Gulfport Community Update
October 18 – 24, 2020
In an effort to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, all public water fountains in the City of Gulfport have been turned off. For more information, call 893-1000.
Pinellas County Hurricane Preparedness Guides are available at Gulfport City Hall, Library & Fire Station. Visit www.mygulfport.us/hurricane-center/ for planning tips, a list of recommended supplies and other useful hurricane-related information. The Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season ends November 30. Be prepared to stay safe.
FREE smoke detectors are available to elderly and low income households within Gulfport City limits. Call 893-1059 for more information.
It’s time again for Santa to check his list and check it twice for Gulfport Police Department’s Operation Santa, offering assistance to Gulfport residents who could use a little help during the holidays. Applications will be accepted at the Gulfport Police Department Records office 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday – Friday through December 18. For more information or to donate unwrapped toys, cash/gift cards, etc., please leave a message at 893-1097.
Shop original art work, choose your favorite cuisine and enjoy live music during First Friday Art Walk & Third Saturday Indie Faire on Beach Boulevard. Visit www.visitgulfportflorida.com for more information. Hours of operation are 6 – 10 p.m.
The Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market is a weekly year-round open-air market featuring fruits, vegetables and a wide variety of foods; hand-made art and crafts; bath, body and wellness products and more. More than 50 vendors and exhibitors participate each Tuesday on Beach Boulevard in Gulfport’s Historic Waterfront District. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Safety protocols are in place to keep vendors and shoppers safe. For more information, visit www.gulfporttuesdayfreshmarket.com.
Trick or Treat down the Candy Chute Trail at the Gulfport Recreation Center 4 – 7 p.m. Saturday, October 31. This event will take place on the walking trail behind the building. Masks are required, and please practice social distancing. Call 893-1068 for more information.
Virtual Neighborhood Watch Meetings are broadcast “live on Facebook” at 7 p.m. every Wednesday. Check updates for your area and learn about recent incidents related to burglaries, BOLOs and stolen vehicles. Call 893-1022 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
COVID-19 testing is available through Community Health Centers of Pinellas and the Florida Department of Health. Visit www.covid19.pinellascounty.org/testing/ for testing sites, hours of operation and information.
The Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger is experiencing an increase in distribution needs with more families accessing food & resources. Interested volunteers can fill out an application at www.networktoendhunger.org/volunteer. If you or anyone you know could benefit from this program, call Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger at 813-344-5837 or submit an online application at www.NetworktoEndHunger.org/MOW4Kids.
Pinellas County provides assistance information for those negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit www.covid19.pinellascounty.org/where-to-get-help/ for food pantry distribution sites, financial assistance, eviction/foreclosure assistance information, pet care assistance and more. Text your zip code to 211 Tampa Bay Cares at 898211 or dial 211 24 hours a day.
City of Gulfport residential water customers are eligible for a rebate of up to $100 after the purchase and installation of a high efficiency water-saving toilet. The application and guidelines are available at www.mygulfport.us/toilet-rebate-program. Restrictions apply. Call 893-1016 for more information.
Duke Energy is waiving credit & debit card fees and walk-in payment fees through the end of October. Customers still facing financial challenges may request an extended payment arrangement. Residential customers with more complex issues can call 800-700-8744 Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.; business customers can call 877-372-8477. To apply, click on the following links: Residential customers Business customers
Dispatch calls for service
Self-initiated calls for service
Examples of arrests or significant incidents or calls this week:
Evalio Ricks was arrested for retail theft on October 15 after the manager of the Dollar General observed Ricks stuffing merchandise down in pants and leaving the store without paying. Officer McIntyre stopped the vehicle Ricks was riding in, and he admitted to the theft. Ricks had multiple prior convictions for theft, resulting in felony charges for this arrest.
Thomas Parkinson-Freeman was arrested on October 18 following the shooting death of his brother. The two were inside a car parked in the 5600 block of 25th Avenue with several other individuals when the victim pulled out his gun and pointed it at Thomas, who. responded by pulling out his own gun and shooting his brother in the head. The victim died after being transported to Bayfront Hospital.
Officers were dispatched to a report of a 25-year old man found unresponsive inside a residence in the 5000 block of 12th Avenue. The Gulfport Fire Department pronounced him deceased, and it appears that he overdosed on a controlled substance.
A woman denied entry to the PYCC gated community on October 19 became very upset and left the area at a high rate of speed. She was found inside her car in the grassy area at Clymer Park and stated she was allowed entry without identification the 2 previous days but the duty guard would not let her in. She said she was upset and having a panic attack. Officers contacted her employer who advised they would contact the gate guard.
A resident in the 4900 block of 31st Avenue reported on October 20 that her neighbor was pepper sprayed. Officers’ investigation determined the woman rushed toward someone she thought was yelling at her, pushed her, and was ultimately sprayed. No charges were filed.
A resident in the 4900 block of 31st Avenue reported on October 21 that he met a man at a bus stop in St. Pete who claimed he was a student working at the St. Pete Grand Prix. He invited the man to his house and accompanied him to a local business so that he could use his laptop on a free WiFi network. The resident claimed the man left with his laptop and he later realized that his camera was missing from his apartment. Officer Pope made contact with the suspect and discovered that he is a drug dealer the resident met at the bus stop who later visited his apartment to deliverer marijuana and crack cocaine. When the resident did not have money to pay, the dealer took the laptop and camera as payment until the resident gets his check on the first of the month, and would return the property when he gets his $200.
A resident in the 1700 block of 59th Street reported that a young man knocked on his door and asked if he needed his yard mowed. When the victim said no, the man grabbed a bicycle from the front yard and rode away. Officers circulated the area but could not locate the suspect.
Employees at a business in the 5000 block of Gulfport Boulevard reported that a man concealed items in a backpack and left the store. He was seen behind Smokin J’s, and hopped the fence to Gulfport Elementary as officers closed in and was last seen behind the Save a Lot, running towards 49th Street. Officer Pope recovered the back pack and stolen items.
Thomas Smith was arrested on four outstanding battery and fraud warrants issued by Pinellas County, some dating to 2008 after officers were dispatched to a residence in the 6300 block of 9th Avenue to attempt to locate a truck stolen from Michigan. Officers found the truck, and Smith admitted he took it from his ex-girlfriend in Michigan. The truck had not been listed as stolen, and was impounded pending pickup by the owner.
A resident in the 1000 block of Freemont Street reported that her neighbor cut down several of her trees, resulting in a physical altercation. Both parties accused the other of starting the altercation. Neither wished to prosecute so no arrest was made.
Criminal Investigative Section (CIS)
New cases reviewed: 5
Cases currently assigned: 49
Detective Pham conducted follow up investigations and wrote supplemental reports for a homicide case, a manslaughter, a burglary, and a fraud.
Detective Crowson conducted follow up investigations and wrote supplemental reports for a homicide case and a manslaughter.
Margaret Palmisano created a crime prevention flyer for Facebook, and performed a review of suspects with active Gulfport warrants, looking for new information on their whereabouts.
The Marine Unit was on the water for 29.5 hours this week, conducting 26 boater contacts and three vessel stops. There are currently 28 vessels inside City limits, including 14 in the mooring field, and an additional 7 outside City limits. Three vessels have been declared derelict; 1 by FWC and two by Gulfport Police Department.
Community Resources Division
The following written directive policies are currently in the review process: 308 – Administrative Filing Procedures; 402 – Burglary Investigations; 404 – Child Abuse Investigations; 645 – Traffic, Boating, DUI & Parking Citations, and; 709 – Access to and Use of Secure Databases.
Recruiting and Applicant Screening
Anthony McCallister will begin employment with GPD on November 10, bringing sworn staffing levels to 31 of 32 authorized.
Twelve police officer applications are being processed. Commander Stone is working on four background investigations while detective Rossie is on leave.
Inspections and Audits
Commander Stone completed and submitted an audit of the agency’s use of the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles driver & vehicle database. No issues were revealed.
Commander Stone submitted an audit, inventory & inspection of physical property and evidence held by the agency to the Chief of Police.
Officer Mills chaired of the City of Gulfport employee accident review committee reviewing three employee related traffic crashes. They determined that one crash was preventable, and two were not.
Officer Mills is on leave and will return to duty in January.
Jim Wright hosted a Facebook live event on October 21.
School Resource Officers wrote 1 police report; counseled 15 students; met with the parents of 1 student; hosted 3 safety meetings; initiated 1 Baker Act; escorted 9 truant students to the office, and; performed 41 security checks.
Officer Motte assisted the school with an Active Assailant Drill with no issues reported; assisted Officer Embry with a safety assessment of the school to address security issues on campus; assisted the school daily with class transition, arrival and dismissal; assisted with separating two students, preventing a physical altercation occurring; mentored three students; escorted five truant students to the office, and; provided security at a football game at Northeast High School.
Officer Embry communicated with SROs from other local schools about students transferred to BCHS, and met with a parent about her daughter’s behavior at school.
Officer Sigsbee took part in two Baker Act evaluations with students at the school resulting in one student being taken to PEHMS; spoke with two separate parents regarding their children’s behavior, and; answered multiple calls while a behavior specialist is on medical leave.
Assisted with nine dockside pump outs, evacuating four hundred ten gallons of waste and one pump-out boat pump out, evacuating ten gallons of waste.
Pumped six thousand eight hundred eighty-six gallons of gas, and two thousand nine hundred seventy-seven gallons of diesel fuel, fueling one hundred eighty vessels.
In an effort to protect customers, staff and event/instructional facilitators, all onsite events are cancelled until further notice. Visit www.facebook.com/GulfportLibraryFL/ for resources, information & virtual/online programs. You may be prompted by Facebook to login or create an account which may limit your view of the content, but you do not have to setup an account to watch videos or view photos. Previously recorded programs will remain available for 2 weeks. Click on events to see what’s coming up.
Curbside/Parking Lot pick up service is available for borrowing library materials and picking up requested printouts (reemployment forms, IRS tax forms, etc.). Patrons may access Library services and request materials via phone and email for pick up in the Library parking lot 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday – Friday, and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visit www.mygulfport.us/gpl for information and catalog access.
Check for virtual/online programs, resources, and information on our Facebook page. You may be prompted by Facebook to login or create an account which may limit your view of the content, but you do not have to setup an account to watch our videos or view our photos. Visit www.facebook.com/GulfportLibraryFL/ and click on videos to see any of our previously recorded programs and upcoming events. Programs will remain available for up to 2 weeks.
Monday, October 26, 4 p.m. – Fall Tree Luminaries for Grades K-7: Join us for a virtual craft! Watch live on ZOOM or on Facebook. Use tissue paper, glue, and a glass jar to create a fun fall inspired candle holder. Supplies are limited; 2 per household. Kits will be available October 23, 24 & 26. Call 893-1074 to confirm availability.
Thursday, October 29, 10:15 a.m. – Virtual Storytime: Join us on the library’s Facebook page! Be sure to follow @GulfportLibraryFL for books, rhymes, felts & more! Storytime videos are posted biweekly on Thursdays at 10:15 am.
David Mather attended Library, Information Technology, and City department meetings to update procedures and to distribute information as directed by the City Manager regarding the City’s response to the COVID-19 virus, contacted/followed up with various vendors to resolve issues and to initiate and implement new services; followed up on issues with purchases and billing, and; participated in ongoing planning and procedures under the direction of City Council and City Manager during transition for restoring/modifying services.
Carol Parker followed up with monthly statements from vendors, directing staff to retrieve and submit outstanding invoices in order to reconcile accounts; corresponded with vendor to resolve billing issue for ongoing service; submitted invoices for payment, and; coordinated with staff to revise draft schedule for November.
Library Staff responded to phone and email inquiries and resolved various issues; contacted vendors to update their status and to request/follow-up with quotes for new services; composed and submitted reports; and submitted bills for payment by Finance. Youth Services planned and implemented programs adapted for offsite use such as Virtual Craft & Science Club programs; presented Virtual Storytime via Facebook Live & Zoom, and; participated in various professional development webinars. Youth Services Librarian Cailey Klasson collaborated with City Horticulturist Toffer Ross on Pocket Prairie project outdoor area of new plantings and paths in front of building.
Library Services/Statistics October 11 – 17, 2020:
Items Circulated Patrons
Staff processed 9 Library card registrations.
PARKS & RECREATION
- Updated and emailed weekly Constant Contact newsletter to email distribution list.
- Posted COVID-19 updates to social media sites.
- Created press releases for City activities affected by COVID-19.
- Used Adobe InDesign to create images.
- Assisted with email responses for Cultural Facilities Department.
- Updated Trumba Calendar.
- Distributed free facemasks to residents and visitors.
- Assisted Senior Center with recording of virtual classes.
Register your email address at www.mygulfport.us to receive City of Gulfport emergency announcements electronically.
Alert Pinellas Emergency and Community Notification Service for Pinellas County enables the City to provide residents with critical information quickly in a variety of delivery methods. Visit www.mygulfport.us/alertpinellas for more information and to sign up for this FREE service.
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Gulfport Multipurpose Senior Center is closed until further notice.
The City of Gulfport Telephone Reassurance program is much more than a morning wake-up call. This free service offers Gulfport residents 50 years or older – and their families comfort, security, and peace of mind. Volunteers provide daily phone calls to registered members. If the member cannot be reached, the volunteer follows specific procedures to confirm there are no major concerns. Registration is simple and free. If you or someone you know could use this service, call 893-2237 or stop by the Gulfport Senior Center at 5501 27th Avenue.
Gulfport Extended Mobility Service (GEMS) has resumed limited, essential transportation services offering reliable, affordable and convenient on-time transportation to supermarkets, medical appointments, etc. for Gulfport residents 55 & older and residents with a disability. This door-to-door transportation has provided independence & freedom to Gulfport residents since 1975. The yearly membership is $70 plus $2 per ride. For more information, call 893-2242.
The Gulfport Senior Center Pantry provides supplemental food assistance to qualifying Gulfport Seniors in need. Hours of operation are 1 – 3 p.m. every Monday & Thursday. Gulfport residents 50 years old and older must provide a photo I.D., proof of residency, and proof of income to qualify. The Food Pantry also collects donations of non-perishable food items such as cereal, canned meats, peanut butter, jelly, soup, canned vegetables/fruit, rice, canned/dry milk, pasta, personal toiletries, & pet food. Donations are accepted 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday. Call 893-5657 for more information.
The Gulfport Multipurpose Senior Center has many volunteer opportunities available. If you want to make a difference and help your community, join the volunteer program at the Senior Center. It’s a great way to meet new friends and to get acquainted with more than 50 programs, classes and workshops. Volunteers assist as Lobby Receptionist, Fitness Center Attendants, Reassurance Callers, Class/Activity Instructors, Special Events, Food Pantry, Clerical Support, Flea Market, Promotions, Bingo, Card/Magazine organizing, etc. Call Rachel at 893-1231 for more information.
Pre-recorded classes are available on GTV 640, and for streaming on ZOOM, Facebook and YouTube. Call 893-5657 or visit www.facebook.com/GulfportSeniorCenter for more information. Next week’s GTV class schedule:
Monday, October 26
10 a.m. – Money Mondays: Medicare Made Clear
11 a.m. & 6 p.m. – Chair Exercise
Tuesday, October 27
10 a.m. & 6 p.m. – Yoga
10:30 a.m. – Spanish for Beginners
2 p.m. – Cooking for One Can Be Fun
Wednesday, October 28
9:30 a.m. – Gentle Mindful Yoga
10 a.m. – Shine Medicare 101
11:30 a.m. & 6 p.m. – Wellness Movement Exercise
Thursday, October 29
10 a.m. & 6 p.m. – Wisdom Healing Qigong
10:30 a.m. – Spanish Intermediate
Friday, October 30
10 a.m. – Writers Workshop
10:30 a.m. & 6 p.m. – Chair Yoga
- Virtual Program Attendance: 99
- Social Wellness Calls to Members: 825
- Reassurance Calls: 80
- Neighborly Care Network Meals Delivered: 806
- Food Pantry Bags Disbursed: 13
- Wellness Checks/Home Visits: 2
- GEMS Trips: 86
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic all Cultural Facilities events are cancelled until further notice
The Recreation Division will host the First Annual Halloween Trick-or-Treat Candy Chute Trail 4 – 7 p.m. Saturday, October 31. The event will take place on the walking path behind the Recreation Center. Children will trick-or-treat from tent to tent and receive candy/prizes from a candy chute in a safe and social distance.
Hoyt Field is reserved by Tampa Bay Club Sports for Kickball Leagues.
The volleyball courts are reserved by Tampa Bay Club Sports for volleyball clinics.
The following Contractual classes and activities have resumed: Ballet/Tap Combo, Essential Oils, Hip Hop, Pickle ball, Basketball, Table Tennis & Tennis.
Sixteen children are registered for the 2020/21 School Year Child Care Program for children in Kindergarten thru age 14. Bus transportation is available from Pasadena Fundamental, Bear Creek, Gulfport Montessori and Douglas Jamerson Elementary schools. Program hours are until 5:30 p.m. with extended hours available until 6 p.m. for an extra fee. Hours of registration are Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Four children have been for the 2020/21 Tot Time program. There are currently no children registered for the VPK Program. Tot Time is a hands-on preschool program for children ages 3-5 that aims to make learning fun for children and helps prepare them for Kindergarten. VPK is FREE for children who live in Florida and turn 4 years of age by September 1.
Foureen teens are registered for the Teen Night Program, a great hang out for teens in grades 6-12, providing recreation and social activities and offering monthly field trips, cooking projects, guest speakers & service projects. The teens utilize the gymnasium, game room and outdoor area.
Recreation Center Staff continue to clean, sanitize and disinfect the facility regularly throughout the day.
Marivel Gutierrez attended the Senior Staff meeting on Wednesday
Calls for service:
- 39 Emergency medical calls
- 2 Structure fires
- 3 Fire alarms
- 2 Vehicle crashes
- 1 Trauma alert
- 1 Fire outside structure
- 1 Structure collapse
- 20 Fire inspections
- 1 Site plan review
- 1 Plans review
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) meets at 7 p.m. every third Monday of the month. Call James Wright at 893-1022 for more information. CERT volunteers will provide traffic control for the Recreation Center’s Candy Chute Trail on Halloween night.
GFD staff continued Prehospital Trauma Life Support Recertification this week. PHTLS is renewed every four years. Testing will take place November 16,17 & 18.
Engine 17 was on display for the Recreation Center’s Tot Time/VPK program. The kids checked out the Fire Engine and discussed fire safety.
Chief Marenkovic attended a Pinellas County Fire Chief’s virtual meeting on October 22.
- Planted trees at Golf Course.
- Restored Little Pantry at Fire Department.
- Built 2 storage closets at Senior Center, and installed protective screen in fitness center.
- Disinfected City Hall as part of City’s Covid-19 mitigation strategy.
- Repaired fence at Veteran’s Park.
- Delivered mail to main post office for Finance Department.
- Mowed Wood Ibis and Clam Bayou Parks, Clymer Greenway, Trolley Market Square, Marina & Lions Club green spaces, and York & 49th Street termini.
- Trimmed, weeded, cleaned & mulched Library, Neighborhood Center & beach green spaces Veterans Park & Trolley Market Square, and raked around benches & beach pavilions.
- Repaired irrigation at City complex, Senior Center & Recreation Center.
- Cleared leaves and debris from lake fountain screens at Wood Ibis Park.
- Cleaned & sanitized event trashcans.
- Greased mowers, sharpened blades.
- All City park trash and cigarette waste containers were emptied.
- Cleaned all City playgrounds.
- Cleaned restrooms at Little League, beach and outside Casino.
- Completed billable work orders for pick-up of brush, electronics & appliances, trash & furniture, and items requested for pick-up by Code Enforcement.
- Picked up residential bagged leaves as requested.
- Delivered/replaced residential recycling bins with information sheets.
- Assembled & delivered new automated trash containers and replaced broken containers as requested.
- Continued distribution of free facemasks donated by Pinellas County.
- Performed alley maintenance at various locations throughout City.
- Daily chloramines sampling at points of connection to water distribution system, (includes Saturday & Sunday).
- Daily inspection and read of Wholesale meters, (includes Saturday & Sunday).
- Daily inspection and recording of rainfall, (includes Saturday & Sunday).
- Daily check of ground water levels, (includes Saturday & Sunday).
- Read routes 31, 32, 33 & 34 of monthly meter reading schedule.
- Disconnected water service at 8 locations for non-payment of service.
- Completed 3 non pay rechecks to confirm water services are still off.
- Completed 111 miscellaneous service orders generated by customer service staff.
- Completed 22 Sunshine One-Call, Call before You Dig Utility Locates.
- Reviewed permit applications for fences, driveways and irrigation.
- Replaced 29 water meters with Pro-Coder R900i meters.
- Repaired water break at 6460 Gulfport Boulevard, 5700 21st Avenue, 2526 51st Way, and at 2925 Clinton Street.
- Installed new water service at 4921 10th
- Daily preventive maintenance and service to Lift Stations #1 and #2.
- Daily rainfall checks and documentation, (includes Saturday & Sunday).
- Daily ground water elevation recording (includes Saturday & Sunday).
- Weekly generator exercise and preventive maintenance check on Lift Stations #1 & 2, Fire Department/Garage, Police Station/City Hall, and Senior Center.
- Collected bay water samples at Gulfport Beach, Clam Bayou & Marina for quality testing.
- Replaced broken clean-out at 1513 62nd
- Cleaned and televised sewer lateral at 3209 58th
- Cleaned and inspected storm 11 inlets throughout City.
- Performed preventive maintenance and various minor repairs on City vehicles.
The office is now open to the public with restrictions. Face masts must be worn, and no more than 2 customers are allowed in the counter area at one time. Questions may be directed to staff either via the telephone or e-mail. Conferences must be scheduled to ensure adequate space is available to practice safe social distancing practices. Inquires can be directed to 893-1024 or to email@example.com.
TEMPORARY INSPECTION PROCEDURES DURING COVID 19: IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN INSPECTION RECORDS ALL INSPECTIONS MUST BE SCHEDULED ON THE INSPECTION LINE 893-1057 AS USUAL. THE CUT-OFF FOR INSPECTIONS REMAINS THE SAME.
The Building Division is still operating; however, the permit counter is closed to the public.
All over the counter permitting is conducted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions about submitting applications may be emailed to email@example.com or by phone at 893-1024. All payments must be made by credit cards over the phone.
Outside inspections will continue and should be phoned into the inspection line at 893-1057. Please call 893-1024 for information regarding interior inspections.
Mechanical equal change outs, water heater replacements and roof over inspections for occupied buildings are on hold until further notice, permits that expire due to this restriction will be extended without fees.
Door and window replacements (size for size, no structural), provided photo of location w/permit placard in photo, photos of shim and fastener installation and window manufacture stickers in place on windows, photos of interior and exterior calking and sealing. Provide a notarized letter of compliance (complies with manufactures approved installation specifications and Florida Building Code, Sixth Edition (2017)
Re-roof, provide photo of location w/permit placard in photo, photos of in-progress installation (underlayment, drip edge and flashing, ridge or box vent openings, roofing material identification and shingle or roof covering fasteners, etc.), photos of completed roof. Provide a notarized nailing affidavit and a notarized letter of compliance (manufactures approved installation specs and FBC, Sixth Ed. (2017)
Other inspections that may be done by providing photos and compliance letters include: drywall/tile backer, minor electric/plumbing/mechanical, non-structural framing, etc. These inspections must be pre-arranged with the inspector or building official.
All photos must be clear and legible and contain enough detail to show compliance for the inspection to be passed, they must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org on the day of the scheduled inspection, the subject line shall include the location address, permit number and type of inspection requested.
Inspection by affidavit or private provider must be pre-arranged with the building official and must comply with FBC-Building, Sixth Edition (2017) Section 107.6 and Florida Statute 553.791.
Property owners should be made aware of temporary inspection procedures and if on-site inspections are preferred by contractors or property owners for any of the above inspections, accurate contact information must be provided for advanced notice, the inspection will be at the inspector’s discretion and every attempt must be made by inspector, contractor and property owner to maintain 6 (six) foot social distancing.
Before embarking on home improvement projects give us a call at 893-1024 to discuss your plans and see what permits and inspections may be necessary, and code requirements to help you through the process. Whether it’s deferred maintenance or new improvements, many elect to do these projects themselves. Building Division staff tries to take extra time to work with homeowners embarking on these do-it-yourself (DIY) projects.
On anything other than small and simple DIY projects we recommend homeowners consider using a licensed contractor. Unless you are very handy and have the necessary skills to take on more complex construction projects, larger jobs can quickly overwhelm those less skilled in construction practices and management.
Don’t take chances with unlicensed contractors
Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board helps guide homeowners in hiring a licensed contractor for home improvements
Hiring an unlicensed contractor can put residents’ homes in jeopardy, produce safety hazards and cost extra money to homeowners when work is not done correctly.
The function of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board is to regulate construction and home improvement contractors practicing in all Pinellas jurisdictions.
The licensing board can tell you if a contractor has a license. They must be licensed by the board or the state of Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and be registered with the board. Licensed contractors have passed a competency exam and perform electrical, plumbing or structural work in compliance with the building codes.
The state requires licensed contractors to have workers’ compensation and liability insurance and the board monitors their insurance coverage. Without these, if a worker gets injured on the job or damages property, the homeowner is liable. Many insurance policies will not pay claims if an unlicensed contractor was doing the work.
When selecting a contractor, remember:
- Talk to friends and neighbors for recommendations.
- Home improvement contractors of various skills must be licensed with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board. The license number must be displayed on advertising as well as on contracts. You can verify a contractor’s license number and check any complaints by contacting the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board at 582-3100.
- Check with the Department of Justice and Consumer Services at 464-6200 to determine the number of complaints against a business.
- Ask the contractor for references and follow through with verifying them.
- Ask the contractor for proof of insurance.
- Never deal with anyone who solicits or appears at your home unannounced.
- Obtain a minimum of two bids for the work to be done.
When signing a contract, make sure:
- All work should be specifically stated in the contract.
- An approximate starting and completion date should be included.
- All warranties including labor and materials should be addressed.
- A payment schedule should be contained in the contract.
- Do not give a large deposit before the beginning of work and do not pay the balance until completion.
- A three-day right to cancel rarely applies to home improvement contracts.
- Do not sign a blank contract or one containing blank spaces.
- Watch for non-refundable deposits and non-escrow accounts. In new home construction, part of the purchase price must be escrowed (this can be waived).
For more information call the board at 582-3100 or visit www.pcclb.com.
Business Tax Receipts
A Business License is good from October of the current year through September 30 of the following year. For questions regarding business tax receipts, call Lisa Giddens at 893-1063.
Thinking of starting a new business? Checkout out the City’s website for the City of Gulfport New Business Checklist at www.mygulfport.us under the Community Development Building Department tab in the Information & Regulations section. Call Lisa Giddens at 893-1063 for more information.
Call the Small Business Development Center at Pinellas County Economic Development at 464-7332 or visit www.pced.org/entrepreneurs for information, including a number of workshops on starting a new business. They also offer personalized business consulting to help you become successful with your startup business.
During the Covid-19 outbreak, Code Enforcement will focus primarily on life/safety issues.
Because the City has one inspector who focuses on one section at a time, we depend on residents to call in violations when they see them. We will inspect within one working day of a complaint to verify violations. Call 893-1061 if you see violations. If the inspector is unavailable, leave as detailed a message as possible to help us find the violation. Complaints can be anonymous, but if you want a follow-up you will have to leave contact information which means the complaint is no longer anonymous. Any personal information you provide becomes part of the public record, which any other citizen has the right to review. E-mail correspondence is considered a public record. If you wish to make a complaint, e-mail communications are not anonymous.
Planning & Zoning COVID-19 Precautions
Face masts must be worn and no more than 2 customers are allowed in the counter area at one time. Questions may still be directed to staff either via the telephone or e-mail. Conferences must be scheduled so we can ensure adequate space is available for safe social distancing practices. Inquires can be directed to 892-1087 or to email@example.com.
The zoning map can be found on the City website at www.mygulfport.us/community-development/. The Zoning Code (Chapter 22 of the Code of Ordinances) can be found at www.library.municode.com/fl/gulfport/codes/code_of_ordinances.
November 12, 2020 Board of Adjustment Meeting:
V20-14: 5206 18th Avenue South; Variance request to reduce front yard setback requirement by 12 feet from 25 feet to 13 feet to allow for the construction of a new single family house with an open front porch and steps.
V20-15: 5308 8th Avenue South; Variances requested:
- To reduce the required separation distance between a proposed accessory structure and principal structure by 5 feet, from 12 feet to 7 feet; and
- To reduce the require rear yard setback distance by 8 feet, from 15 feet to 7 feet for the proposed installation of an 18’ x 31’ accessory structure (detached garage).
V20-16: 2824 Skimmer Point Drive South; Variance request to reduce the left-hand one-third setback requirement by 4 feet 1 inch, from 26 feet 4 inches to 22 feet 3 inches to allow for a proposed new jet ski lift to be installed on the left-hand side of a proposed new dock.
V20-17: Vacant lot to be addressed as 4931 49th Street South; Variances requested for a new proposed house:
- To reduce the required 2- foot setback articulation of the second living floor on the south side of the house by 6 inches, from 2 feet to 1 foot 6 inches in depth of the bay/box window architectural features on the first living floor; and
- To allow for two, 9 foot projections of living space on the front façade of the second living level to provide a 7 foot recessed area between the two projections.
V20-18: 3026 51st Street South; Variance request to reduce the required rear yard setback distance by 4 feet, from 15 feet to 11 feet for the proposed installation of a 12’ x 22’ accessory structure.
V20-19: 3019 Beach Boulevard South; Variance request to reduce the number of required off-street parking spaces by 8 spaces, from 8 to 0 spaces for a proposed new retail sales commercial structure.
V20-20: 5701 20th Avenue South; This variance request is the result of a Code Violation in which the applicant installed a 384 square foot non-permitted accessory structure on the subject property without prior application for a building permit. The variance request is to reduce the require rear yard setback distance by 6 feet, from 15 feet to 9 feet for the continuation of the 12’ x 32’ detached accessory structure (storage/garage).
V20-21: 2519 & 2521 57th Street South; Variance request to reduce the required rear yard setback distance by 10 feet, from 15 feet to 5 feet for the proposed installation of a 12’ x 20’ accessory structure.