Chiles to resubmit Mar Vista plans
LONGBOAT KEY – Mar Vista Dockside restaurant owner Ed Chiles has canceled plans to use the adjacent historic Rufus Jordan House as an event venue in response to residents’ concerns about parking in Longbeach Village.
At Chiles’ request, the Longboat Key Commission voted unanimously on Monday, June 3, to rescind its May 6 decision to allow the expansion.
The house, just north of the restaurant at 760 Broadway, is one of Longboat Key’s oldest structures, built by one of the Key’s first developers, and is not open to the public.
Chiles had submitted a site plan application that included restoring the house, which he called “arguably the most historic house in Longboat Key,” to a 60-seat gathering place serving cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at receptions for groups like the Longboat Key Historical Society, he said.
But misinformation caused residents to think the plan would double the 168-seat restaurant’s capacity and cause more parking problems in the village, he said, adding, “If I was living in the village, I would have been very concerned too.
“We have pulled that because of the controversy,” Chiles said, adding that he would resubmit plans on the second story tree house planned over the covered deck of the historic restaurant with 11 additional seats, and may approach the commission later on the house restoration.
Neighborhood residents had complained at a previous commission meeting that parking already overflows onto residential side streets and blocks traffic and requested that the commission postpone the hearing until October, saying more residents would be in town to appear and voice concerns.
They also had requested that the commission send the site plan amendment back to the Planning and Zoning Board, saying that the notices of both the first public hearing and the P&Z Board hearing were defective because they were not sent to residents within 500 feet of the restaurant.
Chiles said that he checked with police on the parking issue, but was told no complaints had been filed.
He said he invited residents to a meeting on the issue, but only three attended.
“We are ready to work with you on any parking issues,” he said to village residents. “Whatever we can do to make this a workable situation.”
“The issue is on-street parking,” resident Gene Jaleski said. “That’s our neighborhood and we like it the way it is and we like Mar Vista and Moore’s, but we want to reduce the amount of cars on the street.”
Resident Corinne Ragheb noted that Chiles built a berm on a sand beach at his BeachHouse restaurant in Bradenton Beach despite a pending lawsuit over the use of the beach for parking, saying, “One keeps wondering why he gets special consideration.”