Housing project in northwest Largo moves ahead

A project to redevelop 7.2 acres of property in northwest Largo into a subdivision of single-family homes and townhomes/villas moved forward July 2 after city leaders signed off on a land-use change for the site at 1756 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.

LARGO — A project to redevelop 7.2 acres of property in northwest Largo into a subdivision of single-family homes and townhomes/villas moved forward July 2 after city leaders signed off on a land-use change for the site at 1756 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.

With little discussion, commissioners voted 4-0 on first reading to amend the city’s Future Land Use Map from Residential Estate to Residential Urban, which would allow as many as 54 units on the site of mostly greenspace. Mayor Woody Brown and Commissioners Donna Holck and Samantha Fenger were absent.

Pinellas County Property Appraiser records show the land is owned by the June C. Nelson Living Trust and Marilyn N. Bates Trust. According to city staff, the applicant, Realtor Eugene Smiley, who is the authorized agent for the trusts, has requested the land-use changes in order to develop the property into a combination of single-family homes and townhomes/villas on lots of about 7,500 square feet each. 

County records also show that the site, which was annexed into the city of Largo in February, has been utilized for a “Single Family Home” since 1935.

In a letter requesting the city make the change, Smiley wrote that the “projected change to the land use code will enhance the area by fostering in a healthy and vivacious community. The development of this site will be compatible with the existing land use and will only improve the community.”

Staff also recommended the change because the property is close to a neighborhood activity center, the Clearwater-Largo Community Redevelopment District and several community streets that are designed to connect cyclists, pedestrians and automobiles from neighborhoods to local destinations.

Concerns from neighbors

The change also was approved by the Planning Board on June 6, but at that time several neighbors urged officials to leave the rare piece of greenspace alone. 

“This is very unique to Pinellas County what we have here,” said Lois Comtois, who lives on Carnegie Avenue. “There’s not a lot of it left. It’s a living classroom. There’s a certain part of this land that hasn’t been touched, and I don’t think we should touch it right now. I don’t think we should probably ever touch it. I think we should study it.”

Neighbors also expressed concerns about the environmental impact the development would have, but staff said an environmental assessment didn’t reveal any evidence that any fauna or flora would be affected. 

The project still has a long way to go before any construction will begin. 

A detailed traffic study will need to be provided during the site plan review process, and the land-use amendment will be submitted to Forward Pinellas, Planners Advisory Committee and the Countywide Planning Authority for review. 

Thereafter, the City Commission will vote on the change for a second and final time.

In other news

The city has launched a new digital guide to help residents find important flood and hurricane information, resources and tips. 

Anyone seeking information regarding flood zones, maps or other subjects can visit Largo.com/FloodHazardInfo, call the city’s floodplain administrator at 727-587-6749, ext. 7301 or email FloodPlains@largo.com.