight. The county plan recognizes local government future land use designation development rights as “legacy entitlements,” which can be retained until the property is designated with a future land use plan change by the city.

But over time it would have a major impact on the appearance of Treasure Island.

“This impacts the long-term development of residential properties,” Cohen said. “It moves the city to be redeveloped more toward tourist development, as opposed to residential development. It would have an impact on the permanent population of the city.”

Cohen also said it would also affect the city’s revenue stream.

The county plan, which is being orchestrated by the Pinellas Planning Council, came about in April of 2012 when a special act by the Florida Legislature was revised, calling for a more broadly-based plan that connects land use and transportation.

Linda Fisher of the PPC reiterated that there would be no change in future land use until the new guidelines take place at some point in the distant future.

“Nobody would lose any entitlements you currently have on your maps,” said Fisher.

She said the PPC is looking into the five dwelling units for Coastal High Hazard Areas and may replace it with the county number, which is 10.

Commissioner Phil Collins asked if the new plan would impact the city’s flood insurance rating and Fisher said it would not.

The plan is strictly in the proposal stage at this point.

In other action commissioners:

• Moved forward on a resolution to approve a proposal from PRIA for workers compensation and liability insurance in fiscal year 2015.

• Moved forward on extending the ALS First Responder Services Agreement with Pinellas County Emergency Medical Services Authority through September 2017.

• Moved forward on extending an agreement with PSTA for Beach Trolley Service and DART Paratransit service through September 2015. The total cost for both is $222,873.

Legal matters

City Attorney Maura Kiefer said the city filed a motion for summary judgment July 31 in a lawsuit by three motel owners concerning driving and parking of cars on the beach. All petitions involving Department of Environmental Protection violations have been dismissed, Kiefer said.

Kiefer also said the city filed a lawsuit Aug. 12 against Graham Booth LLC and Coastal Technology Corp. over alleged construction defects in the Central Beach Trail.
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