Wine Cellar property development plan in limbo

The old Wine Cellar Restaurant property at 17307 Gulf Boulevard has been bought by a developer who wants to put a small shopping center on the site. Plans to include a Dunkin Donuts on the north part of the property are in limbo after Redington Shores commissioners voted to disallow access from 174th Avenue.

REDINGTON SHORES – A redevelopment proposal for the former Wine Cellar Restaurant property that would put a Dunkin Donuts shop/restaurant on the Redington Shores portion of the site got a cool reception from the town commission, leaving at least that part of the plan in doubt.

The property, at Gulf Boulevard and 174th Avenue East, is split between North Redington Beach and Redington Shores. It would be developed as a “niche shopping center,” containing small retail and a restaurant, Allen Goins of AG Development, told the commission. The majority of the development would be on the NRB portion of the property, with the Dunkin Donuts on the Redington Shores side, Goins said.

The proposal had previously been approved by the Planning and Zoning board on the condition that access to 174th Avenue “be closed off for the safety of pedestrians.”

Goins wanted the commission to remove that restriction and allow customers of Dunkin Donuts to go in and out from 174th. Closing off the road would require making U-turns on Gulf Boulevard or going down to 173rd Avenue to get into the property, Goins said.

The difficulty of access would likely mean losing the Dunkin Donuts as a tenant, said Goins.

“If we can’t get access to 174th, the Dunkin Donuts is gone,” he said, adding, “I don’t want to lose Dunkin Donuts.”

A bank or restaurant would be the only other type of business interested in the site, but “a restaurant would have greater traffic requirements,” he said.

Goins said he had not yet presented his development plan to the North Redington Beach planning board or commission, preferring to get the smaller Redington Shores portion approved first.

Goins also said he was running out of time to start construction of the development, saying “it’s supposed to be open by 2018.”

Goins had also sought two variances, relating to the raising up of the buildings to a lesser height than normally required by FEMA rules, and the adding of a pickup window at the Dunkin Donuts.

Goins got little help from the commission in his effort to allow access from 174th. Instead, the commission approved a motion made by Commissioner Mary Beth Henderson to not only eliminate any in or outs from 174th, but also a 24-foot drive isle to the Dunkin Donuts pickup window. Henderson said both would increase traffic and be incompatible with the neighborhood and surrounding area.

Further, construction of an 8-foot masonry wall between the development and any residential property will be required.

The motion also requires Goins to submit a letter from FEMA stating the proposed nonstandard building heights will not affect residents’ flood insurance rates.

The motion was unanimously passed by the commission. Afterwards, Goins quickly packed up his presentation and left the meeting, leaving the future of at least the Redington Shores portion of his development plans uncertain

Grease clogs sewer pipes, repairs are costly

Commissioner Jeff Neal showed photos of the inside of a sewer line, badly clogged. That is the result when people put grease down their drains, he said.

The grease residue builds up over a period of time until the sewer line is partially to totally clogged, Neal said.

“This cost us taxpayers a couple of thousand dollars (to repair) every time it happens,” Neal said.

The problem occurs in every community with older sewer systems like Redington Shores, he said. The problems then spread to the lift stations, where the grease builds up and gets caught in the pump, causing maintenance issues and costly fixes.

Instead of washing grease down the drain, residents should pour it into a cup and into the garbage when it cools down, Neal said. That would save the town, and the taxpayers, major repair bills each year.

Beach accesses for pedestrians only

The commission passed, on final reading, an ordinance restricting use of the town’s public beach accesses to pedestrian use only. The accesses have been blocked, at times, with parked trucks doing business at residences, Commissioner Henderson said when the ordinance was first introduced last month.

The new law “puts into writing (in the code) what our signs already say,” she said.

Pedestrians urged to use sidewalks

Neal said people are walking and jogging down the road, rather than using the sidewalk, especially on 175th Avenue, and that is creating problems. Also, people are parking in the street on 175th rather than in their driveway. Neal urged residents to “walk on the sidewalk, park in your driveway.”

That would “eliminate a whole lot of issues on that road, and a lot of complaints,” Neal said.