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‘Vote on the Pier’ group announces petition to amend City Charter

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

It appears there is already a petition circulating to put a referendum pertaining to St. Pete’s Pier on a ballot for voters.

The petition, unlike the 2013 referendum that killed the Lens, would instead amend the city’s charter.

In a petition posted on the Vote on the Pier Facebook page, the group wrote that Tom Lambdon, the man behind the Lens push, has started the petition drive to “amend [the city’s] Municipal Charter to provide additional protection for the city’s waterfront property.”

“Breaking news! Tom Lambdon, founder and chairman of Vote on the Pier, announced today a new petition drive to afford city voters the opportunity to approve any future developments on the highly cherished downtown waterfront.”

The draft petition posted on its Facebook page is titled, “Petition for Referendum to Amend the Municipal Charter of the City of St. Petersburg, Florida.”

It states “the purpose of this section is to protect city-owned park and waterfront property. Except as provided herein, no waterfront or park property owned by the City may be sold, donated, or leased, demolished or constructed upon without specific authorization by a majority vote in a city-wide referendum.”

The petition also establishes boundaries including the property where the pier and uplands are located.

The petition is an obvious reaction to the likelihood that the Pier Selection Committee will move forward with awarding its top-ranking to the Alfonso Architect design known as Alma.

That design ranked number five on the city’s public survey out of seven possible designs. In a second independent survey, it ranked dead last. And in a poll commissioned by Florida Politics it earned less than nine percent approval rating.

By contrast, Destination St. Pete Pier has shown overwhelming support in all three polls and during public comment during a meeting last week in which the committee decided not to finalize their rankings until they got more information from design teams.

If they move forward with ranking Alma number one, City Council could reject that move. If they don’t, Mayor Rick Kriseman will have the green light to begin negotiations with the team.

This is a breaking story. We’ll bring more details as they emerge.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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