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Legal challenge puts hold on planned affordable housing project

Margie Manning

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Grace Connection Church, 635 64th St. S. (Google maps)

A group of St. Petersburg residents has filed a legal action against the city, challenging a planned affordable housing project in the Pasadena Bear Creek area.

An amendment to the city’s comprehensive plan that allows the project to go forward was not based on relevant and appropriate data and analysis, and is inconsistent with the comprehensive plan, according to a petition for a formal administrative hearing from the opponents, PGSP Neighbors United Inc.

The city of St. Petersburg has not yet filed a response. A hearing is set for Nov. 17-19 in Tallahassee.

The St. Petersburg City Council voted unanimously on Aug. 13 to approve a rezoning and related ordinances so that Blue Sky Communities could build a four-story, 85-unit apartment building for low-income seniors at 635 64th St. S. Blue Sky, a Tampa developer, has a contract to buy the 4.6 acre site from Grace Connection Church. The vote followed a nearly five-hour public hearing, with dozens of neighborhood residents speaking against the development.

 

PGSP Neighbors United, which describes itself as a nonprofit membership organization with 118 members, filed its petition Sept. 14, asking an administrative judge to determine the amendment approved by the City Council was not in compliance with the comprehensive plan. The project would result in increased density and development in the Coastal High Hazard Area, according to the petition.

Since the petition was filed, the City Council has approved an ordinance that amends the city’s comprehensive plan to allow greater density, or more dwelling units per acre, in part of the Coastal High Hazard Area, as long as the proposed projects meet a set of strict criteria. 

The planned project on 64th Street South also adds multifamily housing in an established single-family residential neighborhood, and that will bring more noise and traffic to the area, the petition said.

Forward Pinellas, a regional planning agency, was scheduled to hold a public hearing on the project Wednesday, but instead will defer action on the case pending a decision by the administrative law judge, according to a memo from the agency posted on the PGSP Neighbors United website.

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8 Comments
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8 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Lori F

    October 14, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    Me thinks these people are objecting fearing their property values will decline. Not in my neighborhood. Where are these people supposed to live? I don’t think there is a large selection for low income. Perhaps some compassion and empathy?

  2. Avatar

    JENNIFER PATTEN

    October 14, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    I have lived just a few doors up from the church. People already speed up and down 64th St S. The road near the bridge has been deteriorating more and more and the city has yet to fix it. We love our neighborhood and welcome new neighbors. But high density housing in a single family home neighborhood just doesn’t make sense. Put in a few townhomes, duplexes or new single family homes and that would be fine.

  3. Avatar

    Sean Urban

    October 14, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    I keep taking note of the number of stories listed for this development. This thing is getting bigger and bigger with each broken promise to the community’s that surround it.

    Looks like the city is doing everything it can to go against its own word and the will of the people. Again, if affordable housing is sooooooo important, why isn’t the city forcing all those new apartments and condos going up to have 20% of their units be affordable? Or all of them?

    This is NOT a case if NIMBY (not in my back yard)

    This is NOT a case of the neighborhood objecting to low income ir affordable housing
    for senior citizens or other fellow would be st Petersburg residents.

    This IS a case of a working class neighborhood fighting against OVER development by city hall and developers.

    We are fighting as a community to retain its live-ability, traffic safety, and neighborhood character by rightfully objecting to the density and scope if this proposed 7 story 95+ unit behemoth put forth by greedy a greedy development corporation and co-opted, conflicted and possibly crooked city officials looking to make a political name for themselves to advance their own careers.

    Ill gladly sign on for this when Rick Kriesman Jennifer Webb (among others) start putting high density housing in their neighborhoods to address the need for affordable housing.

  4. Avatar

    Larry Galantis

    October 15, 2020 at 1:35 am

    How refreshing! Accurate unbiased reporting for a change.

    What a coincidence! The City rams through CHHA density amendments, over the very vocal objections of affected residents.

    The City Council has carried the water for real estate developers and business interests. Yes, the same City Council members that were identified in a recent article as having received thousands of campaign contributions from those same interests.

    This is bad news for homeowners and good for special interests.

    Please pay attention to those Council Members who vote against their constituents as they kowtow to the Mayor Kreisman’s agenda.

    Darden Rice, will be running for Mayor when Kreisman leaves, totally blew off her constituents and reportedly accepted $8,000 from special interest real estate groups!

  5. Avatar

    Marie Diehl

    October 15, 2020 at 7:36 am

    The proposed development is in a food desert without adequate access to public transportation besides being in the middle of single family homes. The site does not meet the minimal needs of potential tenants. The only potentially positive aspect is that the land is cheap. This project only benefits the developer and the political people they support.

  6. Avatar

    Helen

    October 15, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    People to to understand that this story is INCOMPLETE. The truth is that this is a proposed 4 story affordable housing.
    The TRUTH is that it could end up being 7 story condos UNLESS the City puts clauses on the re-zoning. But it doesnt seem like the City is listening or cares.

  7. Avatar

    Sean a Urban

    October 18, 2020 at 10:19 am

    AGAIN, This is Not an issue of property values, NIMBY (not in my neighborhood) or the residents objecting to affordable housing in our neighborhood.

    We welcome any income level and only object to the density and scope of this project. Give us 30 or 40 units and 3 stories or less and there would be no fight ir objections.

    There is a glaring lack of supporting infrastructure, roadways, local shopping, public transportation etc to support 95+ proposed units and between 4 and 7 stories.

    This is an issue of building density and rezoning that does not fit the needs or voices of the community.

    Its scope and scale exceed the current capacity of our already overly busy roads on which there have been several pedestrian and bicyclist facilities already, nor does it address or meet issues of noise pollution, waste management, storm and emergency management, natural flooding and environmental concerns of bear creak that the current property sits on. It is in glaring contrast to the needs and character of the surrounding communities and its neighbors.

    Please read the posts and don’t comment negatively on peoples motives or reasoning without fully investigating and understanding the issues at hand.

  8. Avatar

    Rose Hayes

    October 19, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    I agree with Sean Urban, 30 to 40 units, period.

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