The general manager of Der Dutchman Restaurant says he still hopes to see construction underway by late summer
The acquisition of another parcel for a proposed hotel project next to the Der Dutchman Restaurant in Pinecraft has delayed the start of necessary rezoning initiatives, The Sarasota News Leader has learned.
Another required neighborhood meeting was set for Thursday, March 17, to present the hotel plans to the owners of land around the new piece of property, as well as other residents in the affected area, Jeff Miller, general manager of Der Dutchman Restaurant, told the News Leader in a March 15 telephone interview.
Pre-application materials submitted to Sarasota County on Nov. 20, 2015 by Dutchman Hospitality Group of Walnut Creek, Ohio, proposed a 103-room, four-story hotel in Pinecraft, the Amish and Mennonite community in the vicinity of Beneva Road and Bahia Vista Street. The original goal was for construction of the facility to begin this summer and take about 12 to 13 months, Miller said in a December interview. On March 15, he expressed optimism that work could get underway late this summer. “We’re still trying.”
The hotel has been envisioned as a facility with ambience that would be more welcoming to Amish and Mennonite guests, Miller explained in December.
A Feb. 29 letter from Joel J. Freedman, of Freedman Consulting & Development in Sarasota, to Tate Taylor, the county’s planning services manager, says Dutchman Hospitality Group recently placed the additional property under contract with hope that it would be incorporated into the project. The 87,120-square-foot parcel is located at 1029 Herndon Place, next to the Der Dutchman Restaurant site. It will need to be rezoned from Residential Combination (RC) to Residential Single-Family (RSF) 3, along with the other parcels planned for the hotel project, the letter says, and it will need to have a special exception granted so it can be used for stormwater management, like the other RSF-3 parcels, the letter adds.
According to records filed with the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office, the Herndon Place land is owned by Edna M. Bernier, trustee, of Sarasota. In 2015, the property was valued at $129,000. A two-bedroom house with 1,079 square feet of living area stands on it, along with a detached carport, a detached garage, a shed and a utility building. The record shows that the house, which was built in 1945, was valued at $31,000 in 2015.
As was the case with the earlier neighborhood workshop, Freedman continues in his Feb. 29 letter, the one on March 17 was to include information about the plans to use the northernmost portions of the hotel site for stormwater management and parking, “since the hotel building would be located more central to the property.”
During the March 15 telephone interview, Miller pointed out that it appears Dutchman Hospitality “will have to invest in stormwater heavily” to make the project feasible.
Freedman also notes in his letter that the hotel will be 57 feet tall, so a special exception will be necessary for the additional height because of the zoning.
“The existing restaurant and retail buildings on the property will remain and continue operation,” Freedman notes. “Some reworking of the parking areas around these existing buildings will be required and will be consistent with the zoning code regulations.”
Miller told the News Leader on March 15 that the developer is undertaking an internal study of the traffic situation for the site “to make sure we have the proper flow.”