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Mainsail Lodge steps to plate, city gives nod

By Merab-Michal Favorite, Islander Reporter

How does Holmes Beach spell relief?

Planners for the vacant land in the older commercial area at Marina and Gulf drives came to the plate with concessions that made their development more palatable.

And the developers and others at the Feb. 25 Holmes Beach city meeting showed signs of relief when commissioners finally approved a settlement agreement with Mainsail Lodging and Development of Tampa.

The commission finally ironed out the details after more than a decade of proposals for the project on the land that once held the island’s landmark Pete Reynard’s Yacht Club Restaurant.

“Guys, I think we’ve got it, we’ve got an agreement.” Lance Spotts, a resident of the 5300 block of Sunrise Lane adjacent to the project, told commissioners. “I think both parties have worked out all the kinks.”

Spotts was one of two residents on Sunrise Lane, a private road, who threatened to sue the city if it allowed the developer access to the lane that is deeded to the property owners.

Spotts said he’s “spent more time at the podium than at the local watering hole.” However, he said he had signed the agreement, had it notarized and mailed it off.

The other resident threatening a lawsuit, Dan Howe, also of the 5300 block of Sunrise Lane, did not attend the Feb 25 meeting, although he also is expected to sign off on the agreement, according to Spotts.

The commission unanimously approved the agreement with little discussion shortly after hearing Spotts speak.

Mainsail president Joe Collier had sought to use Sunrise Lane as an emergency access, but instead met with members of the West Manatee Fire Rescue District and re-arranged the development to accommodate a WMFR fire-rescue vehicle.

Commission Chair Judy Titsworth said a firetruck turnaround, which was proposed at a Feb. 11 meeting, had been changed to a “wide fire lane” in the site plan. She said WMFR Chief Andy Price preferred the wider lane to the turnaround.

The project now includes three buildings of multi-bedroom guest apartments, a 50-slip marina and a restaurant. The resort also will feature space for meetings, a gift shop, a business center and a workout facility. Two of the three structures will have parking under two stories of living space. The third building will have a restaurant on the first floor and two floors of living space.

Mainsail now has 90 days to submit a site-plan application, according to a staff report.

Brian Check, Mainsail Lodge architect, said he would get to work.

Commissioner Pat Morton concluded the Mainsail discussion, saying, “When this all started out there was a lot of tension between our commissioners, and a lot of things were said. But when everyone stays together and keeps working, we finally get an end product that is really cooperative and that everyone is really pleased with.”

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