Friday, June 09, 2017

Fraudulent Parking Estimate by KANTI PATEL for MARRIOTT RENAISSANCE/SAN MARCO Hotel?

Watch City Commission Monday night, June 12, 2017: Capt. Lee Geanuleas, U.S.N. (Ret.) has skewered the false and fraudulent parking estimates of hotelier KANTI PATEL.  The estimated number of cars for a 5000 square foot ballroom is understated by a factor of 75%.

Greed requires liars and lawyers and bumptious bureaucrats to get its way in the Oldest City.

Greedy developer KANTI PATEL's  oleaginous "team" and its phony math was blessed by blissfully vapid Planning and Building Director DAVID DOUGLAS BIRCHIM, who has never had another employer other than the City of St. Augustine since 1997, when he received a Master's Degree  in Urban Planning from the University of Tennessee.   (UT joke: Q: What's the difference between Neyland Stadium and a porcupine?  A: Neyland Stadium has 100,000 pricks on the outside.)

Arachnid apparatchik DAVID DOUGLAS BIRCHIM, holder of an expired real estate sales license, is a snooty reactionary rubberstamp for developers, as proven by his huckster sales job at the last City Commission meeting.  He once complained to me about my seeking accountability and transparency: "You keep chipping away!"  He still won't put developer applications on the City's website.  Color him colorless, compromised and utterly unwilling to take a stand against dishonest destructive developers.

Here's Lee Geanuleas' unpacking of the porcine justification for destroying HP-5 with a too-big hotel:

Following up on what appears to be an incredibly bad estimate of the occupancy for the San Marco Hotel ballroom, the picture below is a screen shot from the website
The picture shows the very simple two-step process for determining how many people a room of a given size can accommodate.
While acknowledging that this website cannot replace the very careful and detailed calculations that will be done by the Fire Marshall, it does give a "ball park" number for what a nearly 5,000 sqft ballroom can handle.
The thing that strikes me is how close (499) is to the number that we calculated based on the Casa Monica's ballroom reception occupancy (495).
Yet, on April 4, 2017 our city staff told the PZB on the record that they estimated the San Marco ballroom occupancy at 124 people.
Late April Fool's joke?

Happy Saturday! 
Adding to the MESS that was the city staff's presentation to the PZB on April 4th is this. 
The picture below shows the architect's drawing for the San Marco Hotel's restaurant and bar. You'll note the architect included the seating for each room. If you add them up you get 105 total seats. This drawing has been on file with the city's Planning & Building Office since May 13, 2016 (see "received" stamp on second picture below). 
If the city had this information for almost a year, then why did staff tell the PZB that for the purposes of calculating the hotel's required parking the hotel restaurant sat 50? 
Even more puzzling, earlier at the very same hearing the applicant's representative told the PZB that the restaurant and bar sat 130 (!!). Then staff uses 50 as the basis of their calculations! 
So now we know, that in the case of BOTH the hotel's ballroom and its restaurant/bar space we see the City Planning & Building Office, ON THE RECORD, significantly understating occupancy which then drives the required parking space number WAY DOWN. 
This is more than just an "academic exercise" because the misinformation provided to the PZB (the city's legally designated planning authority) could have affected the outcome of the vote. Instead of 4-2 against the rezoning it could have been 5-0 or 4-1. Would a unanimous disapproval of the parking PUD rezoning by the PZB affected how the Commission handled the appeal?
And don't forget, at the appeal hearing the applicant's lawyer made a BIG DEAL about the fact that the PZB chairman questioned the city's calculation of required parking in order to convince the Commission to overturn the PZB's denial. How dare the chairman question the experts??!! Turns out the PZB chairman had every reason to question the numbers presented to the PZB. 
Glad someone's paying attention! 
See how bad information can cascade through a very critical planning process? What our city staff presents as "fact" to our legal planning authority really, really matters. 
Garbage in - Garbage out?

No comments: