March 20 Neighborhood Workshop planned on revival of plans for Kompothecras’ hotel on Old Stickney Point Road on Siesta Key

Event to be conducted via Zoom

This is a view of the hotel planned on Old Stickney Point Road, looking southwest from the intersection of Peacock Road and Old Stickney Point Road. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Siesta Key businessman Dr. Gary Kompothecras has revived plans for his seven-story, 120-room hotel at the intersection of Old Stickney Point Road and Peacock Road, in the southern commercial district of the barrier island.

Kompothecras’ representatives have scheduled the county-required Neighborhood Workshop on those plans for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20, the application says. It will be conducted via Zoom, the county Planning Division webpages show.

This is the link to information about the event, provided through the Sarasota County Planning and Development Services Department calendar.

The preliminary application for the hotel, which was filed in October 2023 with county staff, points out that no changes have been made in the project details that won County Commission approval on a 4-1 vote on Nov. 2, 2021.

Numerous organizations on Siesta Key have been opposed to the initiative, contending that it is incompatible with existing businesses in that commercial district and that it will lead to further damage to a wetlands area in the vicinity of the site.

Residents countywide also implored the commissioners not to allow the construction of the hotel.

Susan Schoettle, who lives in the eastern part of the county and who has been a land-use attorney for more than 30 years — including a stint with the Office of the County Attorney — told the commissioners during the November 2021 hearing, “This is not a beauty contest.” Reading from Section 124-43 of the Unified Development Code (UDC), she said, “The application shall include information necessary to demonstrate that the grant of Special Exception will promote the public health, safety and welfare, be in harmony with the general intent and purpose of this UDC, will not be injurious to the neighborhood or to adjoining properties, or otherwise detrimental to the public welfare.”

“It’s the applicant’s duty to prove this, to document it, to demonstrate it,” Schoettle emphasized. “And I believe that in this case, the applicant has failed in that.”

Dr. Gary Kompothecras’ team presented this slide to the county commissioners on Nov. 2, 2021, showing how the 83-foot hotel would be compatible with nearby buildings. The star on the left shows the hotel site, while the star to the right of it shows the property where the parking garage has been planned. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Conversely, Kompothecras’ representatives showed the county commissioners a variety of slides during the 2021 hearing, depicting high-rise condominiums that stand along the Gulf of Mexico, west of the hotel site. They also talked of plans to beautify Old Stickney Point Road and make it more walkable.

Prior to the board vote on the application, Commissioner Michael Moran said, “I do feel that I represent a large portion of the residents and taxpayers of Sarasota County — not just District 1; all of Sarasota County.”

People who live in the unincorporated areas of the county, he pointed out, have family members, friends and business associates who like to come to the area to visit. “Frankly, some of them are surprised and even shocked,” Moran continued, “that the No. 1 beach in the country just lacks a luxury hotel presence.”

Referencing the comments about the compatibility criteria, Moran added, “I think we’re well within our findings of fact and authority to [approve the application].”

The hotel would stand on two parcels, which are located at 1260 and 1266 Old Stickney Point Road, the March 20 workshop application notes. Together, they make up approximately 1.17 acres.

The lower level of the hotel will have 58 parking spaces, with the remainder needed to meet county regulations — 74 — provided in a five-story parking garage that has been planned at 1237 Stickney Point Road.

Once again Special Exception approval will be sought to increase the height of the hotel from the 35-foot maximum allowed in the Siesta Key Overlay District (SKOD) zoning regulations for the property to no more than 83 feet. Additionally, Kompothecras needs Special Exception approval to construct “transient accommodations” — the county term for hotel and motel rooms — on the site, which is zoned Commercial General.

The application points out that the parcel located at 1260 Old Stickney Point Road “previously contained a building that housed a series of restaurants and bars then sat vacant until it was demolished in approximately 2016. (The popular Fandango’s restaurant was one of those businesses, long-time island residents have noted.)

This is the binding development concept plan for Dr. Gary Kompothecras’ hotel planned for Old Stickney Point Road. Image courtesy Sarasota County

On the 1266 Old Stickney Point Road property, a self-storage facility stood until it was demolished around 2011, the application continues. That site has been used for years as a commercial parking lot, the application adds.

The workshop application explains that the County Commission also approved the parking garage during the Nov. 2, 2021 hearing, so that structure can be built without the need for another series of public hearings.

The plans for the hotel are predicated upon the ultimate approval of a series of proposed amendments to the county’s Comprehensive Plan, which guides growth in the community. As The Sarasota News Leader has pointed out, Philip DiMaria, a planner with the Kimley-Horn consulting firm in Sarasota, has been serving as the representative of Benderson Development Co., which proposed the amendments last year as part of its efforts to construct an 85-foot-tall hotel on Ocean Boulevard in the place of two retails plazas in Siesta Key Village.

The Neighborhood Workshop application for the Kompothecras hotel was submitted to the county by Joe Medred of Genesis Planning and Development in Sarasota. The principal of that firm — and Joe Medred’s father — is Robert “Bo” Medred, who long has served as an agent for Kompothecras in regard to land development initiatives.

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