OCC approves purchase agreement, proposed development of St. Pete drive property

A look at the “six-plex” units of the proposed town home development on St. Petersburg Drive near downtown Oldsmar.

The Oldsmar City Council approved the purchase of a four-acre parcel on St. Petersburg Drive last week and gave initial approval to a proposed development agreement that would see a 50-unit town home community built on the property.

The purchase and sale agreement calls for Oldsmar Towns, LLC to purchase 3.79 acres of city owned property adjacent to the library for $877,182.

Palm Harbor Developer Tony Tanico said he plans to build 50 single-family, three-story residential units featuring an “urban, Mediterranean revival” architectural design, two-car garages and passive park space. The buildings would be grouped in four and six units separated by “mews,” or public courtyards, in between.

The preliminary site plan for the town home development on St. Petersburg Drive includes “mews” between the four- and six-plex buildings.

While the five local lawmakers agreed the proposed project would likely result in a beautiful development that would be an asset to the city, they once again disagreed on several terms and conditions of the agreements, leading to lengthy discussions and several rounds of verbal volleying.

“Can I chime in?” Mayor Doug Bevis asked at one point during a heated back and forth between three council members.

“A couple of points have been made and I appreciate it. That’s why I love this council, because we definitely listen to each other.”

The disputes arose over everything from the sale price of the property (Council member Eric Seidel felt the city isn’t getting enough for the land, which has been valued at $1.2 million in the past) to the inclusion of School Street in the development (Seidel and Council member Jerry Beverland are opposed to including the through street in the project).

Further discussions centered on the access points for School Street, what amenities would be included in the project, such as playgrounds, pools, grills and greenspace, and constructing a barrier between the new complex and the residences on Arlington Avenue.

The conceptual site plan for the proposed 50-unit town home development on St. Petersburg Drive near downtown Oldsmar.

When asked about the amenities, Tanico said they decided to forgo adding a pool and instead intend to use the undeveloped areas as a “passive green space in a parklike setting.”

Tanico also noted he was confident he accomplished the goals the council set for him at the previous meeting.

Developer Tony Tanico of Oldsmar Towns, LLC.

“I am proud to say I think we accomplished both tasks that we were tasked with,” he said.

“One was to come up with a value (of the land) and the other is, what is it going to look like?”

Tanico went on to detail his plans for the development, which would be comprised of “four-plexes,” or four connected units, on the east side of the property and “six-plexes” on the west.

He said he was impartial to the School Street issue, but that was the topic that received the most attention from the council.

As mentioned, Seidel and Beverland were opposed to developing the “paper” street, which has been on the city plats for decades, while Vice-Mayor Dan Saracki, Council member Gabby McGee and Mayor Bevis were in favor of it, albeit with bollards, or hinged concrete bumpers, at the Arlington Ave entrance that would restrict access to emergency vehicles only.

“I think we’re trying to get away from our cars, so I think that connecting and being able to go that way, it flows,” Bevis said. “So, I do think it needs to be restricted. I don’t think you necessarily need to have cars go through there.”

Ultimately, the council members agreed to include State Street, with bollards, and the purchase and sale agreement passed by a 4-1 vote, with Seidel expressing the dissenting vote.

A local developer has plans to build a 50-unit town home community of four acres of land next to the Oldsmar Public Library.

The council also gave City Attorney Tom Trask direction pertaining to the development agreement, which included clarifying the amenity area language and discussing the wall around the amenity area; Trask noted the items must be addressed before the next public hearing on the items.

After the meeting, Tanico spoke about the council’s decision to move forward with his project.

“I think generally speaking it’s going to be a great project,” he told Oldsmar Connect outside the Council Chambers. “It’s the right project, and it’s a beautiful downtown project.”

When asked about the next step, Tanico said, “The next step is to get it approved. We’ve been working on this since February, and we still have work to do.”

Mayor Bevis also spoke about the development after the meeting.

Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.

“I think it was a great middle of the road compromise to address safety and accessibility,” he said of the decision to include the bollards on School Street.

Regarding the purchase price of the property, which the city’s consultant said was in the mid-range of what the land is worth, Bevis said “I think of the entire value of the whole thing. We’re getting over what we paid for it, and it helps with the future development in the area.

“Would we be able to get more for the land in the future? I don’t know,” he added. “I’ve always said a piece of property is only worth what someone will pay for it.”

As for the sometimes heated discussion between the council, the mayor said he believes it’s always good to have productive conversations about important issues.

“I think we always have a good dialog,” he said. “We don’t come in locked into what we think should happen.

“Opinions can change during the course of our discussions because we listen to what everybody says, and I think you saw that happen with this issue.”

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