It’s been three years since town staff began crafting two charter amendments that allow grandfathered tourism and condominium units to redevelop to their current density and the creation of a tourism-unit pool of 250 units.
And, in March 2008, Longboat Key voters overwhelmingly approved both measures in the hopes of boosting Key tourism to the year 2000 levels.
But at a special Town Commission meeting Thursday, June 18, both charter amendments finally became a reality.
Six of the town commissioners (Commissioner Jim Brown couldn’t attend the meeting) adopted both ordinances as official parts of the town’s code.
The voluntary-rebuild ordinance now allows grandfathered properties on the Key to tear down and rebuild without losing some of their current units that do not conform to the town’s current density requirements.
And, the tourism-unit ordinance created a pool of 250 units, which is said to be the difference between the number of units in the year 2000 (the year the Holiday Inn shut down) and the present time.
Developers have until Aug. 17 to submit applications for some of the additional tourism units.
Town staff will then review the proposals for 60 days before ranking them and distributing the units.
Then, an applicant has six months to produce a site plan that will take a minimum of three months to be approved.
That means the earliest an approved applicant can begin a project using some of the 250 tourism units is July 2010.
Mark Walsh, owner of the Longboat Key Hilton Beachfront Resort, previously said he would expand considerably his roughly 100-room hotel if the voters approved the concept that would allow existing grandfathered tourism units to be converted to legal tourism units at their current density.
Planning, Zoning and Building Director Monica Daigle said no applicants have come forward yet with any project proposals.
Commissioner George Spoll told his fellow commissioners and those in attendance at the special meeting that what they just approved “was one of the most significant things we have dealt with in a long while.”
“We have completed business on three ordinances that have taken an enormous amount of work for a lot of people,” Spoll said. “This is a special occasion.”