You can’t tell us what to do with our property.
That’s the gist of a technical- and mathematical-written response dated July 28 from The Longboat Key Club and Resort Attorney Brenda Patten, who claims the town has no basis to require the club to continue operating all of its 18 courts at Islandside.
Patten was responding to Planning, Zoning and Building Director Monica Daigle, who sent a letter dated July 8 to club officials explaining that the courts can’t be removed because they satisfy a recreational component of the club’s Gulf-planned development.
Planned developments, per town code, allow for design flexibility, for example, by clustering recreational amenities in a common area instead of requiring amenities at each development.
Daigle referred to a resolution that was adopted in June 1992, in which the club’s outline development plan was amended to allow for the construction of Regent Place and Regent Court.
By approving construction of the two residential communities within club grounds, Daigle said the Islandside tennis facility of 18 courts met the recreational amenities necessary for the construction of both developments and could not be removed.
“The permanent removal of recreational amenities approved and relied upon for the Longboat Key Club Gulf-planned development, Regent Court and Regent Place, would require an amendment to the outline development plan,” wrote Daigle in her letter.
Patten disagrees, suggesting that Daigle only looked at one part of the town code before making her decision.
Pointing to a mathematical recreational-space ratio in the code, Patten states that the Regent Place site plan, which also incorporated the Regent Court subdivision, was required to provide at least .53 acres of recreation space.
But a 50% on-site recreational facilities requirement in the town code, Patten states, means that only .265 acres, or 11,543 square feet of recreational space, needs to be provided for those condominium developments.
States Patten: “A typical tennis court occupies approximately 7,200 square feet. Therefore, two tennis courts on the Longboat Key Club property are more than sufficient to accommodate 50% of the recreational space required on the Regent Place property.”
According to Patten, none of the approvals for the developments designates which tennis courts or golf course areas must be assigned to satisfy the requirement.
“The four tennis courts west of the Islandside pro shop building that will remain are more than sufficient to meet the recreation-space requirement,” Patten wrote.
Patten also states there is nothing in any of the approvals that can dictate or prevent the club from moving its recreational amenities to other locations.
Daigle declined to comment until she could review the memo.
And in a memo also dated July 28 that was sent to Daigle, Key Club Attorney John Patterson states the town’s position “is disappointing and we hope it will be reconsidered and changed.
“The town maintains that (the club) can in effect do nothing in the Gulf-planned development concerning a change or alteration of use without the consent of the Town Commission,” Patterson wrote. “This position ignores the rights that a property owner has to do as you will with his or her land unless the proposed use is prohibited by law, ordinance or regulation.”
Patten also wrote to Daigle that it’s inaccurate to say that both developments were allowed to rely upon the 18 tennis courts that currently exist on site.