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Ryan Howard's new home taking shape
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Ryan Howard's future home at 1700 Gulf Blvd. is huge even by Belleair Shore standards. Construction is expected to take longer than the normally allotted two and a half years, which means the town commission will need to grant a time extension.
BELLEAIR SHORE – The 34,000-square-foot home of Philadelphia Phillies first baseman and MVP Ryan Howard continues to rise on its acre-plus property on Gulf Boulevard in Belleair Shore.

The house has been under construction for over a year. The town’s building code allows two years for construction, with one six-month extension. Further extensions are possible, with the town commission’s approval.

The building permit has about a year to run. But already concerns are being expressed that the house will not meet construction deadlines.

Pinellas County Community Planner John Kostreles, who serves as Belleair Shore’s building official, was at the March 19 Town Commission meeting. He has been following construction of the Howard home and said extra time will likely be needed.

Mayor John Robertson told Kostreles to “keep an eye on the time, and immediately give the six-month extension as soon as the two-year construction deadline arrives.”

Belleair Shore is known for its mansion-sized houses, but Robertson said the Howard home is an exception.

“Homes of that size are so out of the range of what we have done before, and they are rarely completed in two years,” he said.

In a later comment, Robertson said, “There is no way that house will be completed in two and a half years.”

The commission is ready to give multiple extensions as long as active construction is going on, he said.

Robertson added, “It is extremely beneficial for us to get this house built, and (the town) is not going to stand in the way.”

Kostreles reported construction of the house, which has ballooned in size from 17,500 square feet reported in October to 34,000 square feet today, is proceeding “pretty rapidly.” The house will feature a bowling alley and Venetian-style canals among other amenities.

Commissioner Raymond Piscitelli termed the home “fantastic,” and said, “Some very, very good people are working on it.”

Kostreles promised to keep the commission posted on the construction progress.

Belleair Shore's buoys all gone

Persons venturing out into the Gulf off of Belleair Shore should take extra safety precautions. The 16 buoys that normally warn boaters from going too close to shore are all gone, Robertson reported.

The missing buoys have been a concern since late last summer when the commission discussed the problem of their continuing loss. The replacement is normally done in conjunction with neighboring Belleair Beach. Robertson met in October with Belleair Beach Community Services Director Allen Godfrey and the expectation was that the buoys would be replaced sometime after hurricane season.

To date, nothing has been done, and Robertson told the commission “we’re waiting for (Belleair Beach) to decide when to replace their buoys.”

Commissioner Richard Jordan said steps need to be taken to get the buoys to last longer this time. “We are not getting good buoys,” he said. “We need to find a new way to anchor them.”

Robertson has noted that Belleair Beach, which handles the buoy replacements, has also lost most of theirs. When Robertson met with Godfrey at Belleair Beach last fall, the two had talked about a new way of attaching the buoys so they are more stable and will not break away and wash ashore so easily.

Commissioner Raymond Piscitelli said Indian Rocks Beach loses only an occasional buoy. They use a different kind of fastener and a fiber cord hook-up, he said.

“They only lose one once in a long while, so they’re doing something right,” Piscitelli said.

For now, Belleair Shore will have to do without the buoys, and hope nobody is injured until the replacements are done.

Neglected properties

Properties in need of repair have become a concern, including one next door to the north of the Howard home. Robertson said the commissioners “need to take a trip around town and see which are the problem houses.”

He said, “If you see any glaring problems, get that house on the docket (for clean-up).”

Piscitelli said he had talked with the person who owns the property next to the Howard house and she is trying to get it fixed up.

“She has somebody who is supposed to be doing repairs and maintenance but he doesn’t show up,” he said.

Piscitelli said he had given the owner some names of qualified people to do the job.

“She doesn’t like the noise of the construction next door,” Piscitelli said.
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