BELLEAIR BLUFFS – The completion of a massive road and sewer project shared by Belleair and Belleair Bluffs has been pushed back. The job involves Mehlenbacher Road, which runs along the boundary of the two communities.
A finish date of mid-August has not happened, and the project will not likely be done until mid-December, Public Works Director Robert David said at the Oct. 14 Belleair Bluff Commission workshop. He said rainy weather has been the main cause.
“Belleair has been awarded quite a few rain days,” David said.
Work on Mehlenbacher has been ongoing for weeks, resulting in road closures and inconvenience for residents living in the area. Electronic signs have been placed indicating detours needed and construction dates.
Resident Darlene Kavanagh had wanted to know when the work would be completed. She also had concerns about losing some of the right of way in front of her house, where her trash containers and mailbox sat. The curbing on the Belleair and Belleair Bluffs sides of the road does not match, Kavanagh said.
Most of the grass area bordering the road will be replaced when the sidewalks are done, David said. The trash cans and mailboxes will be placed where they were, he told Kavanagh, but added she should expect “a little less green area.”
There are different types of curbing on each side of the road for a reason, David said. Belleair has Miami curbs, while Belleair Bluffs uses F-type curbing. He said the F-type is more costly but directs water better. They drain better too, a significant advantage in Belleair Bluffs with its flooding issues, David pointed out.
Commissioner Jack Nazario said the F-type curbs make Belleair Bluffs distinctive from Belleair “and are something to be proud of.” They increase property values too, said David.
Mehlenbacher Road resident Leslie Davis had another problem. The curbs in front of his house were 8 inches above the sidewalk, he said. Belleair’s engineers were supposed to lower the road to deal with that, David said.
“This is a Belleair project designed by Belleair engineers,” David told Davis.
He said he will be meeting with the Belleair Bluffs engineer to try to work out the problems.
“We’re not paying for anything until we are satisfied,” David said.
Dog dining permit approved
Last month, the City Commission approved an ordinance that allows dogs to accompany their owners in restaurants’ outdoor dining areas. As yet, few dogs have been seen in local eateries.
That’s because a follow-up to the law was needed, for the permitting process necessary for restaurants to become legal dog dining establishments.
The commission took care of that at their Oct. 14 workshop by approving the dog dining permit application. The permit is required by Florida law.
“We had passed the ordinance that allows dog dining, now this gives the restaurants the process to do it,” City Clerk Debra Sullivan said in a comment following the meeting.
Sullivan indicated the permits would be quickly processed.
“The restaurants do the applications and we’ll review it and send out an approval letter, if it’s OK,” she said. “We don’t want to hold it up.”
The permit application is similar to one used by the city of Dunedin, Sullivan said.
The application requires a $75 permit fee. Applicants for dog dining also must submit a number of attachments that describe the outdoor area designated as dog friendly. That includes a diagram of the area with dimensions, number of tables, placement of tables and chairs, ingress and egress to the designated area, and the boundaries of the area. A sample of proposed signage for the area also must be included.
The permitting is the final step needed to complete the dog-dining process, said Commissioner Joseph Barkley.
“The restaurants can do it or not do it. But if they do it, they have to do (the application),” he said.
Restaurants that do not have a permit but have dogs in their outdoor dining will face fines, Commissioner Jack Nazario pointed out.
Barkley said allowing dog dining in the city shows how Belleair Bluffs “does everything we can to help businesses.”
New city board needs members
Every five years, the city’s charter and codes come up for review. Residents are needed to serve on a board that will look at the charter and city ordinances, and recommend changes and revisions. City Clerk Sullivan said the board’s work “is very intensive.” Members of the charter and ordinance review board should be able to meet monthly during the day, she said.
Residents interested in serving should contact city hall at 584-2151.
Due to the Veterans Day holiday, the commissioner’s November workshop meeting will be held Monday, Nov. 4, 6 p.m. The regular commission meeting will take place on Nov. 18, normally scheduled.