February 11, 2010
Last year at this time we were faced with the spectre of a massive project on what is still called the “old Bernstein” property the old Island Village plan on the North side of Seaway Drive including Mangrove Matties that expired. Rumor had it that they would propose twin 85 foot towers hovering over the Beach. Thankfully, no such project has come forth so we can relax for now. At least the demolishment process has made the property more attractive and no longer an eyesore. Because it has been cleared, do not think that the City owns the property – it is far too expensive and is still in private and bank hands.
Also, last year at this time the City Commission was to consider a Conditional Use application by the City to build a parking lot at 309 and 311 South Ocean Drive in the R4A residential zone. It didn’t happen. We did voice our objection to this project before the Commission.
One new site plan was passed this year. It is called Kiwi Condos on the North side of Seaway Drive. It is a 6 unit, Key West style project. We expected construction to start this summer. But, there have been a few problems, some not of the developer’s making, but now we see progress on the lot. Yea! It looks to be a fine addition to the Beach. The developer has been cooperative and will live in one of the purportedly presold units. As required by City policy, whenever a NEW project is built along a waterway, the developer is required to deed a right of way for public access to the water view. In this case the project is along the inlet and the developer has deeded a 15 foot right of way and will build a walkway on the North side of the property.
A project approved last year, the Deeken Plaza Motel, on part of the corner at Seaway Drive and South Ocean Drive has been extended for 12 months so they can submit a major amendment to the plan. This is conditioned on their deeding a small right of way to the City within 60 days from January 4, 2010. This has been a troublesome project. It remains to be seen as to whether or not it will move ahead. We have suggested that the two owners of the entire property at that corner get together and plan a comprehensive project on this prime piece of property across from the new Jetty Park on the roundabout.
And finally, the Land Development Rewrite – LDR –is nearing completed draft status. It will go to public workshops, then the Planning Board and then to Public Hearings before the City Commission. This is a massive project – basically rewriting all the codes and provisions for building anything within the City. Let me give you one small example of how the LDR could affect you. Currently, there are no regulations regarding the building of communication towers within the City – not even any restrictions within residential zones. The rewrite will correct this omission. Do you want a tower in your residential area? Be assured that we will follow the entire LDR process very carefully – particularly to protect the provisions of the South Beach Overlay and our quality of life and property values. Depending on what occurs from Draft to Final Product, there may an occasion when we ask you to rally to support, or not support certain provisions. Guess I have put everyone on notice.
We expect, as the economy strengthens and the A1A project concludes, that there will be much more activity in the development of properties on the Island.