Voters could decide future uses of the Longboat Key Club’s Islandside property in a May 2015 mail-only vote.
The Longboat Key Town Commission moved forward with an ordinance that will place a referendum question before voters in a mail-only whether tourism use should be allowed on the Islandside property at a Dec. 10 special meeting.
Islandside Property Owners Coalition (IPOC) President Bob White urged the commission to hold any vote by mail because Key Club owner Ocean Properties Ltd. is seeking a special election in May, after peak season.
“It would give everyone an opportunity to weigh in on what their feelings are regarding the referendum and would not leave people feeling like this referendum was being held on the off-season and they really didn’t have a chance to weigh in,” White said.
According to Longboat Key Planning, Zoning and Building Director Alaina Ray, approval of the referendum would convert no more than 300 allowable units from residential to tourism use.
The vote is required as the result of 12th Judicial Circuit Judge Lee Haworth’s 2012 ruling in favor of IPOC in its lawsuit against the town that challenged code changes the commission approved to clarify a past $400 million proposed Key Club project. That ruling required the town to hold a referendum before allowing any use other than residential within three zoning districts, including the one in which the Islandside property is located.
The commission will vote on the ordinance on second reading and public hearing at its Jan. 5 regular meeting.
For an all-mail election, ballots are sent 20 days before the election, and voters have until 7 p.m. on election day to return them. Attorney John Patterson, who represents Ocean Properties, said his client will pay for any costs associated with the special election.
Ocean Properties will file an application after the special election if voters approve tourism use for the property.
For more information, pick up a Dec. 18 copy of the Longboat Observer.
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].