SPB Update: Food Trucks, Marijuana Moratorium

The St. Pete Beach City Commission addressed a variety of issues that have been in discussion for the past several months at their regular commission meeting on November 28: food trucks within the city, medical marijuana moratoriums and amending the budget for city projects.

Prior to the meeting, a group of Pass-A-Grille Way residents addressed the proposed location of a new lift station which would block the views from their homes, ultimately lowering property values. The residents asked for a review to determine whether the lift station could be placed at another location. The commission, particularly Commissioner Melinda Pletcher who represents the district, says she plans to do some research and get some answers on finding another location.

Food Trucks Allowed with Caveats

The Final Reading and Public Hearing on Ordinance 2017-12 for the allowance of food trucks in certain areas of the city was the first ordinance on the agenda. A couple of changes requested by the commission after the first reading were added to the ordinance. The amended ordinance includes wording that each food truck would have to be approved individually by the commission.

“Each individual use will have to come back to the commission for approval,” said City Manager Wayne Saunders. After a question from Commissioner Pletcher regarding potential disapproval of a request, Saunders said, “The commission will see any requests, and there would have to be a valid reason for disapproval; however, the commission can add restrictions” to any conditional use approval.

Commissioner Ward Friszolowski asked whether aesthetics would fall under conditional use restrictions.

As stated in the ordinance, the food trucks will be limited to downtown districts such as Blind Pass Road, Gulf Boulevard and Corey Avenue. They will be allowed to operate under conditional use only for up to three days a week and must abide by any restrictions set by the commission.

The motion passed 3-2, with Pletcher and Friszolowski dissenting. After the vote, Commissioner Terri Finnerty addressed the commission, registering her disapproval for lack of support by the dissenting commissioners and thanking others.

“This is my district. I have known what is going on,” Finnerty said. “One establishment was asking for approval, and it was made to seem as if the entire city was going down the tubes because of it.”

Finnerty then thanked the commissioners who supported the measure, the planning and zoning boards, city employees and businesses and residents who gave their support.

Medical Marijuana Moratorium

The commission unanimously voted to extend the moratorium of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city as the state finalizes Department of Health regulations.

“There are still some Health Department things that haven’t been resolved but the legislation is in place,” Saunders told the commission.

Mayor Alan Jonson noted that “most of the other barrier islands have put a ban on them” and that “the current law states that there are only two options for cities: either allowing the dispensaries any place in the city or banning them completely.”

By approving the measure, the commission extended the moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries for another 120 days.

Budget Amendment

Without much discussion, Ordinance 2017-31 First Reading and Public Hearing was approved, providing for supplemental appropriations to the General, Capital Improvement, Wastewater, Reclaimed Water, and Stormwater Funds, amending the budget carryover from the previous year.

The commission also authorized the city manager to approve a one-year renewal agreement for fiscal year 2017-2018 with Treasure Island and PSTA for trolley and DART services. A survey will be conducted to assess ridership at various locations. The cost of the new contract is $531,000 and the contract can be amended as needed.

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