REDINGTON SHORES – A plan to install a 10-unit condominium on the property where the historic Redington Pier once stood has failed after the Town Commission voted to deny a land use change that was necessary for the project to move forward.
The dilapidated pier was demolished by the state as a safety hazard a year ago.
Use of the property, along with the pier and parking lot, has been classified as recreational / open space for 40 years. An ordinance that would have changed that to allow residential development was unanimously rejected by the commission at its May 12 meeting. A supplemental ordinance that would have allowed the rezoning of the property from outdoor recreation / open public space to medium / high density multi-residential was declared moot by the city attorney after the commission rejected the change land use.
No site plan was submitted for the condo project, and this was a factor in the commission’s decision.
The action means the pier property at 17490 Gulf Boulevard may only be used for recreation or green space, at least for now.
The Planning and Zoning Commission had previously, in a split decision, voted 3-2 in favor of the land-use change, but unanimously rejected the rezoning of the property.
Tony Antonius, who bought the property in 2000, requested land use change and rezoning to allow for condo development. This is the second proposed project for the pier property, whose location facing the gulf makes it a prime candidate for redevelopment.
In October 2019, local real estate investors Ben Mallah and Tony Utegaard presented a plan for a hotel and restaurant on the property that included the preservation of part of the pier. This proposal was rejected by the Municipal Commission after several residents objected.
Before deciding not to change the land use of the jetty property, the panel heard from a representative of owner Antonius and planning consultant Dave Healey.
Healey had recommended approval of the land use and zoning change. He said the jetty had been removed “and to date no known action has been taken to replace it”.
“The wharf is gone,” Healey told the commission. What there is today, he said, “is a paved parking lot that is closed.” He said the permitted uses of the property with the existing recreation zoning are very limited, suggesting something like a swim club or miniature golf as possibilities.
The 10-unit, 4-story condominium proposal is consistent with what’s around the Pier property, Healey said.
“The proposed reclassification would allow for consistent and compatible land use plan and zoning map designations,” Healey said in the conclusion of his report to the commission.
Todd Pressman, representing Antonius, said the pier property is “very, very small” and that the proposed 10-unit condo building is what would be more appropriate, “consistent with what is found in the two. sides of the property, which is located in a high risk coastal area. We’re asking for the same zoning as on both sides of the property, ”Pressman said, and these buildings are“ taller and have more density than we’re asking for ”.
If the condo project were approved, Pressman said, it would create 18 acres of similarly zoned property along the west side of Gulf Boulevard.
Additionally, Pressman said the density was limited to 10 units, “a most appropriate use for the site.” He also said Antonius “is not interested in any bonus units” that might be made available under zoning regulations. Asked by Commissioner Cinda Krouk about the environmental impact of condo development, Pressman said environmental reviews showed the impact to be “extremely minimal.”
Commissioner Jennie Blackburn was troubled by the idea that “now that the wharf is gone, there is nothing wrong” with changing the zoning. “So if I was the owner, all I would have to do is let the pier fall into disrepair, where it had to be demolished, then it’s, ‘Now I have to develop this and do my big one. salary.’ ‘
The loss of green space is a big concern
By rejecting the land use change necessary for the condo building proposal to go ahead, commission members and residents who spoke on the topic were more concerned about green space than the city. would lose if the land use / zoning were changed to allow residential development. .
“I don’t see how anyone in Redington Shores is benefiting from it,” Blackburn said. The property “is a recreational / open space. It’s zoned like that. Keep it as a recreation area / open space. Blackburn also said compatibility with surrounding properties is not a sufficient reason to change land use or zoning.
Krouk said the ownership of the pier was “a little gem, private property”.
“A rare gem of open space is so important. Every time we make a change, we build and build, impact after impact, ”said Krouk.
Pressman replied, “It is not for a private owner to provide park space. If you wanted to keep this space (as green space), the city would have to buy it. “
Resident Robert Pergolizzi, representing Angler’s Cove Condos next to the Pier property, said, “We love open spaces and would like the property to remain open space.” But he added, “The condominium council voted to take a neutral stance on this, neither for nor against rezoning.”
Sharon Dippel, resident of the condo, said a grant was available and the city should try to secure and buy the property.
“Green space is necessary, another condo is not,” said Dippel. She also asked why no site plan had been submitted for the project.
Resident Jennifer Beasley said, “It’s important to have an open space.”
Resident Christina Warren said she and her family come to the wharf often.
“It was sad to see the pier collapsing,” she said. “The idea of another condominium is even sadder. Warren said she would like to see the property “become any type of open space”.
Planning council president Lisa Foster said she was “opposed to this land use change. Say no and look for other options for this property. “
Following comments from residents, Commissioner Michael Robinson said: “I find it absolutely unacceptable to contemplate this without a site plan or a development plan. He’s dead as far as I’m concerned.
The commission voted 5-0 to reject any land use change for the jetty ownership.
Commission rejects county gas tax plan
The commissioners left no doubt their opposition to a county plan for an interlocal deal that would add an additional 5 cents to the fuel tax. The proceeds would go 60 percent to the county and 40 percent to municipalities based on population.
“I think this is absolutely ridiculous, and I would suggest that the mayor submit a letter to the county informing them that we do not agree with this,” Robinson said.
“I can’t imagine a worse time for this,” said Mayor MaryBeth Henderson.
“It’s absolutely inappropriate at the moment. Inflation is already on the rise. Adding this tax does nothing for Redington Shores, ”said Robinson.
Commissioner Bill Krajewski added: “Besides the fact that the price of gas is skyrocketing.”
Lawyer James Denhardt said county administrator Barry Burton in a recent presentation said that for the interlocal agreement to take effect, it would require the support of 51% of municipalities based on population. .