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Multi-family project with workforce housing to replace mobile home park on 4th Street North

Megan Holmes

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More multi-family and workforce housing may soon be on the way, pending approval of a change to the official zoning map by St. Petersburg City Council.

The owners of the former Lamplight Village mobile home park, 8700 4th Street North, are requesting a zoning change from Neighborhood Mobile Home (NMH) to Neighborhood Suburban Multi Family (NSM-1). The mobile home portion of the property, originally developed in 1957, is comprised of 112 mobile home units built on 6.14 acres.

The owner of the property, Belleaire Development Group, is seeking a zoning change in order to demolish the vacant mobile home park and build a new multi-family residential development. Owner Carlos Yepes told St. Pete Catalyst that workforce housing would likely be included in the project, which will be developed by Belleaire Development Group upon approval of the zoning change.

According to Yepes, Belleaire Development Group could build 112 units by right, because of the grandfathered status of the park. The new Neighborhood Suburban Multi-family -1 (NSM-1) zoning designation would allow “medium-intensity suburban-style garden apartments.” According to city documents, this zoning category typically allows structures between one and three stories, allowing up to 15 dwelling units per acre, or 92 units total. If Belleaire Development Group provides workforce housing, an additional 37 units could be added to the 6.14 acre property, totaling 129 units.

The property is located within the Coastal High Hazard Area (CHHA), defined as the area below the elevation of the Category 1 storm surge line, an area where residential density increases are barred by statute. Because the current Residential Medium land use designation and proposed NSM-1 categories each allow up to 15 dwelling units per acre, no increase in density is being requested.

City officials have been struggling with what to do in the CHHA since new maps were created in 2016 that doubled the amount of city land in the area. It is now fully 41 percent of the city, including the Innovation District, USF St. Petersburg, the Skyway Marina District, much of 4th Street North and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street North, Jabil headquarters and Echelon Town Center.

City officials are considering changing land use regulations to allow developers to propose multi-family projects, if they meet an extensive list of standards and go through an individual review process. If passed, it could change the number of units allowed on the property.

Yepes told St. Pete Catalyst he hopes the city will move forward with the plan to increase the allowable density for residential units in the CHHA. “It’s the right route for the city to follow because building in a flood zone is very expensive,” Yepes said. “You can’t just flood-proof anymore, you really have to elevate the building.”

Bellaire Development Group is currently in the tedious process of removing asbestos from the mobile homes within the park. It will then demolish the homes and remove them. Belleaire is extremely active in Pinellas County, Yepes said, with 18 current projects in the county, related to retail, medical buildings, restaurants and housing.

The group has been very active on St. Petersburg’s 34th Street. It is currently renovating/building the new Pinellas County Property Appraiser and Tax Collector office at 34th St. and 25th Avenue North. It also built the 34th Street Goodwill, and renovated the building that houses the Cortiva Institute.

The group is working on a project similar to the Lamplight Village mobile home park in Largo. There, Belleaire has been approved to develop 250 apartments, including workforce housing. Belleaire expects to obtain permits and a development order in the next few weeks.

“St. Petersburg needs housing,” said Yepes. “This will be a great project for the city.”

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