The meeting time and subject had been advertised. The signs had been posted around the neighborhood. The neighbors showed up to give testimony. The Planning Board was in session and the meeting was called to order.
The first order of business concerned a proposed change to the Planned Unit Development which involved the Olde Marco Inn. At a meeting with neighbors earlier in December, the owners of that property proposed a major renovation to that development, which involved the addition of a 4-story structure over parking for a 41-room hotel wing.
That proposed change would take the place of the 20,000 feet of rental stores and art galleries in the Olde Marco development off Palm Street. In addition to those changes, the Leebee Fish Restaurant and the small breakfast/lunch cafe would be removed to make room for the new hotel/condo wing.
All were prepared, except for the petitioner. Only the petitioner’s planner was there in addition to approximately 75 neighbors of the property. When the Chairman of the Board asked him if he was prepared to proceed, Robert Mulhere, V.P. of Hole Montes for Planning and Development said he wasn’t; “I’ve told my client we wouldn’t be proceeding today and would need more time and he wouldn’t have to be here today.”
“We held a neighborhood meeting back in December and have not had the opportunity to address the issues that were brought up at that meeting. We ae going to need more time to accomplish that,’ said Mulhere.
Some residents who attended that informational meeting in December were concerned about traffic, parking and the impact on the neighborhood. Others from Villa De Marco East were concerned how the newly proposed hotel/condo wing would impact their quality of life and the impact on the historic nature of the site.
Several neighborhood owners came forward at the Planning Board meeting to voice their concerns that this would drag on into a time of the year when owners would no longer be here. They were opposed therefore to continuing the hearing and would be in favor of proceeding with the hearing.
Mulhere would come back and explain that it may take until February 1 or even longer to address all the questions that were brought up at the neighborhood meeting, therefore not guaranteeing it would be taken up in either February or March but believed they would come forward by March.
Several residents came forward to voice their concerns regarding the loss of the unique nature of the Olde Marco area if density would continue to be allowed to increase in their area.
This would cause board member Ed Issler to respond to those comments by simply saying; “Do you all understand what the Snook Inn recently sold for? Do you think they bought it because it was such a thriving restaurant? That’s all I wanted to say,” commented Issler.
In the end the board would vote 4-2 to continue the hearing. It was unclear whether it would be held as part of the February agenda or later in March. Only board members Goldstein and Rola voted against the extension.
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