A model of the Mainsail project sits in the office trailer at the mostly abandoned development site. The marina docks are home to several charter boats. Islander File Photo
Attorney Robert Lincoln, representing the Mainsail development group, filed a petition of relief April 18 with the city of Holmes Beach.
The petition outlines the history of the Mainsail development plans at 5325 Marina Drive, which originally included a restaurant, banquet room, meeting rooms, 40 lodging units and 75 boat slips.
The petition recalls prior resolutions and ordinances that were passed to accommodate the development plan prior to Mainsail’s purchase of the property. The original development, Tidemark Lodge, went into bankruptcy.
Such petitions are typically filed with the court, however, in this event, the action was sent directly to the city and city commissioners.
Mayor Carmel Monti said April 22, “I am aware of it, but have not had time to review it yet.”
Prior to Mainsail purchasing the property, Lincoln writes that city attorney Patricia Petruff was consulted to confirm that the existing site plan Mainsail was inheriting with the purchase was in compliance with city ordinances.
“Petitioner purchased the property in reasonable reliance on these legal and proper determinations by the authorized city staff,” Lincoln wrote. “Since purchasing the property, petitioner has extended funds on dredging the marina basin, installing boat lifts and constructing or repairing sea walls, and also on developing revised building plans that contemplate constructing buildings on the existing foundations/piers as approved in the site plan.”
On March 26, Holmes Beach commissioners voted 3-2 to revoke the site plan based on significant changes made to the original plan approved for Tidemark.
The city previously asked Mainsail to work with city staff to update the plan and review the changes made, while retaining the Tidemark site plan in order for the that previously approved site plan to remain valid.
Mainsail presented its plan to the city, which was then questioned and denied.
Among other issues, Commissioner Marvin Grossman singled out what he determined was a lack of required parking.
Mainsail developer Joe Collier returned in April to ask the commission to rescind its revocation, but no such action took place despite legal implications outlined by Collier in a letter to the city following the commission’s March 26 vote to revoke.
Lincoln writes that the effect of that vote has left Mainsail unable to obtain building permits to proceed with work already authorized by the city.
The attorney claims more than $1 million has been spent on foundations, design drawings and engineering and the commission’s vote “deprived petitioner of its vested right to construct and then operate the onshore lodging units, lodge and restaurant consistent with the amended site plan and special exception.”
Lincoln claims the city’s action was taken without authority from its own LDC.
“Enforcement of the LDC lies with the mayor and building official, not the city commission,” Lincoln writes. “The enforcement mechanism for violations of site plan conditions is reference to code enforcement, not revocation.”
Lincoln accuses the commissioners of not following procedures required by the LDC to amend the special exception, saying special exceptions are approved by resolution and can only be denied through a resolution.
“Any major modification to a special exception must be through the same procedures that apply to the initial approval of that special exception,” he wrote. “Those procedures require an application, complete staff review and the adoption of another resolution.”
Lincoln states that no such resolution was prepared or approved by vote of the commission.
He concludes, “For these reasons, the action of the city commission to revoke the site plan was unreasonable and unfairly burdens” the Mainsail development group.
There was no response to phone calls from The Islander to the attorney representing Mainsail.