Following a zoning change, a .79-acre parcel in a predominantly residential area of west St. Petersburg could soon feature a mixed-use development with 19 townhomes.
City council members voted 7-1 at the June 15 meeting to amend the future land use map and comprehensive plan for a property at 118 66th St. N. from Planned Residential/Office General to Planned Redevelopment Mixed Use. It currently consists of a vacant lot and a single-family home.
Britton Wilson, comprehensive planning coordinator, told council members that city officials rezoned the property and three adjoining lots to its north in 2012 to accommodate an office building “that never came to fruition.” That change also allowed up to 12 multi-family housing units.
She said the latest zoning amendment increases that number by seven. Councilmember Copley Gerdes, whose District 1 encompasses the area, voted against the density increase.
Following the meeting, he told the Catalyst that he felt the current allowance – 15 units per acre – was “sufficient.”
“I just thought it was above and beyond what was needed,” Gerdes added. “It just seemed like a little bit of a stretch to me.”
He noted that the site borders the Lake Pasadena neighborhood, and several constituents voiced their concerns over the project. While he believes the area needs more density, Gerdes said local leaders must “be really intentional” with where they increase allowances.
The site is 325 feet from a SunRunner station on 66th Street. Wilson said the amendment aligns with the SunRunner Development Study’s recommendations to allow transit-oriented development (TOD) along the region’s first bus rapid transit route.
“I’m going to be very protective about that 66th Street and 58th Street TOD around the SunRunner,” Gerdes said. “Because of the neighborhoods that it’s very close to. Frankly, there’s not a lot of room for development. There’s certainly some availability on Central Avenue between 58th and 66th Street.
“I couldn’t vote against the allowable (density) on that parcel, but I could vote against the increase.”
Griffin Goudreau, a real estate investor with 3W LLC, applied for the zoning change. According to city documents, he is under contract to purchase the property and plans to build 19 townhomes “with the potential” for retail and other mixed uses.
The Community Planning and Preservation Commission unanimously approved the amendment at a May 9 meeting. Wilson told the city council that while the changes would double permissible non-residential development intensity, current height and impervious surface restrictions would remain.
She noted the parcel is near three major roadways – 66th Street, Pasadena Avenue and 1st Avenue North. The SunRunner station is at the nearby West Central Shopping Center.
However, a public speaker said that numerous accidents have occurred at the corner of 66th Street and 1st Avenue. He added that the intersection of 1st Avenue and Pasadena Avenue lacks a traffic light, and allowing 19 homes on a .79-acre site would substantially increase congestion.
Buffered by an alley to the west sits the Parc Vendome Condominiums. That 2.5-acre property features 68 units within two three-story buildings.
Gerdes noted that the complex does not front 66th Street or the Lake Pasadena neighborhood, unlike the proposed project. He called his dissenting vote “an opportunity to let the district know that I’m listening to them.”
Wilson relayed that city staff received 10 emails from residents, with one in favor of the development. Two offered conditional support – if the owners utilize 66th Street for access and not the shared alley – and seven were opposed.
While Goudreau did not speak at the public hearing, his application states, “Arguably, the subject property is no longer desirable for single-family use.”
Wilson offered city staff’s support for the changes, and council members did not comment on the project before voting.