I remember the first time I drove into Pass-a-Grille 24 years ago and instantly fell in love. We had a drink at the Hurricane on the rooftop. It wasn't just the beach or the palm trees, the parrots or the people that I fell in love with - it was the sum of the whole. It was the laid back, simple, peaceful and authentic vibe that appealed to this NYC girl. The mix of the locally owned businesses and the quaint albeit worn cottages, the alleys that were a little messy with overgrown foliage and cats roaming the yards. There is a challenge to preserve what exists and to keep the authenticity of Pass-a-Grille as newer homes are built and businesses try to meet modern standards but it's a challenge we can all meet if the proper codes exist.
- Celebrating Local Historic Designations
A Preservation Summit was held on Wed, Apr 20th led by the Pinellas County Historic Preservation Board with the City of SPB and the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum as co-hosts. They discussed the future implementation of Form Based Codes to create, maintain and protect the authenticity, standards and sense of place in Pass-a-Grille.
Thanks to a $41,050 grant that Chelsey Weldon, Planner, City of St. Pete Beach was able to obtain (kudos to Chelsey!) the City was able to hire a consultant to conduct a historic resources survey. The survey is an inventory and documentation of all existing structures in the historic district. A planning consultant was also hired to rewrite existing codes to be replaced by a combination of regular and form based codes. This is still a work in progress.
Local hotel owner Joe Caruso was asked to provide insight on the challenges of renovating a non-conforming structure. Joe is the owner of Havana Inn and Coconut Inn which are both Historic Designated Structures. He also owns Sabal Palms Inn which has been in his family for over 30 years. The audience applauded as he spoke of his passion and drive to preserve deteriorating properties and the challenges of renovating these non-conforming properties. He eventually was able to meet these challenges with properties that now attract tourists from all over the world and will continue to do so for many years to come.
Lance Peterson and Michael Heerschap from the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum presented a wonderful slideshow with a sampling of pictures and history from the museum. Please visit the museum for the most comprehensive collection of beaches history available.