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Longboat Key Wednesday, Mar. 3, 2010 7 years ago

Code review request granted

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

The Town Commission granted the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s request to have its Planning and Zoning Board review portions of the zoning code that affect the Islandside renovation-and-expansion project at its Monday, March 1 regular meeting.

But whether the move will expedite or delay the application process is unknown.

Key Club attorney John Patterson told the commission Monday night that if the town “clan clean up a couple of issues with the code, let’s take a shot at it.”

Patterson presented the commission with a list of six issues with town codes that he believes need minor revisions, which would eliminate the bulk of the issues The Islandside Property Owners Coalition’s (IPOC) attorneys have with the project.

In short, Patterson suggested minor revisions to codes that deal with density requirements in planned-unit developments (PUDs), building width, tourism uses, stacked parking and maximum height in PUDs.

And, the most important code revision Patterson wants the planning board to address is how to calculate a non-residential development requirement, which states no more than 5% of a PUD can be used for non-commercial use.

Patterson said he went through every memo from IPOC attorney Robert Lincoln to come up with the list of potential code revisions.

“If the planning board addresses and clarifies some of these issues, IPOC’s silver bullet will no longer exist,” Patterson told The Longboat Observer. “It essentially takes away their argument that the commission does not have the ability to approve this project.”

Vice Mayor Robert Siekmann and Commissioner Jim Brown, however, warned Patterson and Key Club General Manager Michael Welly that the club’s request could come back to haunt them.

“My concern, having served on the planning board, is this is quite a mouthful for the planning board to impose upon in one meeting,” Brown said.

Siekmann agreed.

“The tentacles of these codes go so deeply that asking the P&Z to follow the tentacles could end up being a review of the entire code,” said Siekmann, who warned a review of the code could also lead to a review of the town’s Comprehensive Plan.

And Commissioner Peter O’Connor said he was troubled that only portions of the code were going to be reviewed.

“If we are going to look at the zoning code, why aren’t we looking at all 142 paragraphs instead of just 14?” O’Connor asked.

The two-hour discussion by commissioners led Patterson back up to the podium to explain his position.

“If you choose to take a comprehensive look at your codes and your Comprehensive Plan, then take a look at it,” Patterson said. “But it’s a long process and not something we want to be a part of.”

Patterson, who said he’s comfortable with how the Islandside application fits in today’s codes, will request the commission restart the Islandside hearing if it appears the planning board will take longer than one or two meetings to look at town codes.

Despite IPOC attorney Michael Furen and IPOC President Bob White’s claims that the town should embark on an entire review of the town’s code and Comprehensive Plan, Brown made a motion to grant the club’s request.

The motion was approved by a 6-1 vote, with Commissioner Hal Lenobel dissenting.

Welly expressed frustration with the entire process and IPOC’s wish that the town should embark on a town-wide review of the town codes.

“But we realize that one of IPOC’s goals is to drag this process out forever,” Welly said.

But the general manager of the club says that’s not going to happen.

“My drop-dead deadline for a first-reading vote on this project by the commission is June 30,” Welly said. “If it doesn’t happen, we are pulling the project altogether and won’t spend any more money or energy to further a project on Longboat Key.”

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected]

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