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Date of Issue: April 22, 2009

Coleman wants discussion for specific location

Anna Maria resident and developer Mike Coleman agrees with the public and the city commission that no more motels should be allowed in the city.

Coleman expressed his views at the commission’s April 9 meeting, where the issue of amending the city’s ordinance to allow motels in the commercial district drew a large number of opponents, but no one who favored the idea.

“The answer, obviously, is no,” said Coleman.

But Coleman believes the April 9 discussion should have been about a precise location of undeveloped land for a tourist accommodation rather than a general discussion about motels for the commercial district.

Specifically, Coleman would like the commission to discuss whether the six lots on the northwest corner of Pine Avenue and Bay Boulevard would make a good location for a guesthouse or tourist accommodation.

“That’s what the conversation should be about,” he said.

Coleman’s view of a motel is that it’s not the same as a tourist accommodation, which is allowed, including in residential districts. According to figures supplied by several real estate companies that manage Island rental properties, the city has more than 250 tourist accommodation units, which can be rented on a nightly basis.

At the commission’s Jan. 8 meeting, Coleman brought up the idea of a guest accommodation at the Pine Avenue-Bay Boulevard location.

But there is no formal application to develop the property and Commission Chairman John Quam said the commission could not discuss any speculative project.Following the April 9 commission meeting, Coleman sent a letter to Mayor Fran Barford and Quam suggesting that the question for a future commission agenda should be:

“Assuming there is a framework available within the existing comp plan, is a ‘Tourist Accommodations District’ or special district an appropriate use for the six lots at Pine and Northbay (sic)?”

If the commission resolves that this is an appropriate use for the six lots, “the smaller questions as to road map to implementation and code compliance can be answered at the expense of any qualified applicant who may come forward,” Coleman said.

Coleman’s company, Pine Avenue Restoration LLC, has been working with the owners of the six lots to determine the best use of the property.

His Jan. 8 presentation to the commission was for a 24-unit guesthouse that would not allow nightly rentals or other typical motel amenities. The minimum stay would be one week, Coleman said.

“Nobody wants motels in the retail-office-residential district,” he said.

“The question is, should these six lots remain vacant, become a tourist accommodation, or be converted to six single-family homes?” Coleman said.

Put another way, the commission needs to determine if that location is viable for a tourist accommodation.

“Once the commission decides that question, we’ll know what to do,” Coleman said.

Quam, however, said Coleman’s idea is not on any future commission agenda.

“A commissioner would have to request that it be on the agenda,” he said.

At the commission’s April 23 meeting, one agenda item is to formally authorize Mayor Fran Barford to request the planning and zoning board to determine a definition for motels/hotels and what type of rental unit will be allowed in the city.

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