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City Commission to consider development rehearing


A proposed medical complex at the corner of State Roads 580 and 590 that was denied by a 3-2 vote in August will be discussed again by the Safety Harbor City Commission on Monday, though how much it will be discussed is unknown.

Monday’s meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Here is the link to the agenda, with additional material, known as “backup,” available via the hyperlink on each item: http://safetyharbor.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=6&event_id=1678.

Residents of the La Playa Estates subdivision across the street from the planned medical complex urged Commission to deny the site plan because of increased traffic. (Scott Long)

After the complex was denied, an attorney representing the property owner filed a legal claim against the city with the Pinellas County Circuit Court and asked the City Commission to approve a rehearing, saying the reasons the three Commissioners who voted to deny the project were not valid reasons for denial. 

A motion to approve a rehearing, where the applicant says it will produce additional information that was not presented at the first hearing, can only come from one of the three Commissioners who voted to deny – Vice Mayor Cliff Merz and Commissioners Andy Zodrow and Nancy Besore. If none of the three makes a motion for a rehearing, or such a motion dies without a second or is voted down, a Pinellas County Circuit Court judge will decide whether a rehearing is justified. If a motion for a rehearing passes, it will be scheduled for a future City Commission meeing. 

For a fuller explanation of the issue, the previous vote and the process on Monday night, please see Safety Harbor Connect’s previous article. “Legal Claim Arises Over Medical Facility”


The city’s collective bargaining agreement with the Safety Harbor Professional Firefighters union expired on Sept. 30, and the city and union negotiated 18 changes to the next three-year agreement, including merit raises of up to 4 percent in the first year and up to 2 percent in each of the final two years, cost-of-living adjustments of 1 percent in the first year and 2 percent in each of the final two years and changes to the pension plan, including employee contributions increasing from 1 percent to 6 percent in three steps over the next three years, new employees contributing the full 6 percent and retirement available at 20 years of service instead of 25 years of service. The union approved the new contract unanimously.

Two votes are planned – one for the collective bargaining agreement and a separate one for the changes to the pension plan. 


Every year, the city gives outside agencies an opportunity to apply for city funding. The city budgeted $80,000 for such requests this year, but a total of $103,700 in requests has been received from nine agencies, meaning Commissioners will have to approve transferring money from its reserve fund if it wishes to fully fund all requests, or agree to a reduction in some or all of the requests to get down to the $80,000 budgeted. 

Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center ($45,000), Neighborly Care Network ($15,000), 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares Inc. ($3,000) and Paint Your Heart Out ($2,000) are requesting the same amount they were given last year, while the Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce is asking for $20,000 this year after receiving $15,000 last year.

New requests have been received from Safety Harbor Art and Music Center ($5,000 each for music and art programs), GALE/Cengage Learning ($7,700) and Family Center on Deafness ($1,000).


Amending Land Development Code: Commission will be asked to consider two separate changes to the city’s Land Development Code. The first would update procedural regulations and fees and the second makes a handful of changes to the city’s sign ordinance. The city’s Planning & Zoning Board approved both with recommended changes. 

Marina slip rate increases: The city last adjusted rental rates for slips at the Safety Harbor Marina in 2005, and increased costs for maintaining the marina prompted city staff to do a rate comparison study of other communities. Staff is recommending that rental rates be increased to $96.30 to $112.80, depending on size of the slip, from the current $87.50 to $102.50.  

Replacement of the city’s Enterprise Resource Planning computer system: The city’s Enterprise Resource Planning computer system is 27 years old and runs on a 1980s-era Unix platform. Replacing the system with one that runs on a Windows platform with data stored on city servers rather than a cloud-based subscription will result in a savings of more than $300,000 total over the next five years.

Code enforcement lien reduction request: Majid and Susan Akhoondan, owners of the property at 937 S. Bayshore Blvd., are requesting that their lien of $33,787.20 be reduced by 74 percent. City staff says the request meets the guidelines for a 75 percent reduction, which would make the fines $8,447.20 if paid within 90 days.

Sidewalk waiver request: The owner of 1201 N. Bayshore Drive, is requesting a waiver from the requirement to build a sidewalk. City staff says the neighborhood is served by alternate sidewalks and has no issue with the waiver.  

Planning & Zoning Board and Board of Appeals appointment: A vacancy on these boards, which evaluate development issues and proposed developments and hear variance requests, exists after Seth Swisher was removed for lack of attendance. Roger Menendez is the alternate member, and applications also have been received from Colin Young, Frances Orlando Hill, Neguiel Hicks, Stephen Wurst, Jennifer Sedillo and Scott Hood. If Menendez is elevated to a full member, Commission will need to appoint a new alternate.

Code Enforcement Board appointments: Two vacancies exist on the board that hears code enforcement cases after Lynda Olander and alternate Jo Ann Lueders have been removed for lack of attendance. Applications have been received from Neguiel Hicks, Jeffrey Snyder, Jennifer Sedillo, Jeffrey Doll, Jody Grutza and Scott Hood.  

Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center Week proclamation: The center that has been assisting Safety Harbor families since 1994 will be honored for 25 years of service.  

Fire Department retirement recognitions: Capt. Fred Dampier Jr. and Firefighter Eric Uden are retiring and will be honored.

City of Safety Harbor Arbor Day proclamation: Oct. 19 will be the city’s annual Arbor Day, when the city will be giving away up to 540 trees to residents.

Consent agenda: Items expected to have little debate, such as approval of the last meeting’s minutes and most contracts, are included en masse in the consent agenda, though any Commissioner can ask for any item to be considered separately. This meeting’s consent agenda includes approval of capping the city’s contribution to the Phillippe Pedestrian Bridge replacement at $250,000 and renews an accounting software contract.  


Attend the meeting: The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 750 Main St. Meetings typically run from 1.5 to three hours. Residents are given the opportunity to speak on all agenda items, except for presentations and consent agenda items. Come forward when asked by the mayor, state your name and address, and you’ll be given three minutes to address the Commission. For any issues not on the agenda, or any item that is on the consent agenda, residents get three minutes to speak at the beginning of the meeting during “Audience to be Heard.”  

Watch from home: Meetings are live-streamed to the city’s website at http://cityofsafetyharbor.com/557/Streaming-Media. The following day, a video of the meeting is posted for residents to watch.

Contact your Commissioners in advance by leaving them a message at City Hall at (727) 724-1555 or emailing them:

Mayor Joe Ayoub – jayoub@cityofsafetyharbor.com

Vice Mayor Cliff Merz – cmerz@cityofsafetyharbor.com

Commissioner Carlos Diaz – cdiaz@cityofsafetyharbor.com

Commissioner Andy Zodrow – azodrow@cityofsafetyharbor.com

Commissioner Nancy Besore – nbesore@cityofsafetyharbor.com


  1. This proposed project should be rejected again, this is residential neighborhood not commercial
    This type of project is best left on RT 19,
    The road is too narrow to allow this increased traffic that will be created.
    Please consider the impact this will create, with increased risk to residents walking, biking, and driving.

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