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Neighborhood notebook

Couple who cut oak made $145,000 land sale profit

By RON MATUS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 14, 2003

PALMA CEIA -- A couple that neighbors accuse of fraudulently cutting down a grand oak sold their property last month for $375,000 -- $145,000 more than they bought it for in 1999.

Lisa and Henry Clark sold their house and lot at 3410 Barcelona St. to Devonshire Properties on Jan. 17, according to paperwork recorded by county officials on Feb. 8.

Devonshire wants to build four townhouses on the site.

The Clarks, who paid $230,000 for the property, persuaded the city in November to allow them to cut down the oak, which they said was damaging the house.

But in a move that outraged neighbors, the Clarks then sold the property to Devonshire, which might not have been able to build as many townhouses with a grand tree in the way.

The house was torn down on Feb. 3.

New law helps police prevent drug sales

TAMPA -- A new ordinance aimed at slowing street-level drug sales won City Council approval on Feb. 6.

The new law allows police to arrest people for exchanging small packages for money or repeatedly entering and exiting different cars.

Police expect to apply the measure to several southside neighborhoods known for high drug activity, including West Tampa, Carver City, North Hyde Park and Interbay.

A first violation will result in a warning notice. Those arrested face a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

Mayor expected to okay stormwater agreement

WESTSHORE -- Some relief is on the way for residents plagued by stormwater pollution.

City Council on Feb. 6 approved a settlement deal between the city and the state Department of Environmental Protection that will keep some stormwater-borne sediment from clogging up residential canals. Mayor Dick Greco was expected to sign off this week.

Under the agreement, the city must install about 20 sediment-straining devices, called baffle boxes, on the ends of stormwater pipes in the Westshore area. Work must begin this year and be completed within five years.

The deal does not address the issue of existing muck in the canals, which residents blame for smothering natural habitat and blocking boat access.

That issue is expected to wind up in court.

Civic group to vote on golf course plan

PORT TAMPA -- City officials will learn next week whether a plan to turn a landfill into a golf course is a hit or miss with residents.

The Port Tampa Civic Association has scheduled a meeting Feb. 19 so members can debate the idea, then vote on it.

City officials want to seek proposals from developers to turn the old Manhattan Landfill into a driving range, a par-3 course or both. But on Jan. 28 they told the civic association that they wouldn't proceed until they got direction from members.

Some say a golf course would be an amenity for Port Tampa. Others fear it will become a public nuisance, or they prefer to see a park.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in Port Tampa City Library, 4902 Commerce St.

Neighborhood gets a new name: Swann Estates

SWANN ESTATES -- South Tampa's newest neighborhood is named after one of its busiest streets.

More than 70 residents voted Tuesday to rename what used to be part of the Mid Peninsula neighborhood. They picked Swann Estates over several other choices, including Peninsula Heights.

"They wanted something that reflected the area and Swann being the main road," said Michelle Heinrich, the new president of the Swann Estates Neighborhood Association.

The Mid Peninsula association became defunct years ago because of inactivity. Palma Ceia West and Swann Estates formed in its place.

The latter is bounded by Kennedy Boulevard to the north, Morrison Avenue to the south, Dale Mabry Highway to the east and Lois Avenue to the west.

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