The St. Pete Beach comprehensive plan passed with a unanimous vote at the St. Pete Beach City Commission meeting on Monday, March 9. The meeting, a final reading and public hearing, was held on a special night due to the general election the next day. The passage of Parts I and II of the plan took less than a half hour, ending a decade-long battle between the city and a group of residents regarding the city’s redevelopment.
The adoption of the new plan paves the way for redevelopment with stipulations. Previously negotiated changes to the plan included in the final agreement are the reduction in the height allowed for hotel redevelopment, setting new limits for setbacks, the restriction of redevelopment adjacent to residential areas and the requirement that infrastructure studies be performed before any major redevelopment occurs.
Hoteliers and residents came forward during the public comment portion of the meeting and, for the most part, applauded the compromise the plan affords the city, hoteliers and residents. Resident Gregory Wilson noted that by definition of “compromise,” not everyone was pleased, but that everyone finally agreed “to get along long enough to make something positive happen,” he stated before the commission.
St. Pete Beach Mayor Maria Lowe thanked everyone who came forward with supportive and encouraging comments. She apologized to those in attendance for being “emotional” once the measure passed, saying, “I am so proud of how the entire city worked together.”
The comprehensive plan will not officially go into effect until after the 15-day period allowing for challenges and comments has passed. At that point, the city will begin a series of studies to determine how much redevelopment the city’s infrastructure can support.