Neighborhood News






(Updated November 4, 2017)

Summary Report from The Alliance for Bayway Communities

As evidenced by the construction equipment seen as we drive by, there's major work underway at the Southwest Water Reclamation Facility (SWWRF) just east of Eckerd College. Short-term measures, including an injection well to discard higher flows during severe rain events, are now in place. Another major project has begun that will convert substantial portions of plant solid waste into methane, resulting in a less harmful solid product and energy to be used at the plant and in city garbage trucks. This project has a late 2018 completion date.

Longer-term changes to address the sewer overflow problem have not been fully defined, but we know the total bill will be well over $350M. The City forecasts that this will eventually result in water and sewer rates increasing more than 50%. The ABC has expressed general agreement with overall plans defined to date and will continue to participate in City efforts to finalize plans.

On August 16, the ABC held an Advocacy Workshop at the Isla Del Sol Y&CC to discuss how the ABC and individual associations can be more effective in presenting our interests to local officials and state legislators. Lobbyists that represent the Community Association Institute (Travis Moore) and our property management companies (Mark Anderson) presented their insight on how to be more effective and what they expect the key issues to be at the coming legislative session. The Workshop was attended by all four of the property management associations in the area covered by the ABC, by a number of St. Petersburg City personnel, and by representatives of some large associations in the Clearwater area.

One action item from the workshop was to seek assurance that Senator Brandes and Representative Peters would oppose any proposed state legislative action that would make it possible for owners to use services like Airbnb when such use would result in violation of restrictions in an association's documents and rules. Both were in strong support of our position.

Another workshop item was to advance our desire to have all utilities on the Pinellas Bayway moved underground. We started this process before the September hurricanes, but concerns raised by the storms have substantially increased interest at all levels of government. Key to progress in this area will be discussions with County Commissioners who control "Penny for Pinellas" funds. The ABC will give priority to this matter in the next few months.

On October 12, ABC representatives met with Senator Latvala to discuss and gain his support for our stance on Airbnb, underground utilities and waste water treatment. He was receptive to these matters and suggested that we meet with Representative Peters to discuss these further. Representative Peters was supportive and made some suggestions for the ABC's presentation at the upcoming Legislation Delegation on November 1.

A substantial number of derelict boats were removed from Boca Ciega Bay and the surrounding area in early October. Past ABC work with Council Member Kornell and others has resulted in appropriation of City funds for boat removal. However, emergency federal funds for boat removal were made available after Hurricane Irma and normal procedures for condemning abandoned boats before they can be removed were temporarily relaxed. The City immediately accessed this program, which was implemented by Florida Fish and Wildlife. As a result, about ten boats sunken or washed up on beaches adjacent to our associations were removed. The process for removing derelict boats during normal circumstances still needs resolution and the ABC is working with Council Member Kornell, the City's legal department, and SPPD's marine division to get that done.

The ABC Telecommunications Team has been meeting with internet providers (Spectrum, Frontier, WOW, and potentially two others) to develop a bulk internet offer that might be attractive to associations. The intent is to provide internet service to all residents in an association at a lower cost than when residents purchase internet service individually. Our target is to have the best bulk internet offers presented for association consideration early in 2018. In the meanwhile, we will work with Spectrum to communicate on the cost for services that residents individually purchase. Many residents will find reduced cost for their individual services under "Spectrum pricing" instead of "legacy Bright House pricing".

The Tierra Verde Bridge is on schedule and construction should start in February 2018 and be complete in 2021. The contractor for the project has yet to be selected, but five contractors remain in the running.

Respectfully submitted,
ABC Principals