Setback for opponents of new St. Pete pier - WFLA News Channel 8

Setback for opponents of new St. Pete pier

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St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster says he is pleased with a judge's decision to allow the city to move forward on a replacement for the St. Pete Pier. St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster says he is pleased with a judge's decision to allow the city to move forward on a replacement for the St. Pete Pier.
ST PETERSBURG -

The debate over the future of St. Petersburg's pier goes on.  Even with a ruling Friday that goes against a group that opposes a new structure called "The Lens" on the downtown waterfront.

A judge ruled the petition drive by the group "Vote On The Pier" to get a referendum on the ballot did not meet specific requirements.

Mayor Bill Foster said, "It really affirms what our legal staff told us about eight months ago as to whether the city should be compelled to take out that particular question on the ballot....and the judge ruled there were fatal defects in that question."

But another group, "Stop The Lens," is also collecting thousands of signatures in effort to stop a new pier from being built.

The latest leader to sign onto the campaign is St. Petersburg city councilman Wengay Newton.

Newton said, "The people deserved the right to vote.  Remember, the intent of this whole thing is for the people to have a democratic say on what goes on their waterfront."

The "Stop The Lens" group must collect nearly 16,000 signatures to get the question on the ballot, but they don't have a timetable.

Councilman Newton added, in order for the "Stop The Lens" campaign to continue, they will have to get a vote on what happens on the waterfront. If the petitions are not successful, on August 22nd voters can decide whether the mayor and half of council are reelected.

Still, the mayor wants to see things move forward saying the city can't afford to maintain the old pier.

Mayor Foster added, "That inverted pyramid has a special place in my heart.  We just don't have 80 million dollars to fix the current pier... so it has got to come down."

So for now, the battle over the future of pier is far from over.

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