Developer seeks land use change for Tides property

The owner of the former Tides Golf Club wants to build 273 detached single-family homes on the property and has requested a land use change from recreation/open space and preservation to residential low and preservation.

SEMINOLE — The owner of the former Tides Golf Club, located at 11832 66th Ave., has submitted plans to Pinellas County to build 273 detached single-family homes on the property.

The developer, TTGC LLC, also requested a change to the future land use map of the county’s comprehensive plan ahead of its plans to redevelop the property into Restoration Bay, a residential development. TTGC submitted its request to the county to reclassify the property from recreation/open space and preservation to residential low and preservation land use categories July 23.

According to the comprehensive plan amendment application, “the current county plan map identifies approximately 86.17 acres … in recreation/open space, 14.04 acres in preservation and .03 of an acre is residential low.”

If the requested land use amendment is granted, the application indicates that 88.27 acres will be classified as residential low and 11.94 acres as preservation.

The developers are also seeking brownfield designation of the property. According to a July 24 press release from TTGC, the golf course “likely used harmful chemicals to promote turfgrass growth and control pests.” Neighborhoods surrounding the property “were developed before modern storm water treatment standards were enacted in Florida, which means that most of these areas produce direct storm water runoff without any treatment for removal of pollutants,” the release said.

TTGC said it plans to remediate the contaminated soil, and will retain and treat storm water runoff on site before it discharges into Boca Ciega Bay.

The property ceased operating as a golf course last summer, when the owners shut it down.

In a notice to club members, the owners said, “After enduring Hurricane Irma and the ensuing clean-up, the club has seen a continued decrease in activity. Due to the lack of support from the golfing community, the owners have made the decision to close operations effective July 1, 2018. A golf course at this location is not a viable business.”

The club’s operation manager and golf professional at the time, David Britt, told a different story, though. He said the club had about 120 active members, roughly the same number as the year prior.

Save the Tides, a grassroots community organization that opposes the development of the golf course and other green space, remains committed to protesting any residential development that might be considered at the property.

In an Aug. 4 email to the Pinellas County commissioners, Ron Stephens, a board member for Save the Tides, spoke out against the requested land use change.

“The owners of the Tides call this … Restoration Bay; I call it the destruction of a beautiful recreational open space called the Tides Golf Course,” he wrote.

The property is the “centerpiece” of the community, he added. The land has been home to numerous birds, fish and other animals, and has served as a buffer to keep the nearby neighborhoods from flooding, Stephens wrote.

“Its acres of grasses and flat lands has provided the cleansing action needed during heavy rainstorms and hurricanes so that our intracoastal waterway below it remains clean and clear,” he wrote.