The hotel is going up another floor, and one villa building is disappearing.
Those are the latest changes to a $400 million Longboat Key Club and Resort Islandside renovation-and-expansion project that’s been modified twice in two weeks.
The most recent modifications were done Tuesday, Feb. 9, after club land planners realized Monday that the villas proposed near New Pass violate town codes that have to do with view angles and building separation.
Villas on New Pass, which previously consisted of four buildings with 28 residential villa units, will now become three buildings with 22 units.
To compensate for the loss of those six units, Key Club General Manager Michael Welly said the proposed five-star hotel will become 11 stories instead of 10 stories.
“The additional floor still does not make the hotel bigger than the tallest building in Islandside,” Welly said. “And it allows us to add those six residential units and maybe a few more to the 11th story.”
The plan calls for 196 hotel rooms with approximately 71 residential units on the top of the hotel building (instead of the 65 residential units proposed last week). The original plan brought forward to the Town Commission called for a seven-floor hotel with 34 residential units.
No other major changes to the plan are being proposed.
The two condominium towers were previously scaled back from 132 units to 61 units, while reducing the building height from seven floors to four floors over one story of parking.
“I think a plan that has three buildings with villa units instead of four buildings will make the residents of Lighthouse Point happy,” Welly said.
But the realization that the plan needed additional modifications means the project and the commission’s decision on it could be delayed.
Planning, Zoning and Building Director Monica Simpson made it clear she needed at least a week to review the revised plan in order to make a presentation to the Town Commission Friday, Feb. 12, when the hearings reconvene.
“We have not received anything yet, and there will not be a presentation on Friday,” said Simpson, who has met with club officials twice since the hearings were postponed to address issues raised during the hearings.
Welly realizes the modifications have delayed the process.
“We are rushing and have people working nights to get modified plans and renderings to Town Hall as soon as possible,” Welly said. “But what town staff will be presented with is our final plan. We’re finished moving things around, and we think we’re finally done.”
Welly, who said no additional meetings have been held with project opponents, said it has been an exhausting process moving things around and scaling back the project.
“When you remove a condo floor, that’s millions and millions of dollars that can wipe away a wellness center or reduce the size of the golf clubhouse,” Welly said. “We have tried to make this a first-class project that everyone will benefit from. We realize some of our neighbors don’t see that, but we have to move on.”
ADDRESSING COMMISSIONERS’ CONCERNS
At the last Islandside hearing Jan. 29, Commissioners Peter O’Connor and Hal Lenobel told Longboat Key Club and Resort officials to be prepared to address the following questions when the hearing reconvenes at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 12. Below are the answers provided to The Longboat Observer by Key Club General Manager Michael Welly.
• Who has golf course priority for tee times on the renovated Islandside golf course?
They would remain the same. We are proposing a change to the agreement made with the town that allows members three days advance for tee times. The guests at Inn on the Beach can make tee times two days in advance. We will ask guests of the new hotel to make tee times one day in advance.
• Does the club plan to address the 5% non-residential calculation issue for its project?
We intend to explain our position and our calculations at the meeting. We have requested a departure for this issue already.
• What happens to the rest of the 1,600 units left in the Islandside and Harbourside planned unit development if this project is approved?
Contrary to popular opinion, I didn’t know those units even existed. I haven’t come up with anything for those units. They are not a priority to us. If something down the road makes sense for them, we would present it to the Master Association of Harbourside. We would never spread 1,600 units across Harbourside.
• How does the club plan to address density rights that Arvida, the club’s former owner, claims to have?
We will try and talk to Arvida as two business groups and make some sense of it. If we can’t, we would go to court to make a determination. We feel strongly the town has those density rights, and the town agrees with us on this.
• Will the club restore a driving range to the golf course as part of its project?
We went back to golf course designer Rees Jones and asked him to adjust the 18th hole to allow for a short driving range. But Rees Jones representatives came back to us and said that addition ruined the character of that hole. The integrity of the course is more important to us, so, instead, we will offer a warm-up net area and practice range that we think will serve our members and guests well.
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