Hearing in Clearwater Reviews Zoning of Shoppes on Sand Key
Residents resist tourist designation that would permit large hotel construction
By Bill Lopez
CLEARWATER - Sand Key residents take issue with a recent attempt to rezone the Shoppes of Sand Key from "commercial" to "tourist". This would allow large hotel construction instead of the limited commercial development presently on Sand Key.
Legal arguments by attorneys for the Shoppes of Sand Key, the City of Clearwater and homeowners on Sand Key presented before a panel of three circuit court judges last week at the Pinellas County Courthouse revealed differing views of the zoning question.
The three circuit court judge panel was comprised of Judge George W. Greer, Judge John A. Schaefer and Judge George M. Jirotka. Nancy S. Paikoff, legal counsel for the Shoppes on Sand Key, Leslie Dougal-Sides, legal counsel for the City of Clearwater and Alan S. Zimmet, legal counsel for the Homeowner associations for The Grande, Meridian and Landmark Towers 1 and 2 offered arguments on behalf of their clients.
Participants argued the merits of Clearwater City Council’s denial of the application to zone the Shoppes commercial. Ms. Paikoff argued it should be overturned because the only zoning category in the Clearwater Development Code was tourist and the Shoppes property met the requirements of the tourist zone. Ms. Dougal-Sides and Mr. Zimmet argued the decision should be affirmed because the Comprehensive Land Use Plan allowed for commercial zoning. They indicated the property failed to meet the requirements outlined in the CDC for tourist zoning and that the property has been the only retail commercial property on the island.
They also observed that the property is abutted by residential condominiums on both south and west side and water on east side. The hearing was filled with Sand Key residents wearing SOS stickers in support of keeping the Shoppes zoned commercial. The judges stated they would take the matter under advisement and would issue a ruling in due course.
Sand Key has been the subject of zoning change by the City of Clearwater and developers who want to transform it from a residential community to a tourist destination. Save Our Shoppes advocacy group was formed to resist the change. The group's intent was to discourage the potential construction of a ten-story hotel on the Shoppes property.
However, the owner of the Shoppes has appealed to pursue the tourist designation. In February, the City of Clearwater announced its intention to increase the number of hotel rooms allowed from 50 rooms per acre to a maximum of 110 rooms per acre for the entire city including Sand Key. This was resisted by many residents who asked the city council to exempt Sand Key from the hotel density increase because of Sand Key’s residential nature. The city council denied the request, but agreed to exempt properties that are zoned commercial from the hotel room increase.
- Contact Bill Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org
Return to Current Edition