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Treasure Island proposal isn't what developer hoped for

TREASURE ISLAND — A major goal of a proposed planned development ordinance was to provide flexibility for developers of large projects.

But at least one large landowner along the city's northern boundary, who has been following the six-month vetting by the local planning agency, doesn't think the ordinance offers enough incentives.

The north end planned development zoning district that the proposal establishes would keep current building heights and density standards and would require a voter referendum for buildings higher than five stories and more than 50 units per acre.

An original incentive that would allow developers to gain points for using elements like green building, energy-efficient appliances and outdoor space like a plaza or courtyard has been dropped, said city planner Paula Cohen.

"Several residential areas like Key Capri Condos would be impacted on the north end because of its proximity," Cohen said. "So the local planning agency removed the credits. They felt it opened up too much opportunity."

The ordinance isn't what Greenleaf Capital, the real estate arm of HCI Holdings, was hoping for. The company is considering plans to develop its property at John's Pass, which includes 8.4 acres on the east side and 2.2 acres on the west side along with parcels that are less than an acre.

Brent Von Horn, assistant general counsel for Greenleaf, said, "It's been a long, frustrating process, but I suppose any property owner would feel the same way."

He and others from Greenleaf have been attending the local planning agency meetings for six months.

"We've been asking ourselves each step of the way whether it is worth us developing the property," he said. "This district doesn't provide any incentives at all."

To build a $100 million to $150 million high-end resort, Von Horn said more density and height are needed to make it financially feasible. Conceptual plans had a 14-story and a 10-story building on the property.

"We are also comparing current zoning to see what we could be doing now without needing to go through the process of a planned development, but we've made no decisions one way or the other," he said.

Yet Cohen and City Manager Reid Silverboard say the city is sensitive to the impact a large development would have on residents.

"The big concern for the north end development is the impact it is going to have for use, traffic generation and those types of things on the surrounding properties," Silverboard said.

"The proposed ordinance provides flexibility so that a developer can come before the city and present a project that makes sense and is deemed to be in the developer's and the city's interest," he said.

Within the north end planned development district, a mixture of land uses, building designs and arrangement of buildings on the site is allowed, Silverboard pointed out.

But Von Horn said "putting a fence around the property and waiting for the market to change is very much an option. People are convinced about what we are going to do, but it's funny because we don't know what we are going to do."

Another ordinance that would set up a planned development district in the downtown central beach area will be up next for consideration. That district might allow the incentives or credits that have been taken out of the ordinance for the north end, Cohen said.

"We realized there were different dynamics going on in the two locations," she said.

Treasure Island proposal isn't what developer hoped for 01/09/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 10, 2014 4:43pm]
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