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Bay Pines project moves forward
Councilors give tentative approval to development agreement
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SEMINOLE – Another key element in the long road toward the development of the former Bay Pines Mobile Home Park took place Jan. 11 when the City Council gave preliminary approval to a development agreement with Kitson and Partners.

In addition, councilors passed an ordinance on first reading that allows for changes in zoning and the future land use map, which opens the door for Kitson, doing business as KE Bay Pines Properties LLC, to move forward with its plans for the 60-acre tract at northwest corner of Bay Pines Boulevard and 101st Way.

The land use amendment calls for a change from residential medium, commercial general and water/drainage feature to residential/office/retail; and a zoning change from residential medium-15 and preservation to commercial general.

Assuming both proposals pass on second reading Jan. 25, the next step would be approval by the Pinellas Planning Council and the Pinellas County Commission before a lengthy review by nine state agencies in Tallahassee. After that, the development agreement would return to the city in April for final approval. Once that portion is complete, Kitson is expected to submit a site plan that would require another two public hearings.

The development agreement calls for one acre to be set aside for a future fire station, two acres for a hotel with a minimum of 60 rooms and a restaurant with a minimum of 2,500 square feet.

Tentative plans call for nearly 16 acres dedicated to retail, nine acres for mixed use and 35 acres for residential.

Ida Harris, a resident to the west of the site on Woodland Drive, expressed concerns about a tall residential condo building looking down on her back yard and asked for her property to have a buffer from the development. She also was concerned that wildlife on the site would be displaced.

“There’s no evidence of any threatened species on the property,” said Mark Ely, community development director for Seminole. “Also, the zoning allows a building 65 feet to go up as long as it is 50 feet or greater from the property line. Since we don’t have a site plan, we don’t know what they (Kitson) have planned.”

Kathleen Fixter, who also lives on Woodland Drive, said she was worried about traffic.

“Any roads you put out onto 100th Way (from the site) are only going to cause more traffic,” she said.

Ely explained that plans call for three curb cuts at the fruit stand location on the southeast corner of the site to be closed and an access road in front of the property moved north onto the site to take pressure off the intersection of 100th Way and Bay Pines Boulevard.

Ely also reminded the City Council that the property is under a current development agreement through 2017 that allows for 1,119 units of residential housing and under the proposed plan with a mix of commercial property, the maximum number of residential units would be 483. No change in the level of service for nearby roadways is anticipated.

Kitson officials haven’t said how many residential units the final plan will consist of but estimates have been from 200 to 400.

In other action, councilors:

• Passed ordinance on first reading transferring $84,986 in leftover revenue from the fiscal 2010 budget to the current budget. A total of $80,399 comes from the CIP Fund balance. The remainder comes from the General Fund and Special Revenue Fund balances.

• Selected Mason Blau and Associates for architectural services.

• Approved $35,930 from the Capital Improvement Project Fund for the replacement of two Building Division vehicles.

• Approved $9,100 from the Capital Improvement Fund for the replacement of computer equipment in the Library, Recreation and Code Enforcement divisions.

• Reappointed attorney Jeffrey O’Brien to the Personnel Advisory Board for a three-year term.

• Selected Biltmore Construction of Belleair to provide construction management at risk services in connection with the HVAC replacement project at the Recreation Center.

In other news, City Manager Frank Edmunds announced a candidates forum will be at City Hall Thursday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m. Incumbents John Counts and Bob Matthews are running against challengers Tom Christy and Chris Burke for two at-large City Council seats in the March 8 city election.

Edmunds also announced that the city has received information that a grant request may be approved for up to $316,000 in stimulus funds through the Florida Department of Energy. The money would be used to help fund the new HVAC system at the Recreation Center.
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