REDINGTON BEACH – The Redington Beach Town Commission agreed Aug. 20 to jointly hire and split the costs with the town of Redington Shores for an independent appraiser to render a final determination on the value of two vacant lots in Redington Beach that are owned by Redington Shores.
Redington Beach would like to purchase the lots, located immediately south of the town park at 164th Avenue and Gulf Boulevard, to extend the park boundaries.
The proposal to hire an appraiser was agreed upon also by the Redington Shores Commission in a 4-1 vote.
“I contacted a Mike Twitty, and he is submitting a proposal to (Redington Beach Town Clerk) Missy (Clark) and the town of Redington Shores for what he will charge us for an appraisal, which will be on the table for us to consider,” said Redington Beach Mayor Nick Simons.
Twitty is an independent appraiser and senior director for Valbridge Property Advisors/Entreken Associates. Simons told the commission he was highly recommended by a number of people.
Because there is a $136,000 discrepancy in the sale price being asked and what Redington Beach has offered, the hope is that an outside assessment will provide a realistic price tag on the property’s market value upon which an amount can be agreed upon.
Last month, the Redington Beach Commission tendered an offer of $214,000, the fair market value listed by the Pinellas County Appraisers Office. Redington Shores countered with an offer of $350,000.
Asked by a resident in the audience if the town has a maximum amount it would be willing to pay for the two lots, Simons replied it did not.
“Any appraisal we get is not binding for us to purchase or for them to sell,” he said.
The 12,000-square-foot parcel consists of two lots on Gulf Boulevard between Beach Park and a hotel condominium and is “not prime real estate” as noted previously by Commissioner Tom Dorgan.
Assuming an agreement between the two towns can eventually be brokered, Redington Beach would use the land as open green space for its residents. Mayor Simons has indicated although the property is, in fact, zoned for up to four residential units, there would be no immediate plans to develop it as such.
Special magistrate as code enforcer
In other news, Town Attorney Brandon Huffman said the town had its first code enforcement magistrate hearing last week when two cases were heard.
“I think it went well, given that is was the first one,” he said.
One enforcement action involved a violation of the town’s 180-day short-term rental ordinance at a property on 16250 Gulf Blvd. with a motion to continue pending a lawsuit against the town that has been filed but not yet served.
The other case involved a tiki hut on a property at 16005 Fifth St., which was in violation of the required 7.5-foot side setback. The owner had until Aug. 27 to remove the structure or incur fines starting at $100 a day.
Having been on the losing end too often when it comes to code enforcement compliance and collection of fines, the Town Commission recently agreed to hire Harold Langford, a special magistrate, to oversee and render judgments on code violations.
When asked by a resident if this new arrangement is working and whether it will “pay for itself,” Simons said that it was too soon to know, based on the one hearing held so far.
“This special magistrate comes very highly recommended, and it certainly is a viable alternative to the code enforcement courts and the Pinellas County Court system,” Simons said.
Some of the blame for the lack of compliance may lie with the town, however.
“The special magistrate has some concerns with the ways the ordinances are drafted as far as recoupment of costs,” Huffman said. According to Huffman, the suggestion was made by the magistrate that the town revisit and possibly revamp its code ordinances.
A resolution was approved for the town’s 10 cul-de-sacs to purchase and install 22 “One Way” and “No Parking Beyond this Point” signs at a cost of $1,241.
The town ordinance prohibits parking in these circles in order to allow access by emergency vehicles and through traffic that are marked by stripes with a white crossbar across the entire width of roadway ahead along with “One Way” and “No Parking” signposts.
Many of the signs, however, have vanished over the years due to county utility projects, street resurfacing and vandalism.
The Mayor jokingly told the commission that the town clerk “has a new best friend,” a resident who lives in one of the cul-de-sacs at the south end of town where a new home is being built, whom he says has been busy “keeping Missy apprised of all those who are violating the access to the cul-de-sac.”
“With the advent of the re-establishment of the signs, it will make it easier to enforce this,” said Simons.