Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant & Marina co-owner Alan Moore made an important decision in January when he asked for and received a continuance for his Comprehensive Plan amendment and zoning-request change.
When Commissioner Gene Jaleski, who voted for the request on first reading, was unable to attend the January meeting, Moore asked for a continuance. At the Town Commission’s regular meeting Feb. 1, the commission approved both requests with 4-3 votes, which means the Village restaurant can continue to be operated as an eatery.
However, if the waterfront restaurant is razed, the property then becomes residential.
Moore said previously that his 43-year-old business would shut down unless the commission approved the request, because he can’t get the bank to renegotiate double-digit interest rate loans that are coming due on his business without it.
According to Moore’s application, “economic conditions and the changing character of the north end of Longboat Key have created a significant financial burden on the owners of the property.”
But three members of the commission have doubts the approval will save one of Longboat Key’s longest-operating waterfront restaurants.
Said Commissioner Jim Brown: “Personal finances, I believe, are illegal reasons for changing our Comprehensive Plan. Longboat Key will not benefit from additional houses.”
Mayor Lee Rothenberg and Commissioner George Spoll voted against the requests, along with Brown.
Moore, however, told the commission the approval would allow him to keep the restaurant.
“If this goes through, this will keep us going a long, long time,” Moore said.
Town planner Steve Schield told the commission that if the requests were approved, Moore could maintain his restaurant. But Moore can’t come to the town and ask to expand the restaurant.
“It would be the status quo from here on out,” said Schield, who also confirmed a new owner could take over the restaurant as long as it’s not left vacant for more than 180 days.
Once Moore told the commission he fully understood what the request would do to his restaurant rights, Vice Mayor Robert Siekmann made a motion to approve both requests.
Commissioners Jaleski, Hal Lenobel and Peter O’Connor also voted to support the motions.
Moore expressed relief that four of the seven commissioners voted to grant the request.
“We plan to be serving stone crabs on Longboat Key for many years to come,” Moore said.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at firstname.lastname@example.org
TOWN TALKS SAND OPTIONS
When 15 residents came to the Town Commission regular meeting Monday, Feb. 1 to urge the commission to act quickly to fix its fast eroding beach, Town Manager Bruce St Denis told the commission he hopes to work with state agencies to get a permit modification to rebuild the beach near the eroded North Shore Road beach access, while working to obtain sand from a dredging project.
Said St. Denis: “We could potentially have three nourishment projects coming in the next several years, keeping sand on the beach as we work toward a long-term goal.”
The town will continue to move ahead with permitting for four breakwaters, while considering the possibility of modifying the permit to build geotextile sand-filled tubes that could act as temporary structures.
The commission did not give St. Denis direction to stop construction of a second groin being built behind The Islander Club, despite being asked to do so by Key residents David Brenner and Dr. Murray “Murf” Klauber.
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