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Holmes Beach commission seeks Mainsail update

By Kathy Prucnell, Islander Reporter

There were more questions than answers for Holmes Beach commissioners Dec.11 on the future of the proposed Mainsail Anna Maria Lodge at the corner of Marina and Gulf drives.

        Earlier in the day, Mainsail Lodging and Development president Joe Collier and two others showed Mayor Carmel Monti, Commissioner Judy Titsworth and the city building staff a site plan for a 120-seat restaurant, bar and lodging complex of 20 buildings, including 31 townhomes and nine hotel units at 5325 Marina Drive. The project also includes a marina that has operated for several years, with the city leasing a portion of the docks to Mainsail.

        In 2001, the commission approved the proposal for the property known as Tidemark Lodge, when Carlingford Development Company was the developer.

        It was linked to a commercial zoning change, with special exceptions and conditions, including 111 parking spaces, lodging limited to transient guests of no more than 120 days and an Old Florida architectural style. The Tidemark property was sold after a bankruptcy in 2004 and, according to county records, is now owned by Mainsail AMI Marina LLLP of Tampa and George Glaser of Bradenton.

        Commission Chair Jean Peelen said the ownership has changed numerous times.

        Peelen and Commissioner David Zaccagnino said Mainsail should have made a presentation before the commission. Zaccagnino asked whether Mainsail knew it needed to be briefed with their plans, and was responsible for approving any site plan changes.

        Monti said he wasn’t sure the current developer knew the politics of the city. He said he agreed to Collier’s staff visit to discern the developer’s intentions, although the developer advised he was unable to make the commission meeting.

        “Frankly I’m glad they didn’t waste the city council’s time because it was not a very meaningful meeting,” Monti said, referring to the city commission and adding there are complicated site-plan expiration issues the city needs to fully understand.

        Later in the meeting, Titsworth reported Mainsail representatives showed the group a site plan, but not floor plans. They want to move slowly, building-by-building as units sell, she said. Titsworth questioned how that would work with a resort community.

        The city’s 2001 resolution approving the development tied the site plan to elevations, special exceptions and parking requirements, and there’s no longer a valid lease for parking with the bank, she added.

        Commissioner Marvin Grossman said he is “very concerned” about the parking.

        Titsworth said she had a “ton of questions” Mainsail representatives weren’t prepared to answer, but they offered to make a future presentation to the commission. She asked Monti to make sure that happens.

        While she hoped the city could work with Mainsail, she said if the commission is not satisfied, she favored moving to revoke or amend the site plan.

        Building inspector David Greene said he expected to be working with the old site plan’s footings, foundation, building location, height and design.

        At the staff meeting, city officials asked for Mainsail’s civil design plans and a current schedule of proposed construction, he said.

        The developer’s most recent project schedule called for a Nov. 1 “start date” for site cleanup as well as for site and civil designs plans for two buildings, and set Nov. 26 and Dec. 15 for architectural designs and Dec. 1 for permit submission and review.

        None of these items have been submitted, according to city building officials.

        After the meeting in a phone interview, Collier said Mainsail would be revising the project schedule. He blamed the recent change in the city building department staff for delays, but said he was “ready to march forward.”

        “We’re spending money for engineers and architects and pre-development sales and marketing,” he added.

        He expected construction to begin in the first quarter of 2013.

        A Nov. 27 meeting had been set for the Mainsail presentation before the commission, but the city rescheduled the meeting to Nov. 20. Monti said two dates for a commission presentation had been canceled by the developer.

        Collier said he’s waiting to hear back from the city staff to arrange a meeting after the holiday “so their architect and project manager can walk through the sequencing,” and then, he said, Mainsail will be ready to submit for permits.

        He said he did not know anything about the city commission wanting a presentation.

        In September, then-Mayor Rich Bohnenberger asked the commission to begin a revocation process for the project, calling it an abandoned construction site, and commissioners agreed.

        City officials then said the sales trailer permit expired and the condition of the site amounted to a code violation.

        In October, the developer told Bohnenberger Mainsail intended to kick start the project, and if need be, defend its right to the entitlements with litigation.

        The commission agreed to back off revocation proceedings, and instead called for sunset provisions for future site plans.

        Those provisions were on the Dec. 11 agenda, and commissioners unanimously approved them as an amendment to the land development code.

        City attorney Patricia Petruff said developers will now be required to show “reasonable continuous progress” and clarifies current requirements for site plan expiration.

        The amendment also requires:

        • A building permit applied for within 90 days of site-plan approval, with a one-time 90-day extension.

        • Additional extensions approved by the commission.

        • If an active permit is not maintained, the site plan will be voided.

        • Site plan shall expire three years after the date of the site plan unless decided otherwise by the commission.

        Giving an example of the new law, she said, “It doesn’t allow someone to get a building permit for an underground sewer connection, and that be the only permit they would receive for five years.”

        Petruff added, however that for the amendment to make sense, additional proposed LDC changes — adopting the state building code as required by the state’s Emergency Management Division — were needed. She said she’d left with the city’s building department for review a couple months ago, and they were never returned and added to the code.

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