The Bradenton Beach Planning and Zoning Board met June 28 for the first time since four members resigned in May after an April decision to deny the city’s joint development agreement with the BeachHouse Restaurant pitted the commission against the P&Z.
The city favored the agreement and at least one commissioner, as well as city attorney Ricinda Perry, attacked P&Z member qualifications, while Commissioner Ric Gatehouse accused P&Z members of presenting a “tainted and colored” recommendation based on personal bias.
Two board members resigned within 24 hours, a third resigned a few days later and a fourth resigned after asking for — and not receiving — an apology from the commissioners for the way P&Z board members had been treated.
The contentious May meeting where P&Z recommendations were placed on trial by Perry left the board without a quorum until John Burns and Dan Debaun were appointed by commissioners to the board in early June.
P&Z, now with five members, had four in attendance to establish quorum and moved on with regular business. Pat Whitesel was elected as the board’s new chair and Dakota Matthes was elected vice chair.
Burns and Debaun, both former board of adjustment members, also were in attendance.
As P&Z reorganized, a public hearing to consider a special exception application submitted by David Teitelbaum on behalf of the Tradewinds Resort, 1603 Gulf Drive N.; Tropic Isle, 102 22nd St. N.; and Seaside Inn, 2200 Gulf Drive N.; was resumed.
The special exception application is to allow the three resorts to sell beer, wine and other merchandise to their patrons, similar to a special exception approved by the city for Teitelbaum’s Tortuga Resort.
The city was represented by city planner Alan Garrett, who noted city staff had no objection to the special exception application, although he requested three stipulations be added to the application.
Garrett said the stipulations should set hours of operation to be 8 a.m.-10 p.m., limit sales to resort patrons only, and the sale of beer and wine shall comply with all local alcohol laws.
Garrett said the application under districts zoned R-3 does allow for small mercantile operations, including coffee shops, cocktail lounges and retail uses.
Teitelbaum said what he was asking for already was approved for Tortuga, and emphasized that sales would not be marketed to the public, and would be limited to the guests at each resort.
“Last time I was here for this was for Tortuga and these stipulations were requested,” he said. “We agreed to them and I’m proud to say we have kept our promise.”
Teitelbaum said he was proud to have four resorts in Bradenton Beach, “and probably has a couple more coming. We also understand what it means to be a good neighbor and believe strongly in being a quiet neighbor. I feel we are contributing to this community and we’ll follow the law and rules accordingly.”
Burns cited a land-development code section that prevents an overabundant concentration of alcohol establishments to “prevent problems associated” with the sale of alcohol in the R-3 district.
Garrett said there are certain criteria that outline that code, which deals with public safety and welfare.
“If it’s over concentration then it’s your duty to find a negative determination,” he said. “If not, then it’s your duty to find a positive determination. All we do is give you the information.”
Debaun said there is a difference between a general use and a restricted use, such as the one Teitelbaum applied for, but Burns disagreed.
“The code does not differentiate between the two,” he said. “Ultimately it’s a commission decision” he said. “Two (locations) are in very close proximity of each other and it’s something the commission should take a close look at.”
Matthes motioned to approve all three applications, and all were seconded by Debaun. Each motion passed with a vote of 3-1, with Burns casting the nay vote.
Burns wanted his concerns noted on the abundance of alcohol sales in the R-3 district.
“I just want it pointed out in the findings of fact that a note should be made to the city commission on the over concentration issue in order that they can address it with eyes wide open,” said Burns.
“I just want you to know I disagree with you strongly,” Teitelbaum said. “I can see where people are concerned with one establishment being next to another and another, but this is a private resort. I think your interpretation is misguided and I say that with great respect. Hopefully this comment could be passed on to the commission as well.”
Whitesel said it would. The P&Z recommendation to approve the special exception application will be presented at a city commission meeting in the future.