Tourist Zoning for Sand Key --- A Bad Idea
Some 400 Sand Key residents attended a recent Community Development Board meeting to protest Tourist zoning for Sand Key. Twice that number of signed petitions affirming the protest were presented at the meeting. For some reason, the Board had only six members present resulting in a split vote on whether the CDB recommends Tourist zoning to the City Council. Consequently, the meeting was extended to March 18 for a final vote, the results of which will be referred to the City Council at its March 20 meeting.
We recognize the City is looking for new ways to generate tax revenue. We applaud the City`s encouragement of new hotel rooms on Clearwater Beach, already a tourist destination. We just discovered on the agenda for that same March 20 meeting, the City Council and Mayor will vote on allowing the Marriott and Sheraton hotels on Sand Key to increase the number of hotel rooms on the north end of the island from the current 610 to 3000 or FIVE TIMES! Sand Key is not a tourist destination now and we urge our City officials to respect our residents' determination to keep it that way.
We bought our home on Sand Key because of the residential nature of this community, complete with our quaint but convenient retail component, the Shoppes on Sand Key. We`d like to maintain the residential nature of our community along with thousands of our neighbors. The Shoppes have provided the entire Sand Key community with amenities that will be lost if tourist zoning is approved. Along with that loss will be greatly increased traffic, construction congestion, decreased property values and much increased beach noise.
We respectfully ask the City Council to work with our residents to produce a Neighborhood Community Overlay District for Sand Key. This was done successfully for Island Estates and the Coachman Ridge Neighborhood Plan. It can be done for Sand Key and thereby preserve the residential nature of our community. After all, Sand Key residents generate, through payment of property taxes in excess of 17% of the City`s budget. Let`s not lose sight of that!
- Jim and Jane Strenski, Sand Key (Clearwater).
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