Bluffs Arbutine Seeks to Resolve Issue Over Seawall at a Condo
by Leo Coughlin
BELLEAIR BLUFFS - The columns of the Clearwater Gazette seem to have become the jousting field between Mayor Chris Arbutine and a citizen over the issue of a seawall in conjunction with the new Belleair Causeway and Bridge.
Peter Ferrara, a resident at the condominium building on the north east side of the causeway and a Bluffs resident, has entered his protest over the planned seawall being inadequate from the point of view of condominium dwellers.
The two men have gone back and forth on the issue, as reported in the Gazette, but the dispute now may be heading toward a resolution.
In his moderate and reasonable way, Arbutine, who more often plays the role of peacemaker than warrior, said Friday, "I am ready and willing to work with the condo association to solve these problems. If they appoint Peter (Ferrara) I am willing to work with him toward resolution."
That was the latest word in the dispute that has been more an exercise in persistence by Ferrara than a nasty gunfight (as happens in other nearby communities).
Arbutine pointed out that "The most important issue is the question of flooding and the most efficient way to solve any problems that may arise."
Ferrara said last week, in reference to the construction project for the new causeway and bridge, that "They originally proposed to bring their seawall over and abut our seawall and install a waste collection pond behind the seawall."
He said condo residents were opposed to any kind of pond so near the condo building because of the possibility of it "becoming a swamp" and/or "breeding ground for mosquitoes."
Ferrara said, "It soon became obvious that we were probably being 'punished' for not going along with the pond idea. Consequently we are where we are at this moment."
Arbutine said, "I have always been against any retention ponds within close proximity to living areas on this project." He said these concerns were considered at the Citizen Involvement Committee meetings.
"I do not believe any punishment or retribution is being exacted against anyone," Arbutine said.
Arbutine said he has asked the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Coast Guard and other outside agencies "to give a clear and unbiased assessment of the situation."
Ferrara said that he first addressed the concerns he has two years ago when he was appointed by Arbutine to the CIC and in a report to the Belleair Bluffs City Commission in July 2005 pointed out problems with erosion where the condo building he lives in abuts the Intracoastal Waterway.
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