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Date of Issue: April 27, 2006

Boatel project again deferred in Bradenton Beach

More questions resulted in a further delay before a decision on a proposed boatel on the south side of the Bradenton Beach Marina, just south of the Cortez Bridge.

Members of the city's planning and zoning board are now expected to make a decision on whether or not to recommend to the city commission approval or rejection of a 12-unit boat-oriented motel at 208 and 201 Bay Drive on May 30. The board's decision will then go to the city commission for final determination.

Marina owner Allan Bazzy has requested the boatel, or a "hotel for boaters" to encompass 67,644 square feet with parking on the first level and units above. The site currently is used for marina parking.

Bazzy has said that the boatel would provide an economic incentive to the other businesses in the area, drawing visitors and tourists to the Bridge Street area. "It will change things from a boat parking lot to a boat resort," he said.

However, planners requested a review of historic documents on both the marina and the proposed boatel site, including any stipulations placed on the approvals. They also requested a density computation on the lots, further review of traffic plans for ingress and egress to the boatel, and studies on sound barriers and drainage on the site.

The planners' questions arose after several residents voiced concerns about the project.

"It's a dust bowl," neighbor Rosemary George said of the parking lots' shell surface.

"You're saying there's no problem with traffic," said neighbor Frank Banyas, "but I don't know how many times Church Avenue is completely blocked with boats and trailers."

"There would be a significant intensification of use in an area already in distress," said resident Laurence Adams. "Twelve units seems like a hell of a lot on two lots."

Planning board member Jo Ann Meilner said that the boatel units "look like condo units. If they do sell as that, then what?" She also had questions on density and the placement of "residential" units on commercial property.

The matter will be revisited by planners at 5 p.m. May 30.