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Mainsail-Holmes Beach settlement agreement delayed — again

By Mark Young, Islander Reporter

At a June 2013 mediation meeting, special magistrate Steven Seibert, center, helps guide a team of Holmes Beach representatives, left, and the Mainsail development team, right, toward an eventual resolution. Islander File Photo: Mark Young

More delays, more questions, more concerns. Mainsail Lodge appears to mired in more delays.

It appeared in December that the Holmes Beach City Commission was close to finalizing a settlement agreement with the Mainsail Lodge development team that would pave the way for a new site plan submission for lodging and restaurant facilities near the intersection of Gulf and Marina drives.

City attorney Patricia Petruff reminded commissioners of the changes they agreed to in December and presented an updated draft of a settlement agreement.

“At some point, it’s appropriate for you to make a decision and have something tendered to the applicant on what your final offer is for settlement,” said Petruff.

But the majority of the commission that voted to revoke Mainsail’s site plan in March continued to find issues with the agreement at their Jan. 14 city commission meeting.

Commission Chair Judy Titsworth said a new conceptual site plan shows a significant increase in the width of one of the buildings that was not part of the mediation terms that took place in June and September 2013 — an action launched by Mainsail as a prerequisite to litigation following the commission’s site plan revocation.

Commissioner Marvin Grossman said Mainsail needs to clarify for what purposes the space would be used, but building official Tom O’Brien said the reconfiguration is still within the city’s legal requirements.

“I have a concern with this whole discussion,” said O’Brien. “There is nothing in our code that would prohibit this configuration. It’s typical of almost every building on Gulf Drive.”

Titsworth said that would be true if the configuration did not encroach on a setback, which, she said, this does.

Titsworth said it was an issue that needed clarification at the next meeting and moved on to language that states there can be no residential structures within 50 feet of Lance Spotts’ property on Sunrise Lane.

Titsworth said that language opens the door to build a tiki bar if the developer wants, and asked the language be changed to “no structures” from “no residential structures.”

Commissioner David Zaccagnino said that language would mean a buffer wall between the development and a residential neighbor — required by the settlement — could not be constructed. Petruff suggested “no structures except for the 6-foot buffering wall,” which seemed to gain a consensus.

Grossman said he’s concerned with one of the buildings that encroaches on the peninsula that juts into the canal. He wanted a stipulation put in the agreement that the developer will do everything possible to maximize the view of the bay from Marina Drive.

Zaccagnino said it appeared his fellow commissioners may be inviting litigation by asking for more concessions.

“It seems to me that at every meeting, we are adding more and more demands. I think the percentages of (Mainsail) agreeing gets less and less and then we’ll get the litigation,” which, he said, is what “none of us wants.”

Grossman said he was making a suggestion, not a demand and, regardless, the Mainsail project has to be handled with due diligence.

“This is something we will have to live with for the rest of Holmes Beach’s life,” he said.

Mayor Carmel Monti also spoke up on the commission’s intent at this point.

“I’m getting mixed signals on whether or not we want to kick the can down the street and get a settlement agreement,” he said. “I’ve heard from the other side and they are OK with the agreement. If we aren’t, then what specifically are the issues?”

The primary issue that stalled progress was the expansion of one of the buildings and how it impacted parking and traffic flow not agreed to during mediation, according to Titsworth.

Until that is clarified, she said there was not an exact number to put into the agreement.

No further action was taken by the commission.

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