A game changer in debate over future of new St. Petersburg Pier: County will reportedly DENY permit to build ‘The Lens’

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A game changer in the debate over the future of the new Saint Petersburg Pier may have occurred, just not from where anyone was expecting.

Staff of the Pinellas county government has informed the City of St. Petersburg that were the city to move forward with the permitting process necessary to construct ‘The Lens’ as currently envisioned, its recommendation would be to deny the permit. 

The rationale for this unfavorable recommendation is not entirely clear, but my sources tell me it has something to do with the height of ‘The Lens.’

Pinellas County Land Development Code provides that regulation and control in Pinellas County of all water-related areas and their alterations is the domain of the County Commission, operating as the Water and Navigation Control Authority. Issues germane to the Water and Navigation Control Authority include dredging, filling, pumping, or otherwise altering the shoreline and land contours. It’s under this authority that the county government must issue a permit for construction of The Lens to begin.

Reaction to this development is causing a great deal of consternation, both at Court Street and in St. Petersburg’s City Hall. One member of the County Commission describes the situation as one in which the Commission now has “veto” power over the future of the new Pier. A City Council member, who says they have already been in contact with County Administrator Bob LaSala, describes this issues as “serious.” 





Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.