The Town Commission will review a Longboat Key Club and Resort Islandside renovation-and-expansion application Friday, Jan. 8 that does not contain as many points of contention between club officials and town staff that it did a few weeks ago.
Key Club Attorney John Patterson told The Longboat Observer that substantial progress by both sides has been made on the application so that it will not have to be discussed at great lengths again. Previously, the Longboat Key Planning and Zoning Board reviewed the application for eight days, from October through December, before forwarding it to the commission for review.
The Islandside project calls for constructing a new Rees Jones-designed golf course; a new clubhouse; a 196-room, five-star hotel with an additional 34 units to be used for luxury residences; a new meeting center; two villa townhomes with a total of 10 units; two condominium buildings with 66 units each; a new wellness center with enhanced spa-and-fitness facilities; and other recreational amenities for club members and guests.
Patterson and Planning, Zoning and Building Director Monica Simpson worked during the holiday season and communicated via e-mail while on break to whittle down the application’s issues.
The most substantive of the issues left to be resolved is an approximately $5 million land-acquisition fee that the Planning and Zoning Board felt was appropriate for the club to pay for the loss of recreation space the project will create.
Club officials continue to contend no land-acquisition fee is due, because Arvida, the club’s former owner, addressed the fee years ago by donating Quick Point Preserve land to the town.
The town and the club also still must resolve a landscaping budget for Gulf of Mexico Drive. Club officials say their consultants believe $500,000 is an adequate amount for work in the right of way for both the north and south ends of the island.
The town and club are also still working to address issues and calculations regarding some of the departures.
Both sides have agreed, in concept only, that the Longboat Club Road guardhouse will be moved to the west, and entryway improvements will be made when acceptable terms are presented in writing by the club and The Longboat Key Association, which owns the road.
But an agreement has not been reached yet that guarantees the five-star hotel will be built as a part of the project.
Patterson suggested that club officials might consider building one of the proposed condominium towers at the same time as the hotel.
“Other than that suggestion, we have been unable to come up with anything else as a guarantee,” Patterson said. “Knowing the club plans to spend more than $20 million on a golf course and wellness center that can’t exist without the hotel is the guarantee.”
The club, however, has agreed in concept to pay the town a non-refundable $500,000 fee for the hotel when the club pulls permits to build the project’s second condominium tower.
Patterson also says the club is still open to a potential change in the hotel’s configuration, which would add more residences to the hotel in exchange for eliminating a condominium tower.
“But it’s not the ideal solution,” said Patterson, who said the change would affect the building’s size and mass. “It’s never been our intent to build a building so large that it looks like a wall along the waterfront exists there.”
The Longboat Key Town Commission has set aside Jan. 8, 11, 13, 15, 22 and 29; and Feb. 12, 17, 19, 24 and 26 to review the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s project application. The meetings, as needed, will be held at 9 a.m. at Temple Beth Israel, 567 Bay Isles Road.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected]observer.com.