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Longboat Key Friday, Feb. 5, 2021 2 weeks ago

Longboat Key P&Z Board to consider cottage as part of parking lot plan

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The meeting is scheduled for Feb. 18.
by: Mark Bergin Staff Writer

The Longboat Key Planning and Zoning Board is expected to determine whether to allow a historic cottage to permanently sit just north of Whitney Beach Plaza when it meets next week.

Planning, Zoning and Building  Director Allen Parsons said the board, at its Feb. 18 meeting, will review The Chiles Group's request for an amendment to an already approved site development plan. In 2020, the company gained permission from the town to build a 98-space parking lot with a 300-square foot office on the land. 

Though larger, the L-shaped cottage would replace proposed smaller building in the plans. It's not immediately clear how many parking spaces would remain in the plan at 6920 Gulf of Mexico Drive.

On Jan. 21, crews moved the historic cottage from 521 Broadway St. to a temporary foundation on the site with a temporary-use permit.

It means even if the P&Z Board does not approve the amendment to the Chiles Group’s site development plan, there would still be at least six months to determine what to do with the historic cottage.

Town Manager Tom Harmer said the temporary-use permit also allows Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant employees to park in a gravel lot near the cottage. The Chiles Group owns Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant.

During the Feb. 1 Town Commission meeting, District 2 Commissioner Ed Zunz said he’d like to see the P&Z Board give more consideration to the precise location of the cottage.

“It’s now in the same place that the other building was supposed to go, but if anyone has driven by it sees this little cottage right smack against the glass building, it really — from the aesthetics standpoint — it seems rather ludicrous,” Zunz said. “While that was a perfectly appropriate place to put a more simple commercial building, it doesn’t seem like an appropriate location on the property to put that cottage.”

Zunz questioned whether it was possible to move the cottage to a different spot on the property.

“I’m just wondering if anything has been done or can be done to move the cottage onto that property, but to locate it somewhere where it doesn’t sit right against that glass building and look so kind of foolish?” Zunz said.

Town Attorney Maggie Mooney told Zunz he could further voice his opinion about the cottage’s location during the Feb. 18 P&Z Board meeting.

“That is the appropriate hearing by which to raise any issues about the siting of that particular building,” Mooney said.

Chiles Group CEO Chuck Wolfe estimated it would cost between $50,000 and $100,000 to place the cottage on a permanent foundation with utilities.

Earlier this month, the Longboat Key Historical Society moved the smaller historic cottage still in its possession to the Town Center site.

Both historic cottages were built in the late 1930s and were among the original structures of Whitney’s Beach Resort.

In November 2020, JB Holding Co. owner James Brearley submitted a $45,000 bid to purchase the larger L-shaped cottage. However, Brearly and a friend did not feel comfortable with the amount of road noise coming from Gulf of Mexico Drive on their preferred lot in Longbeach Village and backed away from the purchase.

 

Mark Bergin is the Longboat Key Town Hall reporter for the Observer. He has previously worked as a senior digital producer at WTSP, the CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg. Mark is a graduate of the University of Missouri and grew up in the Chicagoland area.

See All Articles by Mark

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