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Old 05-31-2010, 09:07 AM
Location: Dallas, TX
131 posts, read 274,468 times
Reputation: 92


Hi all,

My husband and I are planning a move in Spring 11' and we came down this past weekend to check out some different areas. The one that we are leaning toward the most is the Westchase, Oldsmar, Safety Harbor area. We liked it that the housing was a little more modern than some areas around the bay, ex. St. Pete. We would like to stay within 30 minutes from the closest beach as well. We do have some questions though!

To keep driving time down during rush hours, where are the best areas to work if we lived in one of these towns?

Would we need hurricane insurance, flood insurance, or any other kind of insurance to live in these areas? Overall, what can we expect to pay for insurance per year on a $200K house.

Are there any good surfing spots in the Tampa Bay area?

What are the nearest hospitals to this area? I plan to start with the hospitals for my job search.

Are there any areas in West Tampa that you would recommend to live?

As far as beaches go, would there be any point to look on the east side for a place to live? I know housing is a little more affordable but I hear the beaches are better on the Gulf side.

Any input would be great!

Thanks so much!!
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:01 PM
Location: Tampa
2,602 posts, read 7,491,566 times
Reputation: 1551
There are lots of offices up around Westchase and in North Pinellas if you're worried about commute times. Your closest beach would be Clearwater Beach, but you really wouldn't be far from any of the Pinellas beaches. The Gulf Coast isn't particularly known for surfing except during large storms.

There's a hospital in Safety Harbor, Morton Plant Mease Countryside, I think. You'd be close to the one in Carrollwood and they just opened one on Van Dyke in Lutz.

Westchase is not West Tampa, if you were thinking that. Westchase isn't even Tampa at all. West Tampa is an older neighborhood roughly bordered by Hillsborough to the north, the river to the east, 275 to the south, and Himes/Dale Mabry to the west. It's traditionally been a working-class Hispanic neighborhood and has its ups and downs. It's mostly safe and has rather benign crime except for the area around the housing projects. It is nothing like Westchase, Safety Harbor, or Oldsmar.
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Old 05-31-2010, 04:54 PM
Location: Safety Harbor, FL
7 posts, read 30,519 times
Reputation: 26
I moved to Tampa inn 1969 and lived there until 1976 when I moved to Largo in Pinellas County.. then bought a home in Safety Harbor in 1979 and have been here ever since. I love it. It is convenient to all kinds of shopping and Tampa International is only 20 minutes away.

Sadly, all of the land has now been developed. For many years, it was a great secret hideaway snuggled off the main track, tucked neatly on Tampa Bay. It is now considered one of the "in" places to live as reflected by home prices although right now the economy is still greatly depressed and you might get lucky. Fortunately, we have no high rises here with the sole exception of the famous Health Spa and that's only a couple of levels or so.

We have a great boat marina and fishing pier and a big, beautiful park on the water, called Phillippi Park which also has a boat launch ramp. This is a great place to live whether you are retired or have a family. I raised both of my daughters here.

I avoid Clearwater Beach. Even driving there on weekends and holidays from here could take a hours or when the kids are out. My favorites are Sunset Beach and Howard Park.. well less than a 30 minute drive and picturesque.

Homeowner's insurance for a $200,000 home in SH should run about $2500 depending on the exact location. Property taxes are about $1500 here for the same home. As far as know, all homeowner's insurance include hurricane coverage but with larger deductibles. Flood insurance may or may not be required depending on the mortgage holder. I live on high ground so it's not necessary. Living directly on the water would be different.
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:31 PM
Location: Tampa Bay`·.¸¸ ><((((º>.·´¯`·><((((º>
4,554 posts, read 6,909,155 times
Reputation: 13522
Most of the questions have been answered by the previous posters.
Around this area we have the hospital in Safety Harbor mentioned, another one in Dunedin, and another one in Tarpon Springs.
We don't have surfing anywhere around here :-) Sorry about that!
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:24 PM
Location: Safety Harbor, FL
7 posts, read 30,519 times
Reputation: 26
Candace, I noticed you will be coming here from Columbia, I grew up in Charleston and easily made the transition. The hardest part for me was that I missed specked butter beans and Carolina Barbecue, (both mustard and vinegar based) so I would go get it or have it flown in here.

The old Florida "crackers" are becoming a lost breed but they were much like the great people of South Caroline when I got here in 1969.

Florida has become a melting pot of people from every state. Many of them complain about the pay but I always say "half of your wages here are the sun shine."

Would be good to have a confirmed job BEFORE you get here. Unemployment in the Tampa Bay ares is the worst it's ever been and higher than most areas... about 13 percent.

Do a Google search for hospitals near zip code 34695.

Good luck to you.
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Old 06-01-2010, 02:49 PM
Location: Dallas, TX
131 posts, read 274,468 times
Reputation: 92
Thanks for all the great info!! Cost of living in SC is so low, so I doubt it can get much worse than here LOL. We both plan to look for jobs starting this Nov/Dec, that gives us 6 months before our lease is up and from there our landlord said we could pay month-to-month until we find something. We fully expect to live apart until the other gets a job, hopefully that won't last too long! We are excited to make this happen!
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:20 PM
1 posts, read 8,094 times
Reputation: 21
I know I am coming into this subject sorta late, but I just had to make a couple of comments. We have lived in Oldsmar since 2004. However, my husband grew up in Largo, so we know a bit about the area.

West Chase as we know it is an upscale golfing area, with HOA's and the whole bit, between Dale Mabry to the east and Race Track RD to the west, with Hillsborouh to the south. Not sure of the northern boundary, but Linebaugh AV runs through it.

Safety Harbor is a great place with a funky little main street and an art presence, as well as the harbor and spa. Love it there, but when we were looking the housing prices had already reached beyond our means.

So we found a place in Oldsmar, which is a nice little place with friendly people. There are plenty of beautiful parks for our use. The area along Shore drive is really cool. Pretty much from there north to Tampa RD seems to be the historic part. The city is trying to reinvent State ST as the new main street. To that end they are restoring just about the only historic commercial building left, which started out as the Oldsmar Bank. And it might be the perfect emblem for the Oldsmar of present. Oldsmar is run like a bank, with a balanced budget, and emphasis on luring small manufacturing and other businesses to the town. Certainly a great revenue source. However, other than a couple of festivals full of rides & corn dogs each year, the government is content to let the other towns support the arts. It appears that no amount of talking will change their mind. So if that is your interest, look elsewhere. Here is a link to the Odlsmar website page telling about Oldsmar:
[url=http://www.myoldsmar.com/Pages/About/index]City of Oldsmar, FL - About Oldsmar[/url]

The closest beach is just about 7 miles straight west on Curlew RD. It is the state park of Honeymoon Island. There is an admittance fee, but an annual pass would take care of that. From there one can take a ferry to Caladesi Island. This island has been voted as one of the best beached in the country by DR Beach.
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:09 AM
Location: New Mexico
54 posts, read 199,331 times
Reputation: 86
Default Surfing in Pinellas? Well at one time...

I grew up close to Indian Rocks Beach. During hurricanes and storms one could surf 2 or 3 ft swells from there to Sarasota (as a kid that was enough). But beach erosion due to condos and other abuses of the shoreline killed those modest waves off decades ago.
Gulf Coasters have always had to go east- Cocoa or Melbourne - to find good surf. The gulf is just a placid body of water. You need the ocean baby!
Good luck.
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