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Longboat Key Tuesday, Jun. 29, 2010 7 years ago

The Islandside 'gift' factor

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

A debate over $4 million raged on late into the evening Monday, June 28, at Temple Beth Israel, between the Longboat Key Town Commission and the Longboat Key Club and Resort
The commission — which decided to postpone a vote on the $400 million project until Wednesday, June 30, — debated with club officials about how much money the club should have to pay in compensation for the loss of open space because of the proposed condominiums.

Mayor George Spoll began the discussion at 10 p.m. and informed club officials he will not vote for any Islandside project that doesn’t impose a $4 million price tag for the loss of open space. He said the money could be used to build a renovated Bayfront Park Recreation Center.

“That’s less than $25,000 per unit to compensate the citizens of this island for the loss of open space,” Spoll said. “Without that amount, I will oppose this ordinance.”

On top of the $4 million Spoll requested, the club already has agreed to pay the town $1 million for potential road improvements to Gulf of Mexico Drive, $500,000 for Gulf of Mexico Drive beautification that can be converted to cash and $500,000 for a new sidewalk on Gulf of Mexico Drive along the Islandside golf course.

When added, the price tag comes to $6 million.

Club attorney John Patterson, however, told the commission the club was only willing to offer $2.5 million in  cash and another $1 million in usage for the proposed meeting center to be used for town and not-for-profit meeting purposes.

Commissioners began to discredit the $1 million of usage, which prompted Loeb Partners Realty COO Michael Brody to allow Patterson to offer the $1 million in meeting center usage credit as cash instead.

The commission eventually agreed to change its hard-line stance on a $4 million open space contribution of cash to $3 million.

Combined with the $1 million for road improvements and $500,000 for Gulf of Mexico Drive beautification, the club will review an ordinance that calls for $4.5 million in combined cash and contributions on Wednesday.

Longboat Key Club and Resort General Manager Michael Welly declined to comment about the open space debate Tuesday.

Discussion will continue at 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 30, at Temple Beth Israel, 567 Bay Isles Road.

For live updates on Wednesday's hearning, visit For complete coverage, pick up a copy of the July 1 edition of The Longboat Observer.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].

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