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.
AARP mature driving course TARPON SPRINGS — On Nov. 20 and 21, the AARP Driver Safety Program will remind drivers how to stay safe on the roads. The two-day course will run from 9 a.m. to noon, at the Tarpon Springs Community Center, 400 S. Walton Ave.
Upon completion, drivers may be eligible for insurance discounts. The cost of the course is $15 for AARP members and $20 for nonmembers. Call 942-5628 to register.
Ceilidhs, traditional Gaelic social gatherings Ceilidhs, traditional Gaelic social gatherings, are held every Friday night from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Scottish American Society of Dunedin, 917 Louden Ave.
The cost is $3 and $5 for nonmembers. The social club is dedicated to the preservation of Scottish culture, offering Scottish country dancing, line dancing, holiday dinners and parties.
Community Health Fair PINELLAS PARK – A Community Health Fair will be held at the Performing Arts Center, 4951 78th Ave. N., Friday, Nov. 21, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Free screenings include hearing, vision, prostate cancer, blood pressure, cholesterol and more. Guest speakers will discuss heart health, joint care, diabetes, nutrition, and cancer prevention. Zumba and Silver Sneakers aerobics classes will also be featured.
Call 541-0805 ext. 2306 for more information. To register as an exhibitor or sponsor, call 544-4777.
Crafty Ladies festival PALM HARBOR – The Crafty Ladies will host the 30th annual Winter Art and Craft Festival on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21-22, at the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, 1555 Windmill Point Road.
Hours will be Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The creations of more than 50 talented crafters and artists will be available for purchase. The festival will feature a wide variety of items for decorating and gift giving. Shoppers will find jewelry, hand painted glassware and home decor, holiday decorations and much more.
The event also will feature a farmers market, antique and “uniques” area, plant sale and childrens’ activities.
Scottish American Society social gatherings Ceilidhs, traditional Gaelic social gatherings, are held every Friday night from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Scottish American Society of Dunedin, 917 Louden Ave., Dunedin.
The cost is $5 for nonmembers. The social club is dedicated to the preservation of Scottish culture, offering Scottish country dancing, line dancing, holiday dinners and parties.
Sunset Market LARGO – Sunset Market is open every Friday through May, 3 to 7 p.m., in Largo Central Park’s parking lot No. 1, at southwest corner of East Bay and Central Park drives.
Vendors will offer vegetables, fruits, raw local honey, herbal teas and wild-caught seafood as well as organic body products, essential oils, arts and crafts. The focus will be on produce and organic products with about 40 percent of the market dedicated to art and craft vendors.
The market offers several ways for commercial business to advertise as well as two free spaces per market reserved for nonprofit entities.
Beats on the Bayou Benefit Gala TARPON SPRINGS — The Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center is hosting the 2014 Beats on the Bayou Benefit Gala Nov. 22 to raise money to help fund the 2015 Tarpon Springs restoration project.
The Bus Stop Band will play everything from Elvis and Motown to Maroon 5 behind Master of Ceremonies Jenn Holloway. Gourmet hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages will be available throughout the night.
The gala will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum, 100 Beekman Lane.
Admission is $75 per person and tickets are tax deductible. For tickets, call the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center box office at 942-5605 or visit kathleenmonahanfoundation.org. Attire for the event is dressy-casual.
African Violet Society sale LARGO – The African Violet Society of Pinellas County will host a sale Saturday, Nov. 22, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the East Bay Oaks Clubhouse, 601 Starkey Road.
African violets and other small plants will be available for purchase.