HB starts process to revoke downtown development plan

Holmes Beach city commissioners agreed to start a process that could lead to the revocation of the site plan for a marina, condominium, lodging and restaurant complex at 5325 Marina Drive.

        Mayor Rich Bohnenberger asked the commission Sept. 26 to begin the Tidemark Lodge revocation and also to enact an ordinance to create a sunset provision for future development site plans.

        “This project no longer has an active building permit,” said Bohnenberger. “It has virtually become an abandoned construction site.”

        City attorney Patricia Petruff said due process requires there first be a public hearing and notice to the developer to allow them to explain why the city should not revoke the site plan.

        After a hearing, she added, the commission could choose to revoke the site plan, give the developer a date certain for completion or allow the plan to remain in force with no expiration.

        The project, approved in June 2001, includes plans for a marina, 120-seat restaurant and bar in a building with nine lodge units, and 20 buildings with 31 townhomes. The plan was amended in September 2002 to reflect a building layout change.

        Tidemark filed bankruptcy in 2004, and the property changed hands. The property is now owned by Mainsail AMI Marina LLLP of Tampa and George Glaser of Bradenton, according to the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office.

        In 2009, Mainsail representatives met with Holmes Beach public works superintendent Joe Duennes and proposed reducing the project to 37 residential units, concealing stairs and elevators, and elevating the lodge building.

        Meanwhile, a sister company, Mainsail AMI Beach Inn completed a motel at 101 66th St., Holmes Beach. In August 2011, a Mainsail spokesperson told The Islander it needed one more season of sales at the Beach Inn before proceeding with the lodge build-out.

        Last week, Mainsail Lodging & Development president Joe Collier said the company purchased the 2-3 acre Tidemark property out of foreclosure with the site plan entitlements, and were assured they’d remain.

        The marina portion of the project has already been built-out.

        “We’ve spent a few hundred of thousands of dollars in the bulk heads, dock pilings, caps and other construction and drainage improvements,” he added.

        And, he said, unfortunately, some site work was done before the project stalled because of the economy. He said the company recently cut weeds, mowed the grass and bulldozed part of the property.

        According to the city code enforcement department, a notice of violation was sent to the company in March due to overgrown weeds.

        As to the city’s move to revoke the site plan, Collier said, “I don’t think they can do it. We’re actually getting ready to start, get mobilized and start construction.”

        He estimated one-year construction with contractor SunCoast Builders of Clearwater, and Steve Smith of Cooper, Johnson, Smith Architects of Tampa.

        Other investors in the Mainsail project include Ed Chiles. Michael Coleman, Ted LaRoche and Louis and Mary Alice Collins.

        “I’m surprised they’d do something like that,” Collier said. “I’m surprised someone didn’t reach out to the landowners first.”

        The city has leased docks in the basin to Mainsail for the past several years and $11,500 in revenue is expected, according to the 2012-13 budget. According to Mainsail’s website, it has 50 boat slips available for lease on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

        Petruff told the commissioners the revocation process would not impact the dock lease.

        Commissioner David Zaccagnino polled commissioners and announced there was a consensus to proceed. He also directed Petruff to draft an ordinance enacting site-plan expiration dates.

        Currently, there is no expiration date for site plans under Holmes Beach codes.

        Petruff said, “The codes that I’m familiar with have something that says a preliminary site plan is valid for three years unless you get your a final site plan approved within that time frame.

        A final site plan is usually valid for two or three years, she said, adding that most codes have some sort of staged deadlines for building completion.

        Petruff said extensions are possible under certain circumstances. The county, state and Southwest Florida Water Management District have allowed extensions due to the economic downturn, she said.

        The open-ended site plans have been criticized by commission candidate Judy Holmes Titsworth and others. When Titsworth announced her candidacy in June, she called for an end to such plans as the one for the failed Tidemark Lodge development.

        “About eight months ago, I told the mayor my concerns,” said Titsworth when she announced her platform. “The mayor said they’d look into it.”

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