Letter to the Editor
Treasure Island is being slowly strangled by the inability to redevelop its ageing tourism properties. Many of the properties are in dire need of updating, and their condition drags down other better properties by forcing them to compete, while dragging down the community as a whole.
Just a paint job is not going to fix the problems facing the Island’s commercial zone. These worn-out and outdated tourist dwellings need to be replaced with modern tourism units with amenities desired by today’s travelers, who have higher standards and expectations.
Under current regulations, that is impossible. Sadly, if nothing is done, these once profitable mid-century properties will become blighted, derelict ghosts of the past.
There are 6 referendums questions on the November 8th ballot,dealing with redevelopment within a small, defined area, and incorporate a Planned Development Zoning District. But perhaps the most important ones pertain to height and density. The City is asking for 24 more feet of height, which would increase a tourism structure from 5 to 7 floors, and adjustments related to density in the PD Zone only.
The charm of a community does not lie in the height of its structures. It is dependent on the warmth and caring attitudes of residents, the quality and success of its businesses, the feeling of trust and reliability in local government, and the sense that everyone wants to help make the community the best it can be.
The charm of Treasure Island is best maintained by improving and upgrading those 40, 50 and 60 year old properties. There is nothing charming about old and decaying buildings.
Without these changes, the operation of the city will fall on the shoulders of its residents by way of increased property taxes, and\or there will be diminishingservices. No one wants to see Treasure Island turn into a Clearwater Beach. The request in the PD Zone is simple; 24 feet of height, and an increase in density, not through the entire City, but in a small, clearly defined commercial area.
This inability to redevelop has led to a noticeably negative effect on tax revenues. In 2015, Treasure Island ranked LOWEST in evaluation increases of all beach communities.
The values of redeveloped properties will lead to an increase in property tax collections. Redevelopment will also increase the other tourist taxes, and the benefit of direct spending on food, retail, and other businesses, as well as creating job opportunities in the community.
Tourism provides diversity, vibrancy, job opportunities, more profit for our existing businesses, and the benefits the tourist dollar provides throughout the cities and counties are tremendous. Each household in Florida would be taxed an additional $1,535 annually to replace the tourism taxes to the state and local governments.
Treasure Island needs responsible and quality development to return it to being
THE JEWEL OF THE BEACHES!!!
Mary H. Maloof
A Concerned Former Mayor of Treasure Island