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Ocean Properties seeks Key Club referendum

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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 11, 2014
The Longboat Key Club’s Islandside property is located at the south end of the Key.
The Longboat Key Club’s Islandside property is located at the south end of the Key.
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Ocean Properties Ltd. hopes to redevelop the Longboat Key Club Islandside property — and is asking the town to hold a referendum in a special election as soon as possible.

Sarasota attorney John Patterson, whose firm, Shutts & Bowen LLP, represents New Hampshire limited liability company NAECO LLC, an Ocean Properties affiliate wrote in a Nov. 9 letter to the Longboat Key Town Commission that his client “wishes to redevelop a portion of its property in Islandside including residential and tourism (a hotel, a meeting center, and related facilities, including restaurants).”

Ocean Properties is not seeking an increase in the property’s allowable density, according to Patterson’s letter.

The Delray Beach-based Ocean Properties has not filed an application, according to Longboat Key Planning Zoning and Building Director Alaina Ray.

Patterson referred questions about specific plans for the Key Club to Mark Walsh, vice president of Ocean Properties, who was traveling and could not be reached for comment Monday.

According to Patterson, 12th Judicial Circuit Judge Lee Haworth’s 2012 ruling in favor of the Islandside Property Owners Coalition (IPOC) in its lawsuit against the town 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.

“Right now, that density can’t be used for anything other than residential,” Patterson said. “That density can’t be used for tourism.”

In a memo earlier this year, the town’s legal counsel determined that the Islandside district has 2,350 maximum allowable units, of which 1,251 have been built.

Asked if Ocean Properties wants to build a hotel on the property, Patterson said, “We wouldn’t be doing this except for to place a first-class hotel there.”

IPOC President Bob White could not immediately be reached for comment.

Patterson said Ocean Properties would most likely need referendum approval before it submits its application to the town.

“From my perspective, the town can’t process an application until you hold a referendum,” he said. “Where it stands right now, we don’t have the right to ask for this.”

According to Ray, the commission will need to approve an ordinance before it goes to voters.

“Typically, there’s at least a four- to five-month lead time,” she said.

For more information, pick up a Nov. 13 copy of the Longboat Observer.

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].