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Beach Beacon
Results of trail study due Jan. 21
Article published on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013
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Photo by BOB McCLURE
The Central Beach Trail in Treasure Island has been plagued by cracks since it first opened in March.
TREASURE ISLAND – The attorney for consultant Phil Graham told Treasure Island Commissioners Dec. 17 that he would present results of a study Jan. 21 on the cause of cracks in the city’s $1.2 million Central Beach Trail.

Kent Whittemore said results of a petrographic study, which examines the makeup of the trail concrete, would not be complete until the end of the year. He said between the holidays and the time necessary to present a report, the earliest date he could bring something to the City Commission would be in mid- to late-January.

“We have obtained the needed permits, completed the field work, obtained the core samples and patched the core areas,” said Whittemore. “The analysis of the core samples is currently underway. We anticipate the testing for the petrographic analysis of the cores will be complete and the results will be available by the end of the year. At that point, we will review and evaluate results and complete our report on the project.”

Mayor Bob Minning asked when the city could anticipate receiving the report.

“I don’t think it’s going to be much longer than that (end of the year),” Whittemore said. “Unfortunately, we have Christmas and New Year’s around the corner. But I’m pushing them (engineering firm). They’re aware of how important it is to the city and my client.”

Commissioner Phil Collins asked if the first meeting in January would be a possibility. Whittemore said it would be difficult.

Commissioner Alan Bildz said he believed the second meeting of the month (Jan. 21) would be more possible.

“If you want me to be here on the 21st, I’ll be here on the 21st,” said Whittemore.

“With the report?” Bildz asked.

Whittemore said most likely, but wouldn’t guarantee a full report.

“Part of the issue is litigation which has been threatened (by the city),” Whittemore said. “So one of the things we have to evaluate is what the report says. We would like to disclose everything, but because of the threat of litigation I have to wait and see how it is phrased, what it says. I will give you a report by the 21st. I’m not going to tell you right now that I’m going to give you a copy of the report the engineers provide me. I’m just trying to be candid and straight forward with the Commission.”

Collins said litigation is the last thing the city wants.

“We on this board, myself and my colleagues, have a great number of people we need to answer to as well,” said Collins. “Hopefully a decision can come on this soon and it’s something both sides can live with.”

Minning took it a step further and asked Whittemore to be prepared to present resolutions, not just a cause.

“It’s one thing to understand the cause but I would hope at the meeting on the 21st that you’re prepared to present to the city an alternative that ranges from do nothing to completely tear it up,” said Minning. “If there’s something in between, I think it’s imperative at the meeting on the 21st that you be prepared to present that. That’s because we’re interested in a solution. You guys are interested in a cause.”

“I hear you,” said Whittemore. “I don’t know what my schedule is for the 21st. I will either be here or have a written report ready for you. We’re not going to drop the ball and ignore it. We will do our best to get what you need.”

In the meantime, Whittemore said Graham has met with officials at Biltmore Construction Co., contractor for the trail, to discuss possible fixes.

The Beach Trail, which extends from the Bilmar Beach Resort north to the Residence Inn by the Marriott, opened in March and within three weeks cracks appeared in the walkway and walls.

Slowly, the number began to increase. Graham said his team’s count in October had the number at 265.

Graham, president of Phil Graham Landscape Architecture, provided design services for the trail. Coastal Technology Corp. provided structural engineering services.

Variance OK’d

City commissioners granted a variance Dec. 17, allowing Britts Pizza, 10709 Gulf Blvd., to continue parking cars in front of the business.

Under terms of the variance, Britt’s must give up one parking space on Gulf Boulevard, going from five to four spaces. For safety reasons, the four spaces must be angled at 75 degrees and be used only for compact vehicles.

Last March, the owners of Britt’s built a wood deck outside the business, next to the parking area on Gulf Boulevard before receiving approval from the city. The deck forced the move of five parking spaces from near the front door, closer to Gulf Boulevard.

The deck provided additional seating for the restaurant, which increased the number of parking spaces necessary under city code to 38.

In May, the city passed a parking variance cutting that number to 35. In August, the city’s Planning and Zoning Board expressed concerns over the safety of having five parking spaces so close to Gulf Boulevard. At that time, the board suggested a switch to four angled spaces and narrowing the deck from 8 to 5 feet.

The board later reversed itself and allowed the 8-foot deck.

Site plan extension

Commissioners passed a resolution allowing a six-month extension of a site plan approval for a duplex under construction at 10348 Gulf Blvd.

Margaret Kurpe explained to city staff that her husband, Paul Kurpe, has been traveling quite a bit domestically and internationally for business and the couple has not had time to complete building plans with the designer.

The Kurpes originally received a 12-month site plan approval Dec. 20, 2012.

Drainage work

Commissioners awarded a contract for $255,315 to Kamminga and Roodvoets Inc., of Tampa for drainage improvements in Sunset Beach.

The area affected sits between West Gulf Boulevard, Bayshore Boulevard, 81st Avenue and the intersection of West Gulf Boulevard and Bayshore Boulevard to the north.

The city will be responsible for 50 percent of the cost with the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Bridge update

The new bridge to the Isle of Palms will be finished in a few days but faulty railing on the south side of the bridge will not be replaced until mid-January. For that reason, the bridge will remain open temporarily to a single lane of traffic.

The work will take about 10 days to complete, said Public Works Director Jim Murphy.

The city is tentatively planning bridge dedications for the Palms and Capri bridges on the same day toward the end of January. No date has been set.
Article published on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013
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