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County creates zoning rules for boutique hotel

The owner of a Stickney Point hotel gained approval to redevelop his resort under new regulations.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. June 21, 2018
The Siesta Key Palms Resort will be renovated under the new zoning regulations.
The Siesta Key Palms Resort will be renovated under the new zoning regulations.
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County officials hope new regulations will help facilitate the redevelopment of midcentury hotels that couldn’t be built under today’s zoning rules.

On June 13, the County Commission unanimously approved the creation of a new zoning district called Boutique Resort Redevelopment/Planned Development District. The district is being created to help facilitate the redevelopment of a hotel at 1804 Stickney Point Road, near the south bridge to Siesta Key.

Property owner Henry Rodriguez asked the county to change its regulations as he planned improvements to the Siesta Key Palms Resort. Rodriguez said he wanted to preserve and enhance the ‘Old Florida’ character of the property, but existing rules — including setback and parking requirements — no longer allow for the same types of structures.

“What we’re trying to do here is encourage the redevelopment of historical older hotels, which are becoming more appealing to the general public,” Rodriguez said in a previous interview with the Sarasota Observer.

County staff worked to craft narrowly tailored regulations that would allow Rodriguez and owners of similar properties a path to redevelopment. The zoning district could only apply to properties in noncommercial districts located on arterial roadways with 75 rooms or fewer. The district is only applicable to properties on the mainland.

“Trying to do it through the zoning districts we have was just impossible,” County Planner Kirk Crane said. “They couldn’t do it.”

Crane said staff identified eight or nine other properties throughout the county to which the zoning could be applicable. So far, Crane said he hasn’t heard from any other property owners interested in rezoning, but he said it would be an option available to them in the future.

The only commissioner who asked a question about the new zoning district was Nancy Detert, who initially questioned the necessity for a new district. She was reassured when staff said any property owner interested in the Boutique Resort Redevelopment classification would need to come back to the commission to get the land rezoned.

“As long as we get a second bite at that apple, that answers my question,” Detert said.

As county officials reviewed the proposed zoning, residents near the Siesta Key Palms Resort expressed some concern about the project’s effect on traffic.

Rodriguez plans to reconfigure the internal traffic flow of his property to reduce the number of vehicles entering and exiting on residential streets.

Crane and Rodriguez said residents were largely positive regarding the plans for the Stickney Point resort.

“Nobody spoke against it,” Crane said. “They think it’s a wonderful idea.”


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