Commission grounds helipad plan

By Times Staff Writer
Published October 18, 2007


Matt Geiger's plan to build a helipad at his East Lake estate was dealt a major setback Tuesday when Pinellas County commissioners voted down his request.

Todd Pressman, Geiger's land use consultant, said the former NBA player hasn't decided yet if he will appeal the decision in circuit court.

Geiger has been seeking permission for more than three months to build a helipad on his estate, which is on the market for $20-million. His 36-acre property is located on the northwest corner of Keystone Road and Old Keystone Road.

Vice Chairman Robert Stewart and Commissioner Calvin Harris voted for it. They said they didn't think the project would set a precedent.

"There aren't a heck of a lot of people that have enough land assembled to suggest such a mode of transportation," Stewart said. "There aren't a heck of a lot of people that could afford it if they did have the land."

But Commissioner Kenneth Welch said he was concerned about the effect on residents.

"This is a neighborhood, and even though it's a different type of neighborhood, the idea of helicopters in neighborhoods just doesn't make sense to me," he said.

Tamara El-Khoury, Times staff writer


Hillsborough approves $500M for roadwork

Hillsborough County commissioners gave final approval Wednesday to a $500-million plan aimed at taking some of the squeeze out of the rush-hour commute.

Commissioners voted 5-2 to earmark future sales tax collections after no one showed up for a public hearing on the transportation proposal.

The money will go primarily toward road widening and extension projects around the county and the unclogging of key intersections.

The approval came over the objection of commission Chairman Jim Norman, who along with Brian Blair voted against it. Norman argued that the project eats up almost all of the remaining money the community investment tax is expected to raise before it sunsets in 2026.


Tests find no mold in school classroom

Moisture found in a Westchase Elementary classroom on Friday was not harmful mold, air quality tests released this week showed.

"We have no issues," said Stephen Hegarty, a Hillsborough County schools spokesman.

On Friday, Westchase administrators discovered a leak near the door of a portable that housed 18 second-graders. They moved the students to the school's media center and sent a letter to parents.

Principal Joyce Wieland said the school suspected all along it was condensation from the air-conditioning system, "but wanted experts to come out" and confirm it.

Since its January 1999 opening, Westchase has been plagued with leak and drainage problems due to construction and design defects.