The Longboat Key Planning, Zoning and Building Department doesn’t know what Ocean Properties Ltd. will submit for a Longboat Key Club Islandside project if voters decide in May to allow tourism via a referendum vote.
But members of the Islandside Property Owners Coalition (IPOC) are more in-the-know than town staff.
Ocean Properties is working behind the scenes to gain support for a future Key Club project from IPOC and surrounding properties.
A February newsletter from The Sanctuary at Longboat Key Club Community Association Inc. reported to residents that, in the fall, Delray Beach-based Ocean Properties discussed a conceptual plan with IPOC that includes a hotel, parking garage, condominium tower and seven smaller villas. The plan also includes an option to redevelop a current undisclosed restaurant property for future condominiums.
The newsletter states that all redevelopment is planned for south of Longboat Club Road, which will be shifted slightly to the north. No development is planned for north of the road.
“They had addressed constructively several concerns that members of IPOC had raised, while maintaining the elements they consider instrumental to their success,” the newsletter states.
IPOC opposed the Key Club’s past $400 million project that the Longboat Key Commission approved in 2010 and was subsequently overturned in the courts.
One of those rulings required the town to hold a referendum before changing the uses in three zoning districts, including the one in which the Islandside property is located.
But, IPOC President Bob White told the Longboat Observer last week that he’s seen a tentative plan and “is a lot happier with it than the plan Loeb was proposing.”
“We’ve had discussions with Ocean Properties for a couple of years now, and the lines of communication remain open,” White said.
White said IPOC has a draft of a written agreement with Ocean Properties that it continues to review that shows support for a future Islandside project.
“We hope to have a signed agreement regarding Ocean Properties’ future development plan soon,” White said.
White said his biggest concern with any future project is the impact it will have on future traffic.
“Traffic has been heavy this year without the Hilton up and running and the Colony still offline,” White said. “So any project has to address traffic concerns appropriately.”
Ocean Properties Vice President Andy Berger told the Longboat Observer a concept plan has been reviewed by IPOC and Islandside communities.
“It’s important to have an agreement in place with IPOC as we move forward,” Berger said.
Berger declined to release or discuss additional information about a future Islandside project.
In January, the commission approved an ordinance that will place a referendum question before voters. The town has received approval from the Manatee and Sarasota county supervisor of elections office and Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner to hold a mail-only vote on whether tourism use should be allowed on the Islandside property.
White urged the commission last year to hold any vote by mail because Ocean Properties seeks a special election after peak season.
Approval of the referendum would convert no more than 300 allowable units from residential to tourism use.
Planning, Zoning and Building Director Alaina Ray said she saw conceptual renderings a couple of months ago that are still in flux, but the department has no copies on file.
“I’ve had some discussions regarding the number of hotel rooms, but that’s all,” Ray said.
Ocean Properties will file plans if voters approve the referendum.