MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. — Officials in Madeira Beach voted Wednesday night in favor of changing the land use at a popular tourist spot in town.
What You Need To Know
- Madeira Beach City Commission voted Wednesday night to advance plans for an ordinance to add density to John’s Pass Village
- Some property owners hope to add more retail and hotel space so people stay on property instead of finding lodging somewhere else
- Workers in John’s Pass Village think adding density would be great to improve business
- According to our partners at the Tampa Bay Times, a resident commissioned a study challenging the expansion which brought up concerns about what adding more density would do to a barrier island vulnerable to hurricanes
If approved by state and local agencies, John’s Pass Village could see more construction that would add more hotel rooms and retail space in the shopping center.
Kristina Zornick loves coming into work in Madeira Beach.
“It’s always energetic, always wonderful coming down here,” Zornick said. She’s an employee at Lori’s Soaps, a local shop in John’s Pass Village.
She’s only worked here for roughly two years, but has been visiting this popular spot for most of her life.
“I love seeing people from all different countries come down here, too,” Zornick said. “We just get them from all over the country. It’s nice. It’s beautiful seeing everyone.”
She says it gets even busier during the summer and spring breaks, but that could increase if the city of Madeira Beach approves an ordinance that would add more restaurants and shops.
“This is probably, if not the biggest, the biggest tourist attraction, as everyone knows, in Pinellas County,” said Benjamin Mallah, a property owner at John’s Pass.
Mallah owns several of the buildings along and next to the boardwalk at John’s Pass.
If added density is approved, he says he plans on building additional retail space which would include a hotel with roughly 20 rooms in it so people can stay on site.
“We need to move further into the future and take what we have and make it bigger and better,” Mallah said.
According to our partners at the Tampa Bay Times, a resident commissioned a study challenging the expansion. It brought up concerns about what adding more density would do to a barrier island vulnerable to hurricanes.
Mallah says he’s no expert, but he believes the newer buildings would be able to withstand storms.
“I love this property,” Mallah said. “This is a trophy asset.”
That love can be felt down the road inside Lori’s Soaps, too.
“I think it will be a good thing overall,” Zornick said.
To her, the only concern she has is increased traffic creating potential parking difficulties. Otherwise, she says more people is great for business.
“There’s a lot of people that don’t even know we’re down here so it’s good to get it out,” Zornick said.
But whether the city agrees with this remains to be seen.
The proposal still needs approval from the Pinellas County Commission and the county’s planning agency before city officials can vote on adopting it.