Upham Beach Shoreline Stabilization Project
The St. Pete Beach Commission viewed a presentation at the May 23 meeting by John Bishop and Thomas Pierro with PC Environmental Management regarding the upcoming Upham Beach Shoreline Stabilization Project, a Pinellas County project.
Dense limestone boulders will be used to create permanent rock structures to replace the five rock groins that are currently in place, and installing four new ones.
“Stabilization will improve performance of structures and create a wider open beach at public area,” said Pierro, the engineer of record for the project.
The site will be accessed by barges that are 200 feet long and 50 feet wide through the water access at Blind Pass Jetty. Rock and supplies will be transported via these barges to the north end of the beach where they will be removed via a long reach excavator onto waiting trucks and taken to the location so rocks will not have to be loaded directly onto the beach. Pierro noted that the contractor is not allowed to obstruct water navigation at the location site.
The stabilization project will begin in June with active construction commencing after the 4th of July holiday. Work should be completed by February 2018, although the contractor has until June 2018 to complete the project in case of storms or other factors that may cause delays. Beach renourishment may begin in the area right after the stabilization project if federal funding is available.
Discussion Items: Powerboats and Food Trucks
P1 USA Powerboats is scheduled to hold a powerboat race June 17 and 18. The original safety zone for the race encroached on some of the vendor areas and had to be redesigned. The new safety zone, approved by the Coast Guard, will run from just north of the Postcard Inn through the middle of the Tradewinds Resort. The race will begin 1,000 feet offshore, and the farthest point will be one-and-a-half miles out. A marine mammal observation team will fly helicopters over the race zone one hour before, during and one hour after the race. If turtles or manatees are spotted, the race is required to come to a halt for 30 minutes.
Mastry’s Brewing Company, located at 7701 Blind Pass Road, filed for a permit to allow food trucks on the property. Food trucks are currently not allowed in St. Pete Beach except during special events. City Manager Wayne Sauders said he has been checking with other cities to see what their ordinances allow regarding food trucks. He recommended that the commission hold a workshop for further discussion if they are interested in changing the ordinance to allow food trucks.
The commissioners had differing views about food trucks becoming a permanent fixture in St. Pete Beach due to issues of hours, parking, noise and aesthetics.
“I love the business [Mastry’s Brewing Company] but I don’t think the state fair look is what we want . I don’t feel it is in the best interest of the city. I can’t imagine a single property that would think food trucks add to the aesthetics of St. Pete Beach,” said Commissioner Pletcher.
Commissioner Finnerty, whose district is where Mastry’s resides, said, “Food trucks are thing of this day,” and noted that customers also have the option to order food from area restaurants from menus provided by Mastry’s.
According to Saunders, Mastry’s was given an extension on their special events permit until there was a directive from the commission. The permit extension is set to expire at the end of June. The commission agreed unanimously to hold a workshop on June 13 at 4 p.m. to discuss. Two public readings are required prior to changing the ordinance.
Commissioner Finnerty reported that residents in her district have complained that numerous vehicles turning left onto 87th Avenue from Boca Ciega Drive near the Gulf Beaches Elementary Magnet School have been missing the turn and crashing into businesses, particularly Portofino’s Italian Restaurant. An amendment to change the traffic code to add amber lights and a stop sign to slow traffic was recommended. The sheriff’s department has been put on alert to monitor the area.
Lighting Restrictions During Turtle Nesting Season
Commissioner Falkenstein reminded residents of lighting restrictions from May to November each year due to nesting turtles. He also reminded residents and businesses to change alarm codes after terminating services, based on an incident involving a business that a break-in by employees of a former service it had retained who knew the alarm code. Residents and businesses can register their alarm codes with the county free of charge.
Upcoming Changes to Sunday Alcohol Sales
Boaters and Sunday brunch-goers in St. Pete Beach will soon be able to purchase alcohol before 11 a.m. The first reading and public hearing amending Chapter 6 to change the hours of alcohol sales to 8 a.m. seven days a week was approved unanimously by the commission. Changes to the ordinance will make St. Pete Beach regulations regarding Sunday consumption of alcohol in line with Pinellas County, which recently changed the law. Commissioner Friszolowski reminded everyone that the new law in St. Pete Beach will not go into effect until a final reading on June 13. Once approved, the law will go into effect immediately.