Little Harbor Request Denied and Goes to Final Vote

Well, it seems that the residents in and around the development at Little Harbor had some impact on the ruling board that night as it appears that a Denial is being urged by the zoning commission.  Here is an excerpt from the Tampa Bay Online news: “RUSKIN – A zoning hearing officer is recommending denial of Little Harbor’s request to convert 450 residential units at its Bahia Beach resort into hotel units.

The proposal, which drew heavy opposition from residents at a public hearing last month, now goes to the county commission for a final hearing and vote on Feb. 26.

Little Harbor’s parent company, Earthmark, is seeking the additional hotel units because of the current housing market.

Under existing county land codes, owners of residential units are not allowed to rent them out for periods of a week or less. Under the proposal, owners of the condominiums and town homes would be allowed daily rentals of their units.

At the public hearing, Little Harbor representative Michael Brooks said traffic would not be increased because of the additional hotel units. Hearing officer Laura Belflower said in her recommendation to the county commission that “an argument that traffic generation will be less is not sufficient.”

She also said the daily rental of residential units could negatively impact the existing residents and property owners.

Also, even though the project was approved under vested rights, that is, it was approved prior to the land development code, there was no documentation from Little Harbor as to how that vesting would be affected by the conversion of residential units to hotel units, the officer said.

Because the development is vested, it is not required to meet current standards for development issues such as setbacks, traffic and environmental regulations. The change to commercial could make at least portions of the development subject to the code, the officer said.

Resident John Keith, who spoke at the hearing to oppose the change, said he was surprised by the hearing officer’s recommendation.

“I’m surprised because not ever, to my knowledge, has any development along Shell Point Road been turned down.””

I will try to get back to the meeting on the 26th to see first hand what the outcome will be…but I may be hard pressed to make it, as that is my birthday and not sure what those around me have in store…

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~ by ToughGuy on February 18, 2008.

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