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Longboat voters reject Colony redevelopment plan

Unicorp National Developments sought voter approval for up to 180 new residential units on the former Colony Beach & Tennis Resort site.

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  • | 7:30 p.m. March 14, 2017
  • Longboat Key
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Click here for the results of the Sarasota City Commission election. Click here for the outcome of the Longboat Key Town Commission election.

Tomorrow, Unicorp National Developments President Chuck Whittall will likely announce a different vision for the redevelopment of the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort than recently touted, after Longboat Key voters rejected a density referendum for the site.

Voters turned down a request for up to 180 additional residential units on the property with 87% of the vote. With 237 grandfathered tourism units at the shuttered resort, it could have meant as many 417 units with additional town approvals.

Unicorp had planned to build a five-star resort.

“We want this to be the nicest resort in the country,” Whittall said in a previous interview with the Longboat Observer.

But with traffic surfacing as one of the biggest issues on the barrier island, many residents spoke out against adding density to an island already facing seasonal traffic gridlock. Political action committee Preserve Longboat Inc. formed last month to fight the proposal.

The proposal to convert the Mote Scientific Foundation property from commercial to residential and add as many as 10 homes to create the Cottages at Mote Cove received 42% of voters’ support, failing to meet the threshold for approval. Receiving 1,060 more “yes” votes than the Colony referendum, many voters split the two referendums during an election in which the developer of the Mote property feared voters would associate the Colony request with their plans.


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