BELLEAIR — The Belleair Town Commission voted 4-1 Tuesday night to create a new zoning district a developer could apply for if he or she wanted to raze the historic Belleview Biltmore Resort & Spa and build condos or townhomes in its place.
Current zoning on the Biltmore site allows only for a hotel or single-family homes.
The new zoning option, RM-10, offers more flexibility and height than the town's two existing multifamily residential zoning designations. It allows up to 10 units per acre —- a density between the other two zoning categories — and the potential for building heights up to 80 feet if the developer incorporates certain incentives like enclosed parking.
Only Commissioner Stephen Fowler voted no, saying he preferred the next presentation on the agenda: A mixed-use zoning option that would encourage preservation of at least a piece of the Biltmore to be used as a boutique hotel, along with a restaurant, event space and perhaps a residential component.
Commissioners subsequently also gave staff the okay to research the densities, incentives and other specifics that should be included in the ordinance.
In response to critics, town officials said both zoning options are simply "another tool in our toolbox" and doesn't preclude a preservationist from attempting to negotiate a purchase deal with hotel owners.