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Treasure Island set to debate parking rules again

TREASURE ISLAND — New rules regulating commercial, temporary and special-event parking lots will again be debated at 6 p.m. Tuesday by the city's Planning and Zoning Board.

Since the beginning of the year, the City Commission and the planning board met separately and jointly to debate new parking lot rules without resolution.

Particularly at issue is whether temporary parking lots for special events should be allowed in residential districts.

At its most recent meeting, planning board members also debated at length whether businesses or commercial events should be allowed to charge for parking, but they reached no conclusions.

Proposed parking rules have proved controversial and even led to the resignation of longtime Planning and Zoning Board chairman Heidi Horak.

She had criticized the City Commission for what she saw as its failure to back her board's recommendations.

The commission did accept most of those recommendations, but balked at a proposal to allow temporary parking lots, especially for special events, in residential zoning districts.

The proposed rules could have the greatest effect on Caddy's restaurant and bar.

Sunset Beach residents originally hoped that off-site parking lots owned and used by Caddy's would become illegal under the new rules, resulting in fewer people crowding their beach.

Caddy's has seven off-site properties that provide about 200 spaces for patron and valet parking.

Last year some residents unsuccessfully sued the city, claiming that failure to enforce parking lot rules encouraged rowdy beachgoers to come to Sunset Beach.

It's not clear whether feelings against Caddy's parking lots remain so strong.

The number of beachgoers dropped sharply in recent weeks after the city's weekend alcohol ban on the public beach took effect.

Proposed parking lot rules also deal with standalone lots, off-site lots, shared parking lots, remote lots and accessory lots.

Each type of parking lot may be allowed in some zoning districts, but not in others.

Developers of the Rice Family-owned property on Sunshine Beach at the north end of the city are hoping new regulations won't interfere with plans for the proposed Rock House Grille and Cabanas, as well as with future redevelopment of the 9-acre site.

The planning board also was scheduled to again review the latest iteration of the Rock House project this week, but architect Jack Bodziak has asked that the discussion be delayed until July.

Bodziak, noting that area residents are concerned about safe access to the project from Gulf Boulevard, said in a letter to the city that he has so far been unable to meet with state Department of Transportation officials to discuss alternative plans.

Treasure Island set to debate parking rules again 06/11/11 [Last modified: Saturday, June 11, 2011 5:31am]
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