Current Project: 635 64th St S. 33707
History of the Grace Connection Church Dilemma:
Pastor Tim Kelley of Grace Connection Church has assumed oversight of the Church since 2012 (historically belonging to Pasadena Baptist Church). According to the Pastor, over the years, Pasadena Baptist Church and Grace Connection had been sharing the Church grounds and both experienced major decrease in membership, along with the monetary resources needed to adequately maintain the property.
Pastor Kelley deemed the maintenance of the Church grounds insurmountable in 2017 and decisively held a vote for the church's members to approve prospecting for buyers to take over the Church property. The vote was successful and Pastor Kelley began the search.
The urgency to sell became even more so when the City of Saint Petersburg charged the Church with various code violations towards the end of 2018 during an inspection. One of the main violations relates to the land subsidence under the buildings directly adjacent to Bear Creek. The neighborhood continues to struggle alongside the Church in hopes to find a buyer that will respect the character of the neighborhood and fragile ecosystem of the flowing Bear Creek running just north of the property.
Proposed Zoning and Land Use Changes
Blue Sky Communities followed the footsteps of the neighborhood's very own City officials in an attempt to locate 20+ unit per acre, up to 7-story tall development in the middle of a zoned Single-Family, no more than 2-story neighborhood in an effort to alleviate the political pressure to generate more affordable housing.
- Close to 4.5 acres of buildable land
- It's cheap (due to the condition of the existing buildings)
- Cheap means optimizing Profit (SHOW ME THE MONEY!)
Why Does This Proposed Development Not Belong Here?
- The Comprehensive Plan protects the Single-Family character of the neighborhood for Homeowners who invested their lifelong earnings.
- High potential for jurisdictional conflict.
The property abuts unincorporated Saint Petersburg and Gulfport.
Additionally, the Church itself is in District 1 and immediately across 64th Street S from District 7. It is very likely that the objectives and fiduciary resources of the different jurisdictions are not aligned.
- Improper use of "Spot Zoning"
"Spot Zoning" is appropriately applied to amend zoning and land use from the surrounding area in order to accommodate developments which would provide services to the residents in the immediate neighborhood, such as schools, libraries, recreational centers, Fire Departments, et cetra. This high density rental development clearly does not meet those standards.
- Increase in Impervious surfaces along a tidally influenced, environmentally fragile Estuary
Bear Creek (which runs along the northern edge of 635 64th St S) is subject to flooding, not only because of storm water runoff, but also due to storm surges during extreme weather events.
- Stress on existing infrastructure and social services due to the upwards of 33% increase in population.
- Choke Point for traffic along a Hurricane Evacuation route.