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Letters to the Editor

Readers respond to the St. Regis parking garage's potential impacts

  • By
  • | 11:15 a.m. May 22, 2023
Rendering of planned parking garage at St. Regis with landscaping.
Rendering of planned parking garage at St. Regis with landscaping.
Courtesy rendering
  • Longboat Key
  • Opinion
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Getting played

Time for some frank talk about the St. Regis parking garage.

The developers did not make a mistake when leaving the parking garage off the plan they submitted for approval. The garage was left off intentionally. Why? Parking takes up valuable land, provides an ugly aesthetic, and a parking garage on Longboat Key was never going to be approved. They knew this. Developers leave parking off many projects just so their projects get approved. Once the developer feels that construction is past the point of no return, they play the “Oops, we forgot parking garages” card, counting on the local rubes to concede to their added parking demands. If the parking garage is approved, it will only be because the power brokers of Longboat were unacceptably played.

What can Longboat do? Easy, say no. One simple word. No.

The developers will not bail out of the project.  Even if they did, someone else would jump in and finish the job without the parking concession.Why? Because the project is a money maker even without the garage. 

Longboat could also play the developers as badly as they tried to play Longboat: “Did we not tell you about the $100 a day, per parking spot cost for parking garages added after initial development approval? That fee remains in place for as long as the parking garage stands, even if no longer used as a parking garage. Our mistake.” 

Call the developer’s bluff. If they have to have a parking garage they will agree to paying for it. I think you will be surprised at how soon the parking garage is not really needed.  Even if they do agree to pay it, they will just charge a valet parking rate of $175 a night, which no one will pay. Guests will self-park and the valet parking garage becomes storage space — storage space that the developer also needs but did not bother putting in their plan. 

Oh, by the way, a sign at the valet desk that reads “please call valet XX minutes before you need your car” is a common sign at most hotels with valet parking. Also fine print on the valet parking ticket and/or a simple hand-out reminder given at check-in with similar wording is also common best practice.

Having spent over 30 years in the business, I can confidently tell you that the time to get a car from valet parking is not a real issue, especially when the policy is effectively communicated. The issues valet parking will have are going to be scheduling, staffing, lost keys, flat tires, dead batteries, car accidents, dents, scratches, dings and stolen items from cars. (Accidents and thefts that if reported to the Longboat police will have Longboat looking like a community with a real crime problem within two years.)

If Longboat gives into this garage, we will be the rubes the developers are counting on us to be.

— Thomas Brennan, Longboat Key

Better to have a more functional garage

I see the frustration in the response to the proposed parking changes at the St. Regis. I have a slightly different take on why we should let the changes occur. I lived in New York City where these lifts are common in garages. I can tell you they are dangerous and time restricting in moving cars.

I have heard of numerous injuries for the people who operate the lifts. They also break down and cause massive delays which would probably run over onto Gulf of Mexico Drive to make for a more congested road.

I have no dog in this race but do believe it would be better for Longboat residents to have a garage that would operate more functionally to move cars in and out of the St. Regis.

— Matt Costello, Longboat Key


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