BELLEAIR — The Town Commission voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve a new zoning category that would allow a developer to build 10 residential units per acre on the site of the former Belleview Biltmore hotel and get a height bonus under certain conditions. A second and final vote is scheduled for April 15.
However, commissioners delayed a planned final vote on a change to the town's development rules that would reduce the minimum acreage required for hotels from 20 acres to 17.5 after learning that a Belleair resident has sued the city over the issue.
Rae Claire Johnson, president of Friends of the Belleview Biltmore Inc., wants a judge to throw out the commission's preliminary vote on the issue in February. The neighboring Belleair Country Club wants to buy 2.3 acres of the Belleview Biltmore property for parking, but that would reduce the remaining Biltmore parcel to less than 18 acres, violating the current minimum acreage requirement.
Johnson claims the town committed procedural errors in its February vote — a claim the town denies — but officials decided to delay the final vote on the acreage issue until the commission's next meeting.