The Longboat Key Town Commission will review a 67-page report from Building Official Wayne Thorne and a recommendation from Town Manager Dave Bullock that requests existing units at the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort site be torn down.
Bullock notes the buildings are a nuisance and a threat to the health and safety of the general public during a storm. Bullock is suggesting Colony structures be torn down as a condition to the property keeping the grandfathered tourism units on the site.
The recommendation is being met with opposition from Colony unit owners.
“I was shocked to learn that the commission is proposing the demolition of the Colony prior to the decision of the bankruptcy court, prior to the selection of a developer and as a bargaining chip in the Colony owners desire to maintain the original zoning density,” wrote Colony unit owner Jerome Birnbaum in a Dec. 9 email to the commission. “The Colony debacle is finally on its way to being settled. The commission’s proposal to force the unit owners to demolish the apartments will put a monkey wrench in all the efforts that are finally bearing fruit. Please do not do this. Besides being illegal it will put the final nail in the Colony coffin.”
Birnbaum said “the proposal forces the owners to demolish the property and terminate the condominium and this is not within the legal authority of the owners and their association,” saying “it is not legal since it requires either a 75% or 90% approval, via a formal vote of the owners to terminate the condominium and bulldoze the property.”
Colony owner and Association board member Blake Fleetwood told the Longboat Observer in an email that the condition is also “not legal.”
“Tearing down all the units immediately before we have a development plan and before our settlement plan is approved by the courts isn’t legal,” Fleetwood said.
Some neighbors, though, support the demolition of the property.
In the agenda materials, TenCon condominium owner Joseph Jacobson writes that the value of his property has declined from $2.7 million to $1.7 million and urges the town to do something about the blighted area.
The comments came after Bullock expressed his position in agenda materials published for a Wednesday special meeting being held after the 1 p.m. Wednesday regular workshop at Town Hall.
At the meeting, the commission will also review another request from the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort Association to ask for another extension of the grandfathered tourism-uses at the shuttered resort.
The resort contains 237 tourism units on 18 acres. But, because the hotel and resort buildings were built before the town created its tourism resort commercial classification, which only allows for six tourism units per acre, 129 of the resort’s 237 units are considered grandfathered, or, legally non-conforming. Without the extension, 129 of those units can’t be rebuilt on the property.
For more information, check www.yourobserver.com and pick up a copy of this week’s Longboat Observer.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].