Saturday, July 08, 2017

Reject Feckless MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL Franchisee KANTI PATEL's Hotel Hell in HP-5 at San Marco & West Castillo

Good column by Pam Linder, adding to facts in prior columns by PZB member Susan Agresta and Capt. Lee Geanuleas, U.S.N. (Ret). on St. Augustine Public Nuisance Number 1: Proposed San Marco Hotel (if it does not have underground parking as the current Planned Unit Development law requires).

St. Augustine's historic district is in peril due to one willful man's greed and four City Commissioners' speed. Enough flummery, dupery and nincompoopery in the Oldest City from the franchisee of multinational oligopolist MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC. (NASDAQ & Chicago Exchange "MAR"), whose dodgy, faithless, feckless franchisee threatens to destroy our historic district with too much hotel, too little parking, and a broken legal commitment to provide underground parking (which four unwise City Commissioners voted for in deference to the generous contributor but faithless franchisee. Dissenting was Mayor Nancy Shaver, who held a fair hearing -- the problem is her colleagues, who don't enforce our Comprehensive Plan and turn deaf ears to zoning law enforcement concerns. It's not over, folks. Monday, July 10, 2017, come speak against the rezoning.  Enough greedy businessmen ruining the historic character of Our Nation's Oldest City.

Sun, 07/09/2017 - 00:02
Pam Linder GUEST COLUMN: It’s Patel’s hotel, but it’s my neighborhood
Posted July 9, 2017 12:02 am
GUEST COLUMN: It’s Patel’s hotel, but it’s my neighborhood

Editor: So much is going on in my neighborhood. One writer believed a parking lot was no big deal. Obviously, he doesn’t live in my neighborhood.

What is Patel asking for? He owns five hotels in town already. He originally asked for a boutique hotel with underground valet parking and he was granted an exception to the Historic Preservation Code for that. I do not understand why. Why bother to have codes if you are not going to follow them?

Now Patel wants to expand his hotel and build a parking lot because the underground lot is too expensive. He will not go bankrupt following the rules. If he doesn’t want to do it anymore, maybe he could show stewardship and build St. Augustine a real nice park instead. Our commissioners need to show the wealthiest of our citizenry that history, neighborhoods and families are what matter in our town.

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t improve things. Bicycles and small shops were here before cars. A little forethought could have put the trees along San Marco a little closer to the curbs (and they can still be moved). This would giver room for bicycle lanes between the pedestrians and the cars.

And then we could improve the parking on San Marco by removing the parallel parking and putting in slant parking on the west side of the road. This would add parking places and make their use friendly instead of slow and difficult.

Let’s save our historic neighborhoods. The next one to go might be yours. We don’t need another study. Let’s just use a little common sense, fiscal responsibility and compassionate, progressive conservatism.

Pam Linder

St. Augustine

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