Cabana Club Hearing Re-scheduled to January 26
by Bill Lopez
The proposed Cabana Club will be a 38-room high-end hotel resort at 1590 Gulf Boulevard as an extension of the Belleair Biltmore resort that is slated for a complete face-lift starting in June.
CLEARWATER - A hearing concerning approval to build the new Cabana Club on Sand Key that was postponed in December is now set for Monday, January 26, at 9 a.m. at Clearwater City Hall in the Council Chambers on the third floor.
Attorneys for neighborhood opposition groups and developers of the proposed Cabana Club will argue their cases in front of Administrative Hearing Judge Alexander. Attorneys representing the City Development Board that ruled in favor of Cabana Club code deviations will also defend the Development Board's decision that was rendered.
Issues, including parking, traffic, zoning and code deviations, spurred opposition to the project by Sand Key residents in September when plans for the $25-million Cabana Club were announced.
These call for a proposed 38-room high-end hotel resort at 1590 Gulf Boulevard as an extension of the Belleair Biltmore resort that is slated for a complete face lift starting in June. If the project overcomes another legal challenge, it will shut down the present Biltmore Resort on June 1 when some of the present structures will be demolished. The resort will reopen in January of 2012 and celebrate 115 years of service as a premier resort destination in the Tampa Bay Area.
Save Our Neighborhood (SON), a community action group formed earlier this year to fight the building of the new Cabana Club on Sand Key, appealed a decision of the Clearwater Planning Department to allow several building code derivations that would permit construction of the project.
SON gained the support of The Clearwater Beach Association (CBA) and the Sand Key Civic Association (SKCA) and received a donation from the two groups to aid in its legal battle against Legg Mason, owners of the Belleview Biltmore who seek to build the Cabana Club.
SON representatives and Sand Key residents are against the project because they feel it is not in keeping with the residential character of the neighborhood and would diminish the ocean views of existing properties adjacent to the site and would create traffic and parking problems.
They take issue with the Planning Commission's September 16 approval of code deviations that includes a reduction to the required lot width from 200 to 88.41 feet; a reduction to the front (east) setback from 25 to five feet (to pavement); a reduction to the side (north) setback from 10 to zero feet (to building); a reduction to the rear (west) setback from the Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) from 20 to zero feet; allowance of proposed temporary cabanas up to 25 feet west of the CCCL and an increase to building height from 25 to 67 feet; a reduction to the front (east) perimeter buffer from 15 to five feet (to pavement), a reduction to the side (north) perimeter buffer from 10 to zero feet (to building and pavement) and a reduction to the width of interior landscape islands from eight to 4.6 feet inside curbing, as a Comprehensive Landscape Program.
SON has consistently opposed the granting of code variances except for safety or ecological reasons citing a reduction in quality of life and the environment that results from such variances.
Jerry Murphy, president of the CBA said, "it is high time we align ourselves towards reasonable standards and put ‘Flexibility’ in its proper place.” He added that CBA members hope the city understands that CBA is making this donation because it objects to abuses of associated with code deviations."
Cynthia Remley, a spokesperson for SON expressed her appreciation for CBA’s generous donation and stated that unsolicited donations have also been received from mainland residents who wish to preserve the character of the San Key neighborhood.
Contact Bill Lopez at email@example.com
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