SAVE LAKE LARGO
SAVE LAKE LARGO
TELL THE CITY OF LARGO TO VOTE NO ON CHANGING THE FUTURE LAND USE OF 800 8th AVE SE
On April 6, 2021 the City of Largo voted to enter into a Development Agreement with Belleair Development Group to develop a parcel of land located at 800 8th Ave SE. Currently, a radio station owned by Genesis Communications, but before the radio station this land was part of the historic Donegan Dairy farm, and various stages of use for farming and grazing for livestock. The parcel has a history of agricultural use after a 500-acre lake (originally known as Lake Tolulu) was drained for the rich muck available to farmers. After the Dairy Farm was no more, there were still uses by livestock, migratory birds and other animals through the area known as Lake Largo. Eventually the smaller lake that was on the property was drained, and filled with material from East Bay Dr. when that was reconstructed and widened.
From the Developer Agreement:
“On April 6, 2021, the City Commission authorized, by a vote of 6-1, the Development Controls Officer (DCO) to negotiate the terms and conditions for a Development Agreement (DA) with BDG 800, LLC, agent for the property owner of two parcels of land with (PINs: 03-30-15-47970-100-1000 and 03-30-15-47970-100-0100) located south of 8th Avenue SE and west of Donegan Road. The DA would restrict the use to a 231-unit multifamily development with a thirty (30) percent affordable housing component and provide a conceptual site plan addressing buffering, site improvements and other potential mitigation.
The property is approximately 15.46 acres with frontage on 8th Avenue SE and Donegan Road. The site is designated as an Industrial Limited (IL) future land use and is currently an improved agricultural use. The applicant is proposing to amend the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) to Residential Low Medium (RLM) to redevelop the site into a mixed income multifamily development utilizing incentives of Comprehensive Development Code (CDC) Chapter 14.”
Nearby residents are concerned with many issues about developing this property:
- Traffic & Safety – the parcel is on a 2 lane road, with no shoulder. 800 8th Ave SE is adjacent to a Middle School, and Railroad Tracks. All outlets are 2 lane roads as well, with 8th Ave SE to the west out to Seminole Blvd, Central Park Drive, which is another 3 lane road leading to East Bay Drive. Going to the east, 8th Ave SE meets with Donegan Road at a dangerous curve, also no shoulder, with an eventual outlet to Lake Ave., yet another 2 lane road, which feeds out to Ulmerton Road, a 6 lane thoroughfare. Adding 231 units and 428 parking spaces will add to an already dangerous road where it has been documented for speeding issues, and heavy congestion any time school hours allow for parents dropping off and picking up their children. Congestion also is an issue with any special event at Largo Central Park just north of the proposed development site. If there is an accident at any of the major roads (Seminole Blvd, East Bay Dr., Ulmerton Rd) traffic cuts through these neighborhoods where drivers are not familiar with the roads or the constraints, and speed through residential areas to get to another outlet. The proposal for a 231+ unit development is also setting precedent with this size of development on a 2 lane road. All other apartments in the general area comparable to this size are on 4 or six lane roads, some with multiple ingress/egress points for the property.
- Storm water/drainage/sewage concerns – the Lake Largo area is probably the lowest point in the city, at approximately 9 feet above sea level. Ridge Rd/Clearwater-Largo Road, to the west, is approximately 70 feet above sea level. When we are in our rainy season, there are well-documented issues with flooding from Seminole Blvd down to the junction of 8th Ave SE and Donegan Rd, running across to Lake Ave to the east. This flooding occurs on both sides of the road and well past the property in question.
- Environmental concerns – people familiar with the area and the land have expressed concern for wetland grasses throughout the property that would need to be mitigated. The area is also a migratory path for many birds, and is a path for many animals, some of which include robins, eagles, coyote, coy wolf, giant (migratory) wood peckers, pileated wood peckers, owls, migratory geese, native butterflies, gopher turtles, rabbits, egrets, doves, horn bills, armadillos, osprey and countless other native species.
- Historical Preservation concerns – The 15 acres at 800 8th Ave SE is historical as a part of the site of the first dairy farm in Pinellas County. The farm was founded in 1924 by C E Donegan and was known as Donegan's certified dairy farm. The farmhouse built by C.E Donegan still stands, is in good condition and is adjacent to the 15 acres proposed for development. At one time there were 250 cows, with milk deliveries to stores and homes in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo and the beaches. During World War II, the farm delivered milk on the beaches. The owner has used the 15 acres unopposed for the last 20 years and is now forced to sell due to the loss of use of the land. This land and the farm house should be considered for the “Florida Forever Plan” and should not be developed in any fashion until that consideration is complete.
Major improvements to the road, on both sides, need to be undertaken by the city and county to mitigate safety issues. This is a major work that would be years in the making. The same holds true for any improvements that are needed for storm water, drainage, and sewer, which will be under more strain with approximately 400 additional toilets and showers in the complex. Sidewalks need to be constructed the length of the road, not just around the property being developed. There needs to be environmental impact studies ahead of this agreement.
Residents contend this is not an appropriate use of the property in a single family home neighborhood on a two-lane road. We believe this is a short-sighted approach and the City needs to step back and gather more important information about the land in question, before making a decision.
Please write to the commissioners and urge them to VOTE NO on this change. Attend the PUBLIC HEARING on October 5th at 6PM, either in person or via ZOOM, and make your voice heard!
HELP US SAVE LAKE LARGO - Sign this petition to tell the commissioners to VOTE NO on changing the future land use of the property at 800 8th Ave SE. Also, please attend the commissioners meeting on Tuesday October 5th at 6pm in a show of support against this change. For more information visit our Facebook page - Save Lake Largo - or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your support!!