Town to mail Key Club tourism ballots

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The Longboat Key Town Commission voted unanimously that the Longboat Key Club will have to pay to mail a ballot to every registered voter when it seeks to gain approval in May 2015 for the right to add tourism units to its Islandside property.

The Town Commission also passed at its Dec. 10 workshop the first reading of the ordinance that will ask voters whether to allow the Longboat Key Club to add tourism units to its Islandside property.

The request from the Key Club for a public referendum came from its representative, Sarasota Attorney John Patterson who wishes to hold the election on May 12, 2015.

The specific proposed question Longboat voters will consider if the commission approves it, reads as follows:

May the town allow up to 300 new tourism units, with tourism and accessory uses within certain portions of the Longboat Key Club property located at 201 and 301 Gulf of Mexico Drive and 361 Longboat Club Road, and situated within the MUC-2 land use category and zoning district provided such allowance, shall not exceed the maximum allowable overall MUC-2 density?

The above referendum question will go to a second reading for final approval in January 2015.

The Key Club’s current owner, Ocean Properties, Ltd. out of Delray Beach, seeks to redevelop the Islandside portion of the Club with an additional hotel, meeting center, as well as condominium units. Currently, the Club can only build residential units on the Islandside property unless voters give approval for the tourism use.

The Key Club’s previous owners, Loeb Partners Realty, fought with Islandside Property Owner’s Coalition (IPOC), and with town approval succeeded in gaining development rights that were subsequently overturned by a resident court challenge.

Since then, it has been reported that Ocean Properties has negotiated a plan that is more amenable to the Islandside residential neighbors, and to date there has been no signs of challenge.

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