Town tables major land-use rules

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After following dozens of opinions emanating from Longboat Key property owners on building heights, the Colony and future redevelopment, the Town Commission decided to table the controversial Planned Unit Development (PUD) ordinance this week.

Embedded in ordinance 2016-32, was language that would define the parameters of redevelopment rights for multi-family and tourism properties on Longboat Key.

What the maximum height of such redevelopment should be became a major concern with numerous residents arguing that 65 feet should be the limit and some saying even that is too much.

Others came to the meeting and told the commission that they want the town to amend the ordinance that was up for discussion and first reading, to allow a maximum of 80 feet. Their desire was predicated on supporting a redevelopment plan being promulgated by Unicorp President Chuck Whittall who hopes to build a mix of residential and tourism units at the 17.3-acre site of the former Colony Beach and Tennis Resort.

The residents in support of the Colony redevelopment were mainly from the Aquarius and Tencon, both neighboring properties, and they said that they believe the scaled-back plan that Whittall has presented, which calls for 103 residential units and 165 tourism units at a maximum height of 80 feet, will end the blight on the closed property.

But a majority on the commission said that the repercussions of the PUD ordinance on the various properties throughout the key where it could be utilized, were not fully known or understood.

“I’m not sure we’ve thought through the ramifications,” said Commissioner Randy Clair.

Soon after that remark, Commissioner George Spoll in agreement said he thought the commission needs to step back, and he made a motion to table the ordinance. Commissioner Jim Brown seconded the motion and the commission unanimously agreed to not move the regulations that have been in the works for three years, forward. Instead, they will workshop the PUD ordinance at a later date.


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