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City approves church land deal


© St. Petersburg Times, published July 21, 2000

CLEARWATER -- The City Commission had an abundant agenda Thursday night, also taking the following actions:

CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH LAND SWAP: A week ago a proposed land swap with the downtown church was approved by 55 percent of voters in a city referendum. Commissioners okayed the deal Thursday.

The proposed land swap will give the church a 4.9-acre city softball facility, called Chesapeake Park, next to a 12-acre tract the church already purchased for its future home on the east side of the city off McMullen-Booth Road.

In exchange, the church will give the city a 5-acre vacant tract that the church has a contract to buy about a half-mile west on Drew Street. The church also agreed to pay up to $330,000 to build the city a new softball facility there.

NEW BEACH RESTAURANT: Commissioners approved a new nine-year lease for the restaurant known as Krazy Bill's, which will be converted into a chain restaurant, Crabby Bill's. The city will receive $7,000 in monthly rent from the lease, plus the new owners will make up to $100,000 in renovations.

CLEARWATER AIRPARK STUDY: The commission authorized a $25,000 analysis of the runways at the small municipal airport to allow the city to extend the length of the runways. The extensions would allow airplanes to fly higher when taking off and landing over neighborhoods bordering the airpark, reducing noise, said airpark administrator Bill Morris.

N OSCEOLA AVENUE REROUTING: The commission decided to give to the developers of the Osceola Bay Club a 40-foot-wide piece of city land that now is N Osceola Avenue. In exchange, the developers will build a narrower road on 30 feet of right-of-way just east of their proposed twin-tower condominium. A sharp turn in the avenue will remain.

NORTH GREENWOOD IMPROVEMENTS: The commission approved spending about $357,000 to design a street beautification project for N Greenwood Avenue. The money also will pay to design reclaimed water lines on the avenue and south to Cleveland Street.

Nearby homes won't be able to tap in and use the reclaimed water. But the water will be used to nurture new landscaping that will be planted along N Greenwood Avenue, and then a reclaimed line will be built south to IMRglobal Corp., which will receive the city service.

The city has about $750,000 to spend on beautification and about $868,000 to lay the reclaimed water line all the way to IMRglobal. Half of the reclaimed water project is paid for by a grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

The N Greenwood Avenue project is scheduled to be finished in 2002.

PODS LIMITS: The City Commission again tinkered with rules regarding Portable On-Demand Storage units, better known as "PODS," on Thursday. Commissioners decided portable units no longer will be allowed to stay in residential areas during construction projects. Several neighborhood associations had complained the units became eyesores when left at houses for lengthy periods.

NEW RENTAL RULES: The commission voted against a measure that would have prohibited renting homes and condos in residential zones for less than 31 days at a time. Several Sand Key condominium associations, who argue that weekend rentals attract guests who are disrespectful of full-time residents, sought the new rental limits. The Clearwater Board of Realtors and the city's two chambers of commerce successfully fought the measure.

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