Four new single-family Whitaker Bayou homes with docks are slated for construction on Sylvan Drive.
The project, which borders the neighborhoods of Indian Beach and Tahiti Beach, has some neighborhood support, unlike a previous, controversial development on the same property.
Anthony DeLoach’s Bayou by the Bay purchased the 1.13 acres for $2.8 million in 2004. Then, in 2007, Bayou by the Bay LLC secured a re-zone from single-family to multi-family, and planned to build six dwelling units in three buildings, as well as a clubhouse and other amenities, according to city of Sarasota planning paperwork.
In 2010, the site plan for that project expired.
Tahiti Beach Neighborhood Association President Jennifer Ahearn-Koch opposed the previous project to build a six-unit, multi-family development that met vocal neighborhood protest, including the opposition of the Indian Beach Sapphire Shores Neighborhood Association, whose members said that the property should not be re-zoned.
The project was never built, and in January 2012, First America Bank received ownership of the property for $615,000.
First America Bank, which owns the land at 1114, 1124 and 1140 Sylvan Drive, will hold a community workshop May 21, at City Hall, to present plans to neighbors and get feedback on the new develpment.
The homes will each feature a dock and waterfront view, said Allen Langford, president of First America Bank.
The bank has been trying to be a good neighbor by proposing a project that fits in the neighborhood and demolishing rundown structures that were on the property, Langford said.
Langford said the bank will put together a marketing plan after the city approval process and decide how the homes will be sold.
“Will we sell it to a developer, or sell individual lots? We do have some options, but we need to get it zoned properly first,” Langford said.
Yvonne Lacey, a resident who lives a block from the project in Indian Beach, said she is relieved that single-family homes will be going in, and that views of the bayou will not be blocked.
“I’m so happy something will be done with the property that is going to be positive,” Lacey said.
Lacey said the neighborhood has an eclectic mix of larger homes and smaller homes, but neighbors want to keep the area single family.
Lacey was relieved when the bank tore down two of the homes on Sylvan Drive that she said were becoming rundown and being used for illegal uses.
Ahearn-Koch agreed that the new proposed project of homes fits better in the surrounding neighborhood.
“The neighborhood is single family right now, and single family fits in with single family,” Ahearn-Koch said. “We are an old established Florida neighborhood, and it is important to maintain and value neighborhoods like this.”
IF YOU GO
Community Meeting — 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, in Room 112, City Hall, 1565 First St., Sarasota. A representative for First America Bank will present plans for four homes and will ask neighbors for feedback.
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