St. Pete City Council adds ‘Lens’ to ballot - FOX 35 News Orlando

St. Pete City Council adds ‘Lens’ to ballot

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City of St. Pete rendering City of St. Pete rendering

The Lens idea for the St. Petersburg Pier remains a controversial topic, but the future of it has survived another round of hot debate.

And now it will go to a vote.

St. Petersburg City Council debated everything from ballot language to whether they should fire the architect Thursday. But in the end, it will be up for vote Aug. 27.

Council members are focusing on how the ballot question will be worded. They want to make sure the language is clear and people know if they're voting "for" or "against" the Lens.

A powerful voice in the Pinellas County business community withdrew its support for the new St. Pete Pier design Thursday. The Chamber of Commerce urged the city to cancel the 'Lens' contract and put the plans to a vote.

FOX 13 obtained a letter from the chamber president to Mayor Bill Foster and the City Council, which cites "the inevitability of another vote on the horizon" and suggested the city start the whole process over.


"We find a city divided and a future uncertain," the letter says, and goes on to suggest four steps for the city to take:

  • Canceling the Lens contract
  • Starting a new selection process immediately
  • Keeping the Lens design as one option
  • Hold a referendum

The existing St. Pete Pier closed to the public on May 31. City officials say the structure is in disrepair and needs to be replaced for both safety and business reasons.

But 'Stop the Lens' petitioners have been gathering signatures to force a vote on the Pier plans. Last month, they turned in 20,000 signatures requesting that the City Council pass an ordinance terminating the contract with the Lens architect, or put it to a vote in August.

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