A Sarasota judge issued a judgment this week that mandates the town of Longboat Key must hold a referendum of its residents if it wishes to grant future tourism uses within the Islandside gulf-planned development.
Sarasota County Clerk of the 12th Circuit Court Judge Lee Haworth issued the order Wednesday in an Islandside Property Owners Coalition declaratory relief action that challenged the town’s code changes that were made in part to make the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s Islandside renovation-and-expansion project clearer under town codes. The appeal moved forward even though the development order for the most recent project application was quashed in August by an appeals court.
IPOC attorney Robert Lincoln argued his client’s eight challenges to the town’s zoning code changes last month, explaining that amended zoning code changes are not permissible. One of Lincoln’s main arguments focused on the use of tourism units at Islandside and whether or not the town can count density in Islandside using both residential and tourism units.
Haworth agreed, stating in his order that only dwelling (residential) units can be counted for purposes of approving future tourism uses, although the town has the ability to approve 245 more residential units in Islandside without triggering a referendum.
In an email to the Longboat Observer, Lincoln wrote, “In short, IPOC won.”
Town attorney David Persson didn’t disagree with Lincoln’s one-line assessment of the judgment.
“My interpretation has been that all units (tourist and dwelling units) should be counted, providing the lowest threshold before a vote was required,” Persson said. “I was obviously wrong.”
Persson said he will not recommend appealing the judgment and believes future changes to the town’s code and a Comprehensive Plan overhaul are necessary.
For more information, pick up a copy of Thursday’s Nov. 22 Longboat Observer.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].