Holmes Beach commissioners discussed July 9 the need to schedule a special meeting in order to garner a firm position for the city’s two representatives to take to the mediation table with the Mainsail development team following a progressive June 21 first round of negotiations.
That special meeting was never scheduled. However, listed on the July 23 city meeting agenda is a presentation of the updated Mainsail concept plan for the development project at what is considered to be the city’s center at the intersection of Gulf and Marina drives.
The June 21 mediation was launched following a March vote where commissioners revoked the Mainsail site plan citing too many code and setback violations among other issues.
Commissioners Marvin Grossman, Judy Titsworth and Pat Morton voted to revoke the site plan while Commissioner David Zaccagnino and Commission Chair Jean Peelen supported giving Mainsail more time to work with city staff.
Mainsail president Joe Collier and Mainsail investor Ed Chiles said they never expected commissioners to take action in March during what was an anticipated initial presentation to show how the development company was working with city staff to move in a positive direction toward eventual commission approval.
Sarasota attorney Robert Lincoln then filed a petition for relief with the city in April seeking a reversal, which eventually led to the June 21 mediation where the two sides appeared to make progress to avoid litigation.
Mainsail was expected to present an amended concept plan to commissioners July 9 that would include concessions made during mediation.
Among those changes were an elimination of at least one building and a reduction in residential units.
Commissioners were again divided in their opinions when the site plan was not presented July 9, as had been promised.
Mayor Carmel Monti, who supports continuing to work with Mainsail, defended Mainsail’s failed presentation, saying two key people to the city’s input were on vacation.
The Mainsail presentation now will take place at the meeting that begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive.
In other matters, commissioners have discussed options for how to garner funding for infrastructure needs from either the Manatee County Tourist Development Council or from its source of funding, the resort tax, through the Manatee County Board of Commissioners.
The 5 percent resort tax is collected by the Manatee County Tax Collector’s Office on accommodation rentals of less than six months.
Some city officials are blaming increased needs and costs for infrastructure on increased tourism. However, Florida statutes prohibit the TDC from expending bed tax funds on infrastructure projects unless they are tourism-related.
Officials have called it an unfortunate cycle where bed tax dollars are raised through tourism to create more tourism, while creating more pressure on the cities on the beach and their local infrastructure.
Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, will address commissioners at the July 23 meeting. According to the agenda, the discussion will be related to TDC funding.
Also on the agenda, commissioners are expected to have initial discussion on establishing a millage rate for the 2013-14 proposed budget and schedule a first public hearing.
The proposed budget had not been announced as of press time for The Islander, although commissioners have participated in individual briefings on the spending plan.