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Longboat Key Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019 9 months ago

Mar Vista seeks OK for satellite HR office, parking lot on Longboat

300 square foot office, 98 spaces proposed for land near Whitney Plaza.
by: Eric Garwood Managing Editor

The owner of Mar Vista Dockside has applied to the town to build nearly 100 parking spaces and a small office on property near the corner of Broadway Street and Gulf of Mexico Drive, according to the company’s chief executive and documents filed with the town.

The 300-square-foot building, which plans show on the northern side of the property between Whitney Plaza and a vacant bank building, is intended as a satellite office for the company’s human resources operation, said Chuck Wolfe, CEO of the Chiles Group hospitality company.

A site-development plan that includes 98 parking spots (including six for handicapped parking) was submitted to the town this month. 

Consideration by the town’s Planning & Zoning Board has been scheduled for Dec. 17, said Allen Parsons, the town’s director of Planning, Zoning and Building.

Wolfe, whose company operates Mar Vista about 1,800 feet around the corner and down the sidewalk, said the building is intended as a satellite HR operation to help serve employees from its Anna Maria home base. Plans show a building measuring 20 feet by 15 feet with work space and a bathroom.

“Especially during the season, with the drive from Anna Maria, it’s nice to have a satellite office,” he said.

Plans for the 1.5 acres call for the removal of Australian pines, pepper trees, carrotwood and ficus trees and the preservation of as many palms and sea grapes on the property as possible. 

Driveways would allow access from Palm Drive and Cedar Street but not from Gulf of Mexico Drive, plans show.

Since earlier this year, operators of valet services have been forbidden to park on city streets.

Parking has been a central issue in Longbeach Village for months, following the reopening of a revamped Mar Vista in the winter, the completion and opening of Shore next door and the progression of work on Whitney’s, which could open by the end of the year, all on the historic neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, Broadway Street.

Over the course of several months in the late winter and early spring of this year, town commissioners weighed several options as solutions to neighbors’ complaints over street parking and speeding. Ultimately, commissioners approved a package of changes that included slower speed limits, more no-parking zones, new restrictions on overnight parking and a ban on street parking for valet services.

Weeks later, the town’s Planning & Zoning Board rejected a request from the owners of Shore to expand its own on-site parking by means of a right-of-way vacation that would have eliminated a segment of sidewalk on Broadway’s eastern end. 

Both Mar Vista and Shore comply with regulations that link parking to seating capacity, officials said.

This month, the Planning & Zoning Board OK’d a request by the owners of Whitney’s for additional seating, tied to a lease with the Marterie Family Trust, owners of the former bank building directly south of the restaurant at Broadway Street and Gulf of Mexico Drive. 

The $900-per-month agreement between the trust and the LLC entitles Whitney’s to use 18 parking spaces, which brings the restaurant’s total to 30 spaces.

Mar Vista offers no-charge valet parking and is able to fill its on-site lot with more vehicles than if patrons parked on their own. 

Police and town officials are monitoring traffic in the area as season takes hold and paying particular attention to speed and parking issues on Broadway and adjoining neighborhood streets.



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