TREASURE ISLAND — Caddy's owner Tony Amico may have withdrawn his application for commercial zoning, but he has not given up on finding a legal way to continue operating an off-site valet parking lot for his customers.
He told the City Commission during a special hearing Tuesday night that he plans to file a new rezoning application — this time for RFM-30, or Resort Facilities Medium.
Parking lots are currently allowed in RFM-30 only as an accessory use to a business on the same property.
That may soon change, if the commission accepts a pending recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Board, sitting as the city's Local Planning Agency, to allow stand-alone commercial parking lots in most zoning districts.
For the past three months, the Local Planning Agency has debated possible changes to the city's parking and parking lot regulations, including off-site commercial parking lots.
Currently, the city's code does not allow off-site or stand-alone parking lots as either permitted or special exception uses.
At its June 9 meeting, the Local Planning Agency voted to endorse allowing stand-alone parking lots in most zoning districts in the city. The board split, however, on whether such lots would be a permitted or special exception use in the RFM-30 zoning district.
The planners are scheduled to meet Aug. 4 to review their changes to the city's zoning codes. Once the panel completes its review, the proposed revisions will be considered by the City Commission.
The Caddy's lot at 8701 W Gulf Blvd., the former site of a 1950s motel, was granted a temporary permit years ago that has expired.
Amico's property is bounded on the east by Harrell Avenue and lies across the street from and just south of the beachfront Caddy's bar and restaurant. The lot faces residential properties to the east and west.
The property is zoned RM-15, a residential district that would allow up to a two-story, four-unit residential structure with a maximum height of 35 feet above base flood elevation.
Commercial rezoning would have allowed a wide range of uses, including a convenience store, retail, offices, restaurant, church, hotel or motel, parking garage, gas station, private club or adult entertainment.
Permitted or special exception uses in RFM-30 include hotels, motels, residential, group or community residential homes, parks and public recreation, rental agency, office, convenience store or restaurant.
"I will wait for the new (parking) regulations to come out," Amico said at the close of the commission hearing Tuesday. "If it allows it (off-site commercial parking), I will apply. If it doesn't, I won't."
Zoning of any kind that allows a parking lot near Caddy's will draw opposition.
Over the past few years, the behavior of some of the beachgoers at and near Caddy's has angered and frustrated Sunset Beach homeowners.
The city restricted public parking there on weekends and holidays, banned kegs on the beach, and increased law enforcement in an attempt to alleviate resident complaints.
"This (rezoning) will affect the whole island. We don't want to be bullied. We can vote you out of office," resident Michael Gary warned at the Tuesday meeting.
Commissioner Phil Collins called for a compromise involving a special exception to park no more than 20 cars on the lot.
"It would get cars off the road on busy days," Collins said.