Third Time's Hopefully the Charm with St. Pete Beach's Comprehensive Plan



 For the third time in five years, St. Pete Beach approved its comprehensive plan. Initially the city adopted the plan in 2008 but a judge later ruled that the city used misleading language in the referendum; the court also determined that since the city had made changes to the comprehensive plan after voters approved it in 2008, it would have to go back to the voters for approval. However, voters later repealed a state law requiring their approval on comprehensive plans, nullifying that decision.

 The city re-adopted the plan again in 2011, and opponents of the plan continued with lawsuits and appeals.

 According to city attorney Mike Davis, the third re-adopted would put the city in a better place legally. He suggested the city re-adopt the plan “to cure any potential issues should the appellate rule against you that the re-adoption in 2011 is not valid.”  Re-adoption would also “to a large extent, make moot any possible ruling against you in the appellate court. It would also remove uncertainty that continues to exist because of litigation,” according to Davis.

 Finally, it would “consolidate into one plan adoption a number of different ordinances [from 2010- 2012” and remove some obsolete items (such as maps of things that no longer exist) from the current plan.

 The city’s planning commission recommended adoption, according to Community Development Director George Kinney, but local resident (and also a former plaintiff in city lawsuits) Bill Pyle objected.

 As president of the Silver Sands association, Dr. Pyle objected to the comprehensive plan as it would, among other things, allow for a public boardwalk on the beach in front of Silver Sands. he indicated Silver Sands would be receptive to a five-star hotel “that would add to the prestige” of the Silver Sands community. He pointed out that the late George Steinbrenner once owned a unit in Silver Sands.

 The commission voted unanimously to approve the plan.