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One Park plan meeting with opposition from Quay residents

A plan to build an 18-story condo tower spanning over Quay Commons, a primary road within The Quay, is challenged by residents claiming the developer of One Park is circumventing the public process.

A 21-year-old man fell from the 18th floor to the fifth floor at the Bayso construction site in The Quay. He later died at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
A 21-year-old man fell from the 18th floor to the fifth floor at the Bayso construction site in The Quay. He later died at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
Photo by Andrew Warfield
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With what had become a controversial procedural matter before the Sarasota Development Review Committee behind them, developers of the planned One Park condominium tower in The Quay still face some vocal opposition as they progress to the public process.

During two consecutive City Commission meetings, residents of The Quay spoke against an application by Quay 1 and 9 LLC’s plan for One Park, an 18-story building, which seeks a development agreement amendment to allow construction over Quay Commons between Blocks 1 and 9. 

Quay Commons is an access road for residents in other buildings at The Quay, the air rights over which opponents claim would be violated by One Park, which is planned at the intersection of Quay Commons and Boulevard of the Arts next to the Hyatt Regency hotel. That site is  being used for construction staging for two other projects being built in The Quay.

Principals in One Park are Property Markets Group of New York City and Miami, and Sarasota-based JEBCO Ventures, which together comprise Quay 1 and 9 LLC.

The city’s development agreement for The Quay with GreenPointe Developers, which governs development over the entire 14.69 acres of  bayfront property along Tamiami Trail, was approved by the City Commission in 2016. 

At issue at the Nov. 21 City Commission meeting for the Quay Block 6 Condominium Association and its attorney Robert Lincoln was a hastily called emergency DRC meeting for the day before Thanksgiving, prompting suspicions of cloak-and-dagger backroom dealings. Representatives of One Park countered that DRC meetings are open to the public and are broadcast online, that they do not accept public comment and was a necessary procedural step in order to begin the public process before the Planning Board on Dec. 14. 

“This is the first time I remember people concerned about public input at a DRC meeting, because public input is not permitted at DRC meetings,”  Chris Gallagher of Hoyt Architects told commissioners on Nov. 21. “They are now televised and recorded, so it's not like they happen in back rooms or dark closets. Everyone knows what goes on. I hope that we can stay in this process so that the public process then can begin, because we can't get to the public process until the DRC staff members have reviewed the technical issues and signed off.”

Surprise cancellation

Gallagher's lesson in development approval protocols notwithstanding, the emergency DRC meeting was inadvertently cancelled by staff via email while the commission’s Nov. 21 meeting was underway. That led to a second wave of speakers later in the meeting on behalf of One Park, including Gallagher, objecting to the surprise cancellation of the meeting.

No one was more surprised it was cancelled than City Manager Marlon Brown, who explained that staff misinterpreted his plan to likely cancel the meeting after addressing commissioners on the matter. The unprecedented emergency meeting would likely have been cancelled, Brown said, out of respect to Lincoln’s unavailability for the Dec. 14 Planning Board meeting. 

Instead, the DRC took up One Park at its regularly scheduled Dec. 7 meeting. It remained on the Planning Board’s agenda for Dec. 14, but staff has requested it be continued to Jan. 11, 2023.

Construction of the 18-story Bayso forms the backdrop to the Ritz Carlton Residences, one of the first condo towers to be completed at The Quay.
Photo by Andrew Warfield

One Park’s attempt to amend the development agreement, Lincoln told commissioners, is an attempt to circumvent public participation.

“It's completely contrary to the representations (GreenPointe) made to this body in 2016 to get approval of the development agreement,” Lincoln said. “They can't have been surprised when (it was) determined that the changes to the general development plan were major and will require a full set of quasi-judicial hearings, not just on their block site plan, but also to the changes in the general development plan and heard by both the Planning Board and the City Commission.”

An amendment to the development agreement would require only legislative hearings before the City Commission, which allows speakers only three minutes each, and would provide an easier path to a final decision on the site plan. 

Without amending the general development plan, a quasi-judicial hearing for a major change to the plan requires sworn testimony and allows affected parties to provide full presentations with questioning by commissioners, followed by rebuttal. It would also keep consideration of a change to the general development agreement and the site plan combined, and as a judicial proceeding leave open to door to legal challenges by either side depending on the outcome.

“One Park instead submitted an application to change the text of the development agreement to bypass all of that,” Lincoln said.

Underway legal proceedings may settle the dispute prior to the Jan. 11 Planning Board meeting. At the request of City Attorney Robert Fournier, attorneys for One Park filed for declaratory action with the 12th Circuit Court of Sarasota to confirm ownership and title of the air rights over Quay Commons, and to confirm or deny One Park’s ability to purchase those air rights from GreenPointe. A hearing was held Friday, with Judge Hunter Carroll saying he could rule as early as Dec. 15.

Near the end of the Nov. 21 meeting, attorney Matt Brockway of Icard Merrill, whose firm represents One Park, countered prior statements made by opponents to the project.

“There were some statements made about the ownership of air rights that the members of Block 6 and the opposition own the air rights. That’s simply not correct,” Brockway said. “There’s been no conveyance of those air rights. There's no recorded deed. There is a recorded easement for the air rights over Quay Commons, but that easement is limited in height to 14 feet. “

Even if One Park prevails in court, at the Dec. 7 DRC meeting staff expressed concerns about the building plan, among them the possibility of a “tunnel-like” development over Quay Commons creating an “echo chamber” effect. 

Additionally, the staff report reads, “The massing that would be permitted by the proposed amendment to the Development Agreement creates shadow impacts on the pedestrian corridor along Quay Commons and interrupts desirable public views, creating separation from the Bay Park to the inner Quay.”



Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

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