Monday, February 20, 2017

Developer Wisely Withdraws Davis Shores Hotel Proposal -- Another Victory For Local Citizen-Activists

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew inundating much of Davis Shores, speculator-developer BRIAN GREINER, has wisely withdrawn his proposal for a 50 room hotel to replace a 30 unit condominium for which approval has already been granted.  GREINER is a flipper and former waiter involved in a controversial 2005 residential annexation -- likely to be the last-ever in St. Augustine due to Fifteenth Amendment concerns I expressed at April 9 & 23, 2005 City Commission meetings.

(Photo credit: St. Augustine Record)

Capt. Lee Geanuleas, U.S.N. (Ret.) comments on the St. Augustine Record article (below):

Kind of funny that the developer describes the proposed 50 room hotel with bar and restaurant as "less intense" than the currently approved plan for 30 condos. Does that make sense to anyone?
One other thing; when the developer says things like this about the proposed hotel's restaurant, "that would just be for breakfast for hotel guests." please recall that the developer who built the new full-service restaurant on the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Ave and Bridge ST once told the city that it would be a small "breakfast and lunch place" for the neighborhood.
Lesson learned: We should always evaluate these developments not by what the developer says (even under oath), regardless of how "nice" a guy or gal they are, but by what the maximum allowed use is by code.…/rezoning-davis-shores-hotel-projec…
Here's the full article for those who cannot get to the Record online:
"Rezoning for Davis Shores hotel project withdrawn; future for the site is unclear
St. Augustine Record
February 9, 2017

Plans for a 50-room hotel and a marina in Davis Shores along Salt Run have been put on hold, but the property is headed toward development in some form.
As neighbors received notice of the rezoning application Comares Avenue parcels, opposition arose and the rezoning application was withdrawn from the Planning and Zoning Board’s Tuesday agenda.
“We took a step back to try to get some community involvement in the process, so we were going to host some workshops with the community and decide which is the best path forward,” said Bryan Greiner, who applied for the rezoning for 1723 Comares, the property owner.
The proposed rezoning is from Residential General-One to Residential General-Two, which would allow for the hotel as a use by exception — the planning board hears zoning exception applications. The project also calls for a 15-slip marina and bulkhead on Salt Run.
Full public access to waterways was promised in the application. Height limits are 35 feet in both categories. While a restaurant is mentioned in the plans, Greiner said that would just be for breakfast for hotel guests.
The rezoning effort was another attempt at developing the property. The Planning and Zoning Board had already approved a proposed 30-condo unit development, a 30-slip dock and a proposed bulkhead for the site, according to application materials.
Plans for the first 15 units of the condo project were moving ahead as of July 2016.
“Due to market shifts in demand and [the developer’s] objective to provide a high-class, economically viable project for both the applicant and the historic city, [the developer] found that a similar-type use, yet in the form of a high-class, boutique hotel, was the better option for development for all parties,” according to a city document.
The hotel project seemed to be a better, and less intense, fit for the neighborhood, according to Greiner and application materials.
While it’s not clear when, or if, the hotel project will be resurrected, Greiner said the site will be developed. “We have a lot of flexibility as to what we can put there,” he said.
The city’s report on the application noted some issues with the proposal, including lack of information on building height and other details to clarify impacts on conservation areas. Also the proposed marina didn’t have plans for a pump-out facility as required in the city’s Comprehensive Plan.
The city sent 60 notices about the rezoning. Of those returned, nine people opposed the project and one person supported it.
Opposition included the project’s potential to increase traffic and congestion in the area, and lessen the residential feel of the neighborhood.
Susan Rathbone, a Davis Shores resident, said she started an online petition against the project on that has drawn more than 100 supporters. “We want it to remain what it’s currently zoned and not increase zoning, which is what he’s asking for,” she said.
Under the property’s current zoning, motels and hotels with up to 30 units are allowed as a use by exception, as well as restaurants or bars with a maximum of three seats per hotel or motel unit, according to City Code. Marinas are also allowed.
Rathbone said the neighborhood has already been impacted by increased traffic and the Conch House Marina Resort. “The big issue is … all the cut-through traffic through our neighborhood,” she said."

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