CLEARWATER - Clearwater City Planning Director Michael Delk moderated a public meeting held at Clearwater Beach Recreation Center last Tuesday evening to review four options for possible redevelopment of waterfront property located east of Eastshore Drive along North Clearwater Beach.
Over 40 concerned Clearwater Beach citizens attended the 6 p.m. city meeting.
Casual observers could immediately observe the varied opinions from Eastshore business owners versus Clearwater Beach homeowners regarding vacating Eastshore Drive to accommodate redevelopment options. Most citizens that attended the meeting did not support any development option that would close Eastshore Drive. "It would be disastrous for north beach traffic," stated more than one citizen.
However, one property owner stated she did not mind "sharing" the water view with others in supporting redevelopment.
With four city elected officials in attendance, one elected official said, "The single most important issue is whether to vacate Eastshore." Of course, Jay Keyes of the Clearwater Beach Association related the recent vote of the CBA. "The Clearwater Beach Association opposes any closing of Eastshore Drive."
With this comment in hand, Michael Delk continued to review all four development options which continued to create questions from concerned citizens. One citizen asked why she was not informed of an Eastshore meeting held the previous week when she gave the city her e-mail address for notification of any city meetings. "I surveyed 12 residents about closing Eastshore and not one supported closure. I want to pass this on to you for your use," explained the concerned citizen.
Another citizen asked about the proposed boat slip "give-away" to a private highrise condominium developer regarding adding boat slips in the City of Clearwater owned north beach inlet boat basin. The citizen was informed that the Marina District meeting did not include that boat dockage topic on the agenda. (However, the boat slip issue was passed by the City Council two days later in a City Council meeting.)
Other redevelopment issues were mentioned by citizens and elected officials as they left the meeting about the contemplated Marina District options. "I don't see it happening . . . too many issues, like seagrass, vacating Eastshore, seawall costs, water depth, how to add boat slips, costs to redevelop, and so forth," stated one city official.
Another citizen stated she would obtain a petition of citizen's names that do not support vacating Eastshore Drive, North Clearwater Beach resident Betty Failor was puzzled why closing Eastshore Drive was being reviewed "since it clearly does not have citizens support." With different opinions aired by both sides of the contemplated Marina District redevelopment "four option" plan, city officials and city planners explained that they still wanted citizen input. (Citizens were reminded to examine the city Web site and go to the Planning Department for information and updates.)
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