In a 4-3 vote, Monday, May 3, an ordinance containing the seven town code changes suggested by the Longboat Key Club and Resort will move forward to a second reading.
Mayor George Spoll, Vice Mayor Jim Brown and Commissioners David Brenner and Lynn Larson moved the ordinance forward to a second reading at 5:01 p.m. Thursday, May 20, at Town Hall.
Commissioners Gene Jaleski, Robert Siekmann and Hal Lenobel voted no because they do not support all seven proposed code changes.
Other code changes suggested by town staff were also forwarded to a second reading.
The seven proposed changes to the code submitted to the town, club attorney John Patterson says, will eliminate code ambiguities and move the project forward to a Town Commission vote without many of the legal challenges presented to the commission by attorneys for the Islandside Property Owners Coalition (IPOC), which opposes the project.
IPOC attorney Michael Furen insisted again Monday that he believes all seven changes to the code are major policy changes that would impact the Key.
“We have tried to reflect what IPOC views as being legally permissible under the town’s Comprehensive Plan and general Florida law,” Furen said. “We believe the collective, accumulative impact of all of these amendments is not a good idea for Longboat Key and there will be deep regret in several years. We urge you seriously not to adopt these amendments.”
Furen told the commission the code changes “open the door to a developer’s interpretation.”
Town attorney David Persson, however, told the commission that he believes the commissioners have the
right to make all seven of the code changes.
“I think our state-approved Comprehensive Plan is not a model of clarity,” Persson said. “But you have the power to make these changes, which create less ambiguity in the town’s zoning regulations.”
Persson also presented revisions to the code changes, which were accepted by the commission, that make it necessary for the commission to modify its non-residential requirement that only allows up to 5% non-residential development in a planned-unit development.
“You are limiting your authority if you agree to this language,” Persson said. “If you approve this and not the 5% change, you cannot consider the (Islandside) project.”
Jaleski, Siekmann and Lenobel expressed issues with granting a code change that allows hotels and other accessory uses the club is proposing not be subject to a 5% limitation on non-accessory commercial development of the gross area of the Islandside planned-unit development.
The three commissioners also don’t agree with a code change that allows the town to grant departures from the maximum building-length requirement, which is in place to prevent a wall of buildings along the coast and maintain sightlines to the water.
Said Jaleski: “I feel we are lowering a bar that will allow developers to do whatever they want.”
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