BELLEAIR - After saying it was not economically feasible to save or restore any part of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel, the pending developer of the property has revealed that a portion of the west wing will be moved, restored and used as a hotel or inn on the property.
The revelation came in documents presented to the Belleair Commission Oct. 27 at a special meeting called to deal with the various components required to give the hotel’s owners the go-ahead to demolish the century old structure to make way for a condo/townhouse development.
JMC Communities, headed by developer Mike Cheezem, has a contract pending with the Ades brothers of Miami, the current owners of the property. Once all legal and permit hurdles have been cleared, Cheezem will take over the property and begin development.
BELLEAIR SHORE - With about 100 residents, 58 homes and a total budget of $98,000, tiny Belleair Shore can afford no staff members to perform basic services. As a result, the town’s operations are totally dependent on “volunteer” help from commission members, part time services, and a partnership with neighboring Belleair Beach.
The arrangement appears to be working well in most cases, though improvement is indicated in at least one situation.
One area that has been noticeably upgraded is code enforcement, a topic that takes on an oversized importance among the residents who occupy the luxury homes that line the town’s “private” beachfront.
BELLEAIR BLUFFS - NorthStar Bank recently celebrated the first anniversary of its Belleair Bluffs branch with a ribbon cutting hosted by the Bluffs Business Association.
In 2005, a small group of business people had a vision for a new bank focused on building solid customer relationships through unparalleled personal service, backed by the latest banking innovations and technology. After raising nearly $18 million in capital, from 120 local shareholders, NorthStar Bank opened its doors for business in Tampa Bay on Aug. 6, 2007.
In 2013, NorthStar Bank expanded to Belleair Bluffs, its second office and the first in Pinellas County.
BELLEAIR - The heavy equipment is on the site, what looks like a concrete bunker has risen from the ground and most of the grass is gone, torn up. By the end of the month all that will have been transformed into a pristine green space in the middle of Belleair. What was Hunter Park will become Hunter Memorial Park and the dream of several Belleair residents will have become a reality.
Nearly two years ago resident and former Commissioner Karla Rettstatt appeared before the town commission with a plan to transform the park into a memorial for veterans. She pledged to raise most of the money for the project as long as the town officials approved and would help with some of the costs.
BELLEAIR BLUFFS - The Belleair Bluffs Commission voted against the extended terms and term limits at its Oct. 20 regular meeting, meaning neither will be on the ballot in next March’s election.
Voters will not be able to decide whether to extend the terms of the mayor and city commissioners from two to three years or limit commission members to three terms. Both had been among the recommendations of a committee set up to review and suggest changes to the city charter.
The commission also rejected a proposal that commission members forfeit their office if convicted of a crime of “moral turpitude.” That could include offenses such as a DUI conviction or being found guilty of passing checks with insufficient funds, according to City Attorney Thomas Trask.
BELLEAIR BLUFFS - Significant changes to the Belleair Bluffs Charter are being recommended by the Charter Review Committee, which meets every five years to review and consider revisions to the city’s charter and ordinances.
Among the changes being suggested is a proposal to extend the terms of commission members from two to three years, and add a three-term limit. Currently, the mayor and commissioners can serve for as long as they are re-elected. The extended terms and term limit proposals will be separate issues on the ballot, so voters can accept or reject either.
Charter Review Committee chairman Dave Shimkus presented the committee’s recommendations at the Oct. 13 commission workshop. Any changes to the charter must be approved by the commission and ratified in a referendum vote, which would be held next March.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - A full house at the Indian Rocks Beach Commission meeting on Oct. 14 heard plans by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to establish manatee protection zones all along the Intracoastal Waterway through the city.
Many supported the idea. Some thought it didn’t go far enough and others were opposed to it. In the end commissioners decided to take some time to think about it.
Conservation Commission scientist Scott Calleson and colleague Carol Knox were invited by City Manager Gregg Mims to speak to the commission about their plans. Calleson said the proposed protection zone was developed after years of study.
BELLEAIR - The town of Belleair has a new Police Chief. Bill Sohl was sworn in by Mayor Gary Katica Oct. 7 at the commission meeting.
Sohl takes over from former Chief Tom Edwards, who resigned in mid-September after a report found that morale in the department was low because of his management style. Attempts to fix the issue didn’t take root because Edwards decided to resign just days after meeting with Town Manager Micah Maxwell to try to solve the problem.
Abundance Swap CLEARWATER – The Abundance Swap, an event where anyone can bring a gently used item or one in decent working order to Moccasin Lake Park, 2750 Park Trail Lane, on Saturday, Nov. 1, noon to 4 p.m.
Those items will be on tables for display and can be taken home for free. Bring something and take something home.
Organizers hope to have a wide variety of items, including books, CDs, electronics and parts, games, sports equipment, art supplies, clothing, kitchen and other household items available for anyone who wants it. This is a wonderful way to clear out one’s closet, drawer or box in the garage and walk away with some other goodies.
Items not accepted include food, shoes, underwear, things broken beyond repair, stuffed animals that have been drooled on a lot, cleaning products, cosmetics, etc.
Affordable Care Act seminars PINELLAS PARK – Liberty Tax Service, at 7001 66th St. N., will offer free seminar events to educate everyone about the new tax laws surrounding the Affordable Care Act.
There will be three seminars throughout the day on Saturday, Nov. 1, 10 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m. The seminars will be open to the public. There also will be family fun, entertainment and free food, music and the Lady Liberty Wavers.
Liberty Tax Service also will be collecting used cell phones for the nonprofit Cell Phone for Soldiers. Every phone this organization collects provides free talk time for soldiers to call home.
Fall and Christmas Craft Bazaar SEMINOLE – Oakhurst United Methodist Church, located at 13400 Park Blvd., will host its Fall and Christmas Craft Bazaar Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 1-2.
Hours will be Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The event will feature crafts, bake sale, Georgia pecans, handcrafted gifts, decorations, lighted Christmas trees and florals.
Haul it to the Harbor community garage sale PALM HARBOR – Haul it to the Harbor community garage sale Saturday, Nov. 1 in the Harbor Hall/White Chapel parking lot in Downtown Palm Harbor, 1190 Georgia Ave., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The cost is $10 per space. Vendors must supply their own tents, tables and seating. Call 771-6000.
Historical Society fish fry CLEARWATER – The Clearwater Historical Society hosts its annual fall fish fry fundraiser Saturday, Nov. 1, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Ross Norton Park Recreation Center, 1426 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.
Adults will be admitted for $12 and children 12 and under for $6. Servings include fried catfish, hush puppies, grits, cole slaw, iced tea or coffee.
Proceeds will go to the maintenance of the Plumb House Museum.
The fish fry is also a fundraising event for the preservation and restoration of the South Ward School on Harrison Avenue, which is scheduled to house museums of Clearwater, Pinellas County schools, Clearwater Bombers and Florida folk art.
For fish fry tickets, call any society board member or call 804-2073.