BELLEAIR - One of the reasons the town of Belleair bought the Belleview Biltmore Golf Course was to make sure there would never be any development on the property. The course is valued green space in the community and stands over the town’s water supply, which could be disrupted if residential or commercial development were ever to take place on the property.
During the debate over the fate of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel more than two years ago one of the hotel’s owners, Daniel Ades, told the commission that he and his brother could sell the golf course to a developer as a way to make money. That angered the town’s commissioners, particularly Mayor Gary Katica, who vowed that it would never happen. He didn’t have a legal leg to stand on until Town Manager Micah Maxwell came up with the idea of having the town buy the course. That way it could remove development rights and preserve the green space.
Part of the $13 million dollar deal forgave the Ades brothers the $275,000 it owed in fines levied because of the deteriorating state of the hotel. The brothers had threatened to foreclose on their own mortgage thus wiping out the liens. The town saw the purchase of the golf course as a way to get something out of potentially nothing. It also got $50,000 in cash from the brothers as part of the deal.
The deal closed two years ago, yet the development rights remain on the property. Several times Maxwell and Town Attorney David Ottinger said the development rights would be removed in due course. At one point Maxwell said: “We own the course and we aren’t going to develop it so there is no rush.”
BELLEAIR BLUFFS - Strategic visioning, where residents, business owners and other interested parties become involved in a process to chart a community’s future course, has been a topic of interest at recent Bluffs city commission meetings.
Commissioner Jack Nazario has been a strong advocate of the process, which he said would create a course for the city’s development in coming years by determining “where we are, where we want to be and how to get there.”
“We want to sit down to determine goals and objectives, come up with a plan to get to those objectives and know that the city’s residents are behind us,” Nazario said at a commission meeting in September.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - Everyone seems to agree a canopy effect would be nice all along Gulf Boulevard in the city; they just can’t agree on how it should be done. The idea of formalizing the canopy effect was brought before the commission meeting on Nov. 12, and it was clear early in the discussion that agreement on how to achieve the goal was a long way off.
The idea of a canopy effect first came up at a Planning and Zoning Board meeting earlier this year. To get professional advice on the matter the board asked a Pinellas County extension agent to weigh in.
BELLEAIR BLUFFS - Since the Belleair Beach Causeway Bridge opened in 2007, boaters, fishermen and other visitors to the marina have been without any type of concession facility. That is about to change.
Plans for construction of a new bait house were presented at the Belleair Bluffs Nov. 10 workshop meeting. Paul Cozzie, bureau director of Pinellas County Parks and Recreation, said the operation would offer much more than bait.
BELLEAIR - More than 350 people, residents of Belleair, watched as a dream became a reality and the town got a signature centerpiece that honors the military in a location that can’t be missed. The fountain at Hunter Memorial Park was officially opened after a two-year effort to raise the money needed for the project.
It happened on Nov. 9, Veterans Day weekend as one man put it, and given the nature of the fountain, the timing of the opening couldn’t have been better.
BELLEAIR - Yet another potential roadblock preventing the demolition of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel has been removed. On Nov. 7, the federal court dismissed a lawsuit against the town and the owners of the hotel.
Preservationist Rae Claire Johnson and two Belleair residents, Doris Hanson and Mary Lou White, filed the lawsuit back in May. They claimed, among other things, that the town was acting illegally in moving forward with changes to the zoning designation and not doing more to protect the hotel from deterioration. They also claimed the owners were allowing the hotel to wither, to what they called demolition by neglect.
The court, in its ruling, said essentially it had no jurisdiction over the issues brought forth in the suit and therefore could not hear the case.
BELLEAIR - What is arguably the busiest intersection in Belleair is closed and it will remain that way for months.
Indian Rocks Road and Ponce De Leon Boulevard, located in the center of town, is closed to traffic in all directions to make way for the construction of a new roundabout, something that has been planned for months.
Town officials and commissioners hope the roundabout will solve what is essentially a safety issue at the intersection. The issue was discussed at the commission’s meeting Nov. 5. Town Manager Micah Maxwell said it is not something four-way stop signs could solve.
Thanksgiving Sunday worship CLEARWATER – Chapel-By-The-Sea will celebrate Thanksgiving Sunday, Nov. 23, at the 10 a.m. worship service. Chapel-By-The-Sea Community Church is at 54 Bay Esplanade.
The Rev. Herb Freitag’s sermon is titled “In Place of Larger Barns” with the scripture from Luke 12:16-21. The special music will include Marilyn Michael and Nicole Cavalani singing a duet, “Bless This House,” and Dennis Saloky on saxophone with medley of “We Gather Together” and “Count Your Blessings.”
Attendees are encouraged to bring gifts of nonperishable food and turkeys (fresh or frozen) for the food bank at RCS. After church, attendees will have an opportunity to help decorate the church for Christmas.
Church and youth Sunday school begin at 10 a.m. Adult Sunday school begins at 9 a.m.
MLK Neighborhood Center Coalition planning sessions CLEARWATER – The Clearwater Martin Luther King Jr. Neighborhood Center Coalition hosts weekly planning sessions every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at 1201 Douglas Ave. It also hosts a neighborhood community market each fourth Saturday, with the June market set for the 28th.
The Community Outreach Team invites people to join them in making phone calls or writing letters to the residents in the neighborhood surrounding the center to inspire neighbors with the progress that is being made.
City Power Toastmasters Club meeting ST. PETERSBURG – The City Power Toastmasters Club, a nonprofit communication and leadership club, meets Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. at the Municipal Services Building, One Fourth St. N., Sixth Floor, Room 600.
The club teaches self-confidence and skills to help listen, think, speak and gain leadership qualities. Participants gain poise, positive body language and speak more easily.
Guests are welcome to visit for free with no pressure to join.