HOLMES BEACH – Commissioners last week made changes to the agreement regarding Mainsail Development Company’s plans to build guest units, a lodge and restaurant near the corner of Gulf and Marina drives.
City representatives and Mainsail officials have participated in two mediation sessions with a special magistrate, both followed by numerous changes to terms attached to the settlement agreement. The company requested the mediation after the city commission revoked its site plan for the development nearly a year ago.
City Attorney Patricia Petruff said she clarified the number of charter boat spaces, removed a paragraph regarding addition of parking and uses, clarified setbacks for Building B and the lodge and added language regarding the emergency access from Sunrise Lane, as requested by commissioners in December.
Mainsail neighbor Lance Spotts asked commissioners to vote against the agreement citing unresolved issues with Sunrise Lane neighbors.
Then Commissioner Marvin Grossman suggested the most radical change – turning Building B so people can have a better view of the water from Marina Drive. Building B is planned for the spit that juts into the boat basin.
Part of the settlement agreement reached after the second special magistrate hearing was the removal of Building A and a portion of Building B from the spit to give people a better view. “When I look at Building B and try to look at the bay, it’s hard to picture where the three-story building actually starts and ends,” Grossman said.
“They want to connect Building B to the lodge, but if they twist Building B just a little maybe another 30 degrees or so to meet that building, it would give us a great angle to see the view.”
He asked Petruff to insert a stipulation asking Mainsail, if possible, to move Building B to create a maximum view of the bay.
This prompted Commissioner David Zaccagnino to remark, “At every meeting, we add more and more and more demands. The percentage of them accepting the agreement becomes less and less, and we’ll get into litigation we don’t want to get into.”
Grossman said it was just a suggestion, not a demand and added, “It’s something Holmes Beach will live with the rest of its life.”
Chair Judy Titsworth asked about the width of parking allowed under Building E, and Building Official Tom O’Brien said it would be a two-way drive. Titsworth and Grossman insisted that it was to be one-way
Grossman also questioned the size of the building and said, “They said they didn’t plan on expanding the size of the building, just the parking underneath it.”
O’Brien replied, “There’s really nothing in our code to prohibit this configuration. This is typical of all the buildings along Gulf Drive. If they comply with setbacks and height and coverage, there’s nothing in our code that dictates the width of the building.”
Titsworth said the building is wider than agreed upon, and it also encroaches in the setback on Sunrise Lane. She said they should return to angle parking and one lane, and asked Petruff to determine a maximum number of feet for the width.
Parking for meeting rooms
Titsworth and Grossman questioned parking standards for the lodge’s meeting rooms, and O’Brien they are based on occupancy loads.
Titsworth said in the original agreement, the meeting rooms were only supposed to be used by guests of the lodge, and Petruff said the issue was discussed at the special magistrate hearing, and this is what they agreed on.
“My preference is to leave it in here with the understanding that Mr. O’Brien feels comfortable that based on occupancy limits and parking requirements this can be addressed,” she said.
“They should be have the ability to open those meeting rooms to Island community activities provided they can address the parking situation in the manner that satisfies the city.”
Titsworth asked Petruff to add language to prevent a tiki bar from being built within 50 feet of Spotts’ property, and Petruff did so.
Grossman questioned a provision regarding a third party challenge to the city commission’s approval of the agreement.
Petruff pointed out, “Mainsail is saying at the end of the process – we reach a settlement, they come in and submit a site plan, it goes through public hearings and the city approves it and then somebody challenges that, it puts us back at square one and Mainsail has the right to sue you on the original revocation issue that started this.”
She said it’s not unusual language in a settlement agreement.
“I’m getting mixed signals on whether or not to kick the can down the road,” Mayor Carmel Monti said. “Can we distill what the objectives are because I’ve heard from the other side, and they’re OK with it.”
Petruff summarized the changes, and Titsworth said they would continue the discussion at the next meeting.