A assets on Pinellas County’s preservation desire listing lost to progress

A wooded assets on Pinellas County’s preservation desire checklist has been sold into non-public fingers.

Robert Collins of St. Petersburg verified he closed Thursday on 14 undeveloped acres on 164th Avenue N, just west of the southern conclude of the Bayside Bridge in unincorporated Pinellas.

The home, about fifty percent of which is viewed as unbuildable wetlands on Aged Tampa Bay, experienced been bank owned given that 2012, when a developer who prepared for residences and properties went bankrupt. In 2018, county officials developed a listing of 60 houses for prospective preservation and involved the 14 acres.

The decline of the C1 Financial institution assets follows community uproar this summertime, when Pulte Houses went beneath deal for 44 acres of woods near Dunedin that ended up also on the county’s desire checklist. Pinellas and Dunedin officials are now preparing to make an offer you to the estate of the late Gladys Douglas for the 44 acres, which is only doable mainly because Pulte walked absent from the buy in October.

Housing on one side of the road, rare wild land on another. The contrast could not be more stark for the Gladys Douglas-Hackworth property, 44 undeveloped acres in the heart of Dunedin. Even as it&#x2019s surrounded by housing developments, this hammock of green space serves as a refuge for wildlife. We have a second chance to protect this habitat &#x2014 the largest left to preserve in Pinellas. To prevent further loss, now is the time to act, argues the author. [Photo by Carlton Ward Jr    |   Florida Wild]
Housing on one aspect of the street, scarce wild land on another. The distinction could not be far more stark for the Gladys Douglas-Hackworth assets, 44 undeveloped acres in the coronary heart of Dunedin. Even as it’s surrounded by housing developments, this hammock of green space serves as a refuge for wildlife. We have a 2nd possibility to safeguard this habitat — the most significant left to protect in Pinellas. To avoid more loss, now is the time to act, argues the writer. [Photo by Carlton Ward Jr | Florida Wild] [ Photo by Carlton Ward Jr | Florida Wild ]

The second possibility to get the Douglas home has prompted the county to choose a more difficult search at preservation tactic. The county doesn’t have a concrete program for how to pursue its opportunity acquisition record, and parks and conservation sources director Paul Cozzie mentioned staff is scheduling a dialogue with the county fee early future yr to discuss priorities.

The decline of the financial institution home highlights the limited time county officers have to maintain a lot more land in the state’s most densely populated county, with only $15 million budgeted to acquire land as a result of 2030.

“The tactic could be to glance at irrespective of whether $15 million is the right amount of money or is $30 million the appropriate quantity or if it requires to be distribute around 5 yrs alternatively of 10 simply because there will be far more missed prospects as time goes on,” mentioned 2021 county fee chair Dave Eggers.


Pinellas County has used $54.6 million in Penny for Pinellas a person-cent revenue tax profits considering the fact that 2000 to get 16 qualities for preservation, in accordance to information offered by Cozzie. Alongside with a few donations and two properties obtained by means of escheat, the county has saved 1,497 acres in excess of the past two decades.

These acquisitions additional to what is now 21,000 acres of county parks and environmental lands. Environmental stewardship and the goal to “promote a well balanced romance among the all-natural natural environment and development” are outlined in the county’s complete approach.

Even now, Sierra Club executive committee chair James Scott told the Tampa Bay Times past thirty day period his team is advocating for the county commission to act far more urgently on getting preservation land. With no concrete tactic outlined for the county’s 2018 listing of likely acquisitions, they are ripe to slip by way of to developers and other non-public interests.

“Good conservation policy arrives from excellent conservation planning,” Scott stated.

Cozzie said section of the deficiency of motion on the probable acquisitions has been the timing. The $15 million pot for the following 10 years is coming from the fourth cycle of Penny for Pinellas that began in January 2020, so funding was not quickly readily available when the list was created in 2018.

Pretty much all of the funding for land preservation in the Penny’s 3rd cycle from 2010 to 2020 was progress funded in 2008 for a one $17 million order: an 872-acre tract that was added to the now 8,746-acre Brooker Creek Maintain.

Officials have purchased 1 parcel from the 2018 checklist so much: the 38-acre previous Baypointe Golf Course that will be utilised for stormwater upkeep and greenspace. The $1.2 million purchase in February was paid for with Penny cash committed to stormwater, not the $15 million pot for preservation, Cozzie reported.

The 60 attributes the county hoped to obtain have a blended just market place price of $33.7 million, which means the precise expenses could be additional than double that. With only a $15 million funds, Cozzie claimed the dialogue with the fee next yr will concentration on next ways.

“$15 million is not plenty of to deal with what we require to tackle,” Cozzie claimed. “As the community has developed and things like inexpensive housing and financial progress have turn out to be more critical, cash have shifted.”


Before trader Robert Collins acquired the home overlooking Aged Tampa Bay last 7 days, resident David Waddell had been pressuring the county for a long time to acquire the land as mitigation for his flood-vulnerable neighborhood.

He explained a deficiency of urgency has resulted in the decline of this vital land, which is “a ball fall, just like the up coming just one is heading to be.”

“This has always been about not producing it, mainly because this acts as a sponge for our community,” mentioned Waddell, president of the Pinellas Groves Hamlet Citizens Committee. “If you acquire that land away, we get rid of our watershed capability.”

Collins, who acquired the 14 acres for $650,000, explained he is setting up to construct a number of households for himself and adult kids, not a dense housing progress. But Collins, CEO of grant foundation TrustBridge, reported he appreciates very first hand the desire that is out there for land in Pinellas.

“If the county can put away stunning items of assets for in the long run the prevalent very good for the community, I believe that’s a excellent point. But they can not just sit about and do nothing and have wishful thinking or else these prospects are going to go awa
y,” Collins explained.