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Skyway Marina District in line for some pro-development zoning changes

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Pete City Council is set to vote on a matter that would pave the way for large-scale developments in the Skyway Marina District.

The area encompasses more than 250 acres from 30 Ave. South to 54 Ave. South and East and West of 34 Street.

Council will vote on changes pertaining to future land use maps and zoning. The changes are intended to encourage things like larger housing developments whose opening could spur population growth and economic development opportunities.

St. Pete City Councilman Steve Kornell, who represents that district, said he wasn’t initially amenable to the idea of turning the area into a residential hub.

“I didn’t really get it until I saw pictures from the eighth floor of the Ceridian,” Kornell said. “The views you get in that area are some of the best in the city. They’re waterfront or of the Skyway. Some have the dome.”

The idea isn’t just to bring in new housing development.

“One of the things I hear most from people in that area is they want more restaurants,” Kornell said.

In recent years there has been some boom in that regard. There’s now an IHOP and Brew Burger along that corridor. Just South is Skyway Jacks. Beef O’Brady’s is still doing well and Portofino’s has been an Italian staple in the Skyway Marina corridor for years.

“It’s really an advantage to the area,” Kornell said, noting that he also hopes to attract business to the area.

The zoning and map changes are part of a broader Skyway Marina District comprehensive plan. Kornell said the city has set aside $600,000 for improvements to lighting along the corridor. They’ve also started a project that will put signs at three locations to better identify the area and provide name recognition.

“The big thing people need to keep in mind is how downtown happened,” Kornell said. “It was one little thing at a time.”

If council approves the item at its Thursday meeting, it will be scheduled for a second reading before final passage.

 

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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