HOLMES BEACH – A decision on what’s acceptable to commissioners regarding the Mainsail development has been delayed until the building official and fire marshal can review proposed changes to the site plan.
At last week’s commission meeting, City Attorney Patricia Petruff said issues that arose during a recent mediation include parking, the Sunrise Lane access, use of the marina, the height of buildings and setbacks.
The Mainsail Development Company requested the mediation, conducted by a special magistrate, after the city commission revoked the company’s site plan for its development near the corner of Marina and Gulf drives.
Petruff said Mainsail representatives agreed to design changes including decreasing the number of units; lowering the height of the building on the spit or eliminating it and agreed to present an onionskin overlay detailing the changes.
“What needs to happen, whether tonight or when you get that onionskin overlay, is that there needs to be an open and frank discussion about what you will find acceptable to settle this matter or it’s not going to settle,” she stressed.
She said the city’s portion of the special magistrate fee is approximately $3,000 and the follow-up mediation would not be scheduled until the overlay is presented to commissioners.
Petruff presented an e-mail from Mainsail attorney Robert Lincoln in which he said that Mainsail is working to:
• Remove Building A on the spit from the plan;
• Reduce the size and footprint of Building D, near Sunrise Lane;
• Accommodate all parking on site;
• Eliminate the need for emergency access on Sunrise Lane, a private road.
“If emergency access to Sunrise Lane is unavoidable, Mainsail is willing to limit and control such access through the use of electronic gates under the control of first responders (fire and emergency personnel), with prohibitions against non-emergency use,” Lincoln said.
Neighbors have opposed the development’s plan to use Sunrise Lane for emergency access, and one neighbor, Dan Howe, has threatened to sue if the commission allows its use.
“ … Mr. Howe and his attorney are flat out wrong in their assertion that Mainsail does not have the right to use Sunrise Lane for such purposes under the various private road agreements,” Lincoln asserted in the e-mail and added, “Any action by the commission to deprive Mainsail of its rights to use Sunrise Lane would be actionable … ”
However, Petruff pointed out, “Whether Mainsail has the right to use Sunrise Lane is a private matter between Sunrise owners and Mainsail.”
Commissioner Judy Titsworth asked if the city should spend any more money on mediation until the Sunrise Lane issue is settled.
She said she was unhappy that Mainsail had not produced the onionskin drawing for this meeting and noted, “The mayor said the staff has not looked at the onionskin drawing, but they’re not voting on this, commissioners are.”
Mayor Carmel Monti responded, “Without Tom (Building Official Tom O’Brien) and the fire marshal’s input, we don’t have a full deck of cards. Having the onionskin was not set in stone.
“This shows they are doing the right thing with respect to Sunrise Lane. They may have a way to avoid it. I think they’re acting it very good faith, and we should try and work with them.”
Commissioner Marvin Grossman continued to express concern about Mainsail’s lease with Wells Fargo for parking and also said, “They should get a title policy insuring their access to Sunrise Lane.”
Titsworth agreed with Grossman and said, “They told me they have a lease but they haven’t provided it.
What is enough?
Chair Jean Peelen suggested that commissioners postpone advising their mediation representatives until they are able to study the onionskin drawing. Monti and Titsworth are their representatives.
Commissioner Pat Morton said he was discouraged that the onionskin was not available and said, “It was advertised that they would have the onionskin and they should have had it.”
“Our fire person and our building person are not here,” stressed Peelen and Monti agreed and added, “They did do what they said and they did follow through.
“I have to agree with Ms. Petruff. We need to know what’s acceptable to go back into that next session otherwise it will be another waste of time. You’re saying this is not enough. What is enough?”
Zaccagnino added, “We need to stop the moving target and decide what we will accept. Sunrise Lane is a private matter and parking has nothing to do with this.
“We can’t keep stringing them along or they’ll give up and sue. Believe me, a lawsuit will be a lot more expensive than mediation.”
At Thursday’s work session, Petruff reported she spoke with Lincoln and Special Magistrate Steve Seibert and that the next scheduled dates for continuing the hearing were too soon. She said she hoped the commission could discuss what they will accept regarding the changes in the site plan at their meeting on July 23 or work session on July 25.
“Once we get feedback from you, we can have a follow-up session with the special magistrate hopefully in in August,” she said.
“Either we will resolve it or not, and he (Seibert) can finish his part of it, which is to either to accept whatever we work out or if the parties don’t reach consensus, then he will make his report.”