City poised to finalize Island Estate restrictionsBy JENNIFER FARRELL, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 22, 2002
CLEARWATER -- City Commissioners are expected to grant final approval tonight for property restrictions aimed at preserving the appearance of Island Estates.
Two weeks ago, the commission approved the measures by a vote of 3-2, with Mayor Brian Aungst and Vice Mayor Whitney Gray opposing.
If finalized tonight, the rules will shape development in the neighborhood and could be enforced by city code inspectors.
The proposed regulations include banning construction of townhomes in areas that now have houses, prohibiting parking on the grass and using rocks as yard cover, and requiring boats and recreation vehicles to be parked inside a garage.
In some cases, the rules are stricter than the city's code. For instance, Island Estates residents supported requiring homes to have minimum lot sizes of 7,500 square feet, where only 5,000 square feet is required in the regular city rules.
If the new restrictions are approved as expected, the city has agreed to enforce them for a year, then review whether the process proved unwieldy and too expensive.
Also at their 6 p.m. meeting, commissioners are expected to discuss a controversial plan to bring more parking to Clearwater Beach.
Attorney Bill Kimpton has offered to build a lot that would offer 155 spaces at no cost to the city up front. But depending on the economy, the city could end up owing him up to $6-million.
Kimpton, who wants to develop a $90-million hotel on Clearwater Beach, has asked the city to consider leasing a temporary parking lot on his property in the meantime. As part of the deal, he wants a pledge from the city to buy the land if hotel financing doesn't come through in the next four years.
Commissioners, who have praised the plan as a way to stem additional condominium development on the beach, also have balked at the buy-out clause.
Kimpton, who owns property in the 200 and 300 blocks of S Gulfview Boulevard, plans to build a 250-room Marriott resort there. But with the international hotel market lagging, he has proposed the interim step of knocking down the existing Beach Place and Glass House motels on the site to build parking, which the city could lease for public use. The buyout clause, he said, is simply a tool to help secure financing.
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