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Siesta hotel developers seeks density changes

One proposal seeks to eliminate the counting of hotel rooms in residential density calculations while the other would halve the count.

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  • | 5:00 p.m. September 30, 2020
Property overlooking Beach Road could be home to a 170-unit hotel.
Property overlooking Beach Road could be home to a 170-unit hotel.
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Applications to build two hotels on Siesta Key call for major changes to the county’s Unified Development Code, one of which, if approved, could affect regulations countywide. 

The two proposals, which are for hotels more than 80 feet tall, seek to eliminate or significantly reduce the counting of hotel rooms for units-per-acre density purposes.

Each proposal also includes modifications of the county’s Future Land Use Policy, which applies to residential density limitations on the county’s barrier islands.

One proposal is for 170 rooms on four parcels between Calle Miramar and Beach Road. The proposed L-shaped structure also would include a bar, restaurant and retail stores.

To accommodate construction, two structures built in 1925 and two structures built in 1948 would have to be demolished. The structures were part of the Miramar development, one of the earliest developments on Siesta Key, according to county documents.     

The proposed hotel would sit on just less than 1 acre, but the proposal requests a change in how the county regulates density.

Because it is part of the Siesta Key Overlay District, the land is zoned Commercial General, which allows structures to stand up to 35 feet in height, with heights allowed up to 85 feet by special exception.

Two structures built in the 1920s along Calle Miramar would have to be demolished if the 170-unit hotel is approved.
Two structures built in the 1920s along Calle Miramar would have to be demolished if the 170-unit hotel is approved.

The proposal states the hotel would be five stories over three levels of parking, which makes it 80 feet tall. The lower level would comprise 27,620 square feet with a 7,591-square-foot deck.

Without changes, allowed density is 13 units per acre. In seeking to eliminate the per-acre density allowance, the developer is proposing 170 units on 1 acre.

Icard Merrill attorney Matthew Brockway wrote that the amendment would be consistent with “the true nature of the use.”

“After all, from a land use, planning and zoning perspective, hotels are a commercial use critical to tourism and our local economy,” Brockway wrote. “To that end, Transient Accommodations are only permitted in certain commercial zoning districts.”

A petition to stop the proposal has received almost 2,000 signatures, and SK Coalition, an organization against the proposal, was formed. 

President of the Siesta Key Association Catherine Luckner said the proposal would put too much density and traffic in a residential area.

“We don’t want to become a hotel-driven island,” she said. “We’re a residential community for the most part, and the two villages that are commercial are set up to serve the people living here. … It wasn’t designed to become a traveler’s in-and-out place.”

Luckner worried adding a high-density project near the intersection of Beach Road and Ocean Boulevard, which historically has seen a high number of crashes, would only exacerbate traffic.

Because the hotel is projected to generate more than 100 vehicle trips during peak-hours, a Traffic Impact Analysis is required.

The second proposal, for a hotel located on Old Stickney Point Road, calls for a 50% decrease in the density allowance, but the change would only apply to the South Village area.

The application, submitted by Robert Medred of Genesis Planning & Development, is for Medred’s client Gary Kompothecras. It proposes a 120-room hotel at the intersection of Old Stickney Point Road and Peacock Road, and a parking garage with retail space between Old Stickney Point Road and Stickney Point Road.

The hotel’s proposed amendment to the Future Land Use Policy would allow land south of Stickney Point Road that is zoned Commercial General and Commercial Intensive to be redeveloped to contain transient accommodations that exceed the density restrictions.

The proposed amendment would state that no hotel room in such transient accommodations would contain a kitchen, and when calculating the number of hotel rooms within the area, each room without a kitchen would be counted as one-quarter dwelling unit instead of a half-dwelling unit.


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