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Defense presentation up next

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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 4, 2009
  • Longboat Key
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If the town approves a new 196-room, five-star hotel as part of The Longboat Key Club and Resort’s Islandside renovation and expansion project, club officials will need to get the permission of the town to allow the hotel guests to use the renovated golf course.

A memorandum of understanding and agreement reached between the town of Longboat Key and the Key Club modified in 1992 requires the town and the club to establish and maintain separate membership and waiting lists by type of membership. The agreement also mandates that only Inn on the Beach guests are able to have Islandside or Harbourside golf privileges.

Islandside Property Owners Coalition’s attorney Robert Lincoln made the revelation during a cross-examination at the Planning and Zoning Board’s Thursday, Oct. 22 Islandside renovation and expansion public hearing.

Although Lincoln won’t make his anticipated three-hour presentation that opposes the project until the public hearing resumes Thursday, Nov. 5, he told The Longboat Observer his presentation would focus on the Islandside Gulf-planned development, what’s allowed to be built within it and some of the agreements in place on the property.

Lincoln believes the Gulf-planned development does not permit commercial or mixed-use developments.
“The club says they have a right to commercialize this property because it’s their land and they have a right to run it the way they want to,” Lincoln said. “But agreements in place say otherwise.”

Lincoln says the golf course property is critical to the defense’s position.

“For instance, they are proposing to redo the drainage system on the golf course,” Lincoln said. “But the ponds on the golf course are the main drainage systems for all the properties in the Gulf-planned development.”

The club, Lincoln says, needs permission from every development in Islandside to make drainage changes.
Lincoln also says the Islandside planned development was approved with the stipulation that the golf course stay an accessory use.

“While everyone knew the club would be operated as a private venture, agreements in place anticipate the golf course being run for the benefit of the residents within the community,” Lincoln said. “This new proposed hotel and other developments are diluting the character of the club and the golf course.”

Lincoln also claims that density figures released by the club, which show 696 available units left within Islandside that the town can approve, are inaccurate.

“The club claims there is extra density available for their project,” Lincoln said. “Our contention has been that the entire density available is not available for their use.”

Lincoln contends that when condominium projects within the development are built and don’t use all the units available to them, the extra density “is thrown away.”

And, Lincoln also alluded to the fact that more than 1,000 available units are still available within Bay Isles.
“They (the club) could put up a condominium project over there (Bay Isles) if they wanted to ask for it,” Lincoln said.

Key Club General Manager Michael Welly called Lincoln and attorney Michael Furen’s future presentation “a list of concepts and mischaracterizations thrown up on a wall to see what will stick.”

“The opposition will surely try to mischaracterize what we are trying to do,” Welly said. “They are going to come after us for our departures requested and we will defend them.”

Welly said the club “has absolutely no plans for Bay Isles.”

And Welly said he has no worries about a golf agreement in place that gives club members three days in advance to schedule a tee time and Inn on the Beach guests two days in advance.

“They think we want to change guaranteed tee times and that’s simply not the case,” said Welly, who explained that guests from the new hotel, which is being built to accommodate meeting groups, would be playing the course in the afternoon after their meetings have ended.

Welly said he thinks the town will be open to amending a longstanding golf agreement when the time comes because there has never been an issue with the agreement in the past.

The bottom line, Welly said, “is if you ask someone what’s the plan to refresh the island, there is no plan or thought in place.”

“This is the plan,” Welly said. “It’s a great plan that’s the right one to be built. I know it in my heart that in three years, you will have our neighbors saying they love it."

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected]

No Bay Isles master plan
Islandside Property Owners Coalition Chairman Bob White sent an e-mail to opponents of The Longboat Key Club and Resort’s Islandside renovation and expansion proposal this week, explaining that the project “appears to be only a part of a larger goal that the Loeb organization has for its properties.”

White sent project opponents a link to a Web site from New York City-based real-estate firm Blackpoint Partners, which lists the club as “an advisory assignment” and explains that the company advised Loeb Partners Realty on how to turn around “a distressed asset” by developing “a master plan to add 1,600 new units” to the club’s density.

White warns opponents that the extra units could be built in Bay Isles within Harbourside. 

Key Club General Manager Michael Welly, however, said IPOC distributed inaccurate information and said the club has never been a client of Blackpoint Partners, which is operated by former Loeb employees.

“Despite what some suggest, the truth is that neither club management nor its owners, Key Club Associates, has ever drafted a master plan for additional units to be built in Bay Isles or Harbourside,” Welly said.