Attorneys for the Islandside Property Owners Coalition (IPOC), which opposes the Longboat Key Club and Resort's Islanside renovation-and-expansion project as proposed, took to the stand Friday, Jan. 15, at Temple Beth Israel to tell the Town Commission it can’t approve the Islandside project.
“We believe the regulatory structure of the town will not allow you as commissioners to approve the application before you,” said IPOC attorney Michael Furen. “Permitting a massive, dense and intense development on accessory recreational use tracts at the entrance to the community changes the essential character of the Islandside community.”
The Key Club’s project calls for constructing a new Rees Jones-designed golf course; a new clubhouse; a 196-room, five-star hotel with an additional 34 units to be used for luxury residences; a new meeting center; two villa townhomes with a total of 10 units; two condominium buildings with 66 units each; a new wellness center with enhanced spa-and-fitness facilities; and other recreational amenities for club members and guests.
Furen said the hearing is about whether the town will preserve the integrity of what he believes is a completely built out planned unit development plan that was approved more than 30 years ago.
IPOC attorney Robert Lincoln also said various outline development plans and amendments approved over the years for Islandside state that the Islandside golf course and clubhouse sites are not listed as development sites and the club cannot transfer density from one tract to another.
The attorneys also believe that the club’s former owner, Arvida Corp, did not transfer any residential rights to the club. The town attorney, however, has said that argument is a matter that must be worked out between the club and Arvida.
Marty Black, an IPOC consultant who was the town’s former planning and zoning official, testified the town’s outline development plan preserves the Islandside open space and recreational amenities in place.
Black said there are “a series of inconsistencies with the project” relating to the town’s Comprehensive Plan and the density and gross-land-area calculations the club used for the proposal.
The commission will meet again at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20, at Temple Beth Israel to complete IPOC’s presentation and begin the public comment portion of the hearing.
For more information on the third and fourth days of hearings, pick up a copy of the Thursday, Jan. 21 Longboat Observer.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at email@example.com.
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