Sept. 2 set as date for Planning Commission to conduct public hearing on Kompothecras’ proposed hotel and parking garage on Siesta Key

Project team provides more details about plans

This is a rendering of the front of the proposed hotel on Old Stickney Point Road. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Dr. Gary Kompothecras’ seven-story, 120-room hotel proposed for Old Stickney Point Road will be the first of four hotel projects planned for Siesta Key to be considered by the Sarasota County Planning Commission, The Sarasota News Leader learned this week.

A report that the county’s Planning and Development Services staff issued on June 28 shows a Sept. 2 hearing date for Kompothecras’ application for the hotel, along with his plans for a five-story parking garage that would stand between Stickney Point Road and Old Stickney Point Road.

Kompothecras was the first of the four developers to submit his plans to county staff. His team filed the preliminary materials in May 2020 and then submitted updated documents on May 4, county records show.

Along with the building plans, Kompothecras’ team originally filed for a county Comprehensive Plan amendment and an amendment to the county’s Unified Development Code, which contains all of the county land-use and zoning regulations.

In response to News Leader questions this week, Michele Norton, assistant director of Planning and Development, wrote in a June 28 email that, on May 27, county staff received a letter from the project team saying that it was withdrawing the Comprehensive Plan amendment petition.

That amendment pertained to county Future Land Use Policy 2.9.1, regarding intensity and density of future development on the barrier islands. The amendment would have applied only to lands located south of Stickney Point Road — in what Kompothecras calls the “South Bridge Area” — that are zoned Commercial General and Commercial Intensive. The proposed amendment said, “[S]uch lands may be redeveloped to contain transient accommodations which exceed the density restrictions of the zoning regulations existing as of [March 13, 1989] without violating this policy.”

“Transient accommodations” is the county term for hotel and motel rooms.

In a June 14 response to the May 27 letter from Kompothecras’ attorney — Charles D. Bailey III of the Williams Parker firm in Sarasota — Todd G. Dary, manager of the county’s Planning Services Division, wrote, “The withdrawal of the privately initiated petition is based on written analysis you provided during the sufficiency review [by staff] that demonstrates that the proposed commercial use of CG/SKOD zoned property was consistent with Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Policy 1.3.1. [“SKOD” refers to the Siesta Key Overlay District zoning regulations.] Specifically, the proposal could be allowed by right, or special exception,” Dary added, “based on existing codes, as well as codes that were in existence in 1989 as specified in Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Policy 2.9.1. Staff has reviewed the analysis and agrees with the premise and finding as the impetus of your withdrawal.”

This is Future Land Use Policy 1.3.1. Image courtesy Sarasota County
This is county Future Land Use Policy 2.9.1. Image courtesy Sarasota County

The proposed Unified Development Code amendment that Kompothecras’ team has submitted says that no hotel room within a Commercial General (CG) zone in the Siesta Key Overlay District could have a kitchen and that each room without a kitchen would be calculated as one-quarter dwelling unit. Finally, that amendment calls for no more than 120 rooms in an individual transient accommodation.

In the CG zones, a hotel room without a kitchen counts as one-half a dwelling unit. The maximum number of hotel rooms without kitchens per acre is 26. The site of Kompothecras’ hotel comprises 1.17 acres, according to the original application.

In light of Siesta Key residents’ opposition to Kompothecras’ projects, the News Leaderalso asked Planning and Development staff this week whether any consideration would be given to scheduling the County Commission public hearing on the proposals on a day without other agenda items.

Michele Norton. Image from her LinkedIn account

Assistant Planning and Development Director Norton responded, “As with any public hearing of this nature, the county will be reviewing meeting logistics considerations to facilitate the public input. It is likely that a dedicated hearing will be scheduled but nothing definitive at this time.”

She added, “Planning staff and Commission Services are currently coordinating the logistics and dates of the hotel hearings.”

Commission Services is the county division that handles a variety of responsibilities for the County Commission, just as its name indicates.

Issues addressed in the May 4 documents

In the updated project materials submitted to the county on May 4, another member of the team, Robert “Bo” Medred of Genesis Planning and Development in Bradenton, addressed a number of county staff requests for extra details about the project.

Among those, the Planning Division sought updated information about the ownership of the property slated for the hotel on Old Stickney Point Road.

A page in those materials lists Kompothecras and his wife, Beth, as equal partners in the two limited liability companies listed as the owners of the site: 1260 INC LLC and Stickney Storage LLC.

More details about the planned street setbacks also were included.

This is the Development Concept Plan for the hotel included in the updated application submitted to the county. Image courtesy Sarasota County

County staff had noted that a street yard setback within the Siesta Key Overlay District zoning regulations “may be reduced to 2 [feet] if approved by the County Commission for buildings exceeding 35 [feet in height] as part of the Special Exception approval.” However, staff continued, it appeared that the ramp guests would use to reach the second level of the hotel “does not meet the required 20 [foot] street yard setback …”

Medred responded, “The ramp to the elevated porte cochere entry on the 2nd floor of the hotel is the only portion [of] the hotel structure that is within the required [25-foot] street yard setback on Old Stickney Point Road. This ramp,” Medred added, “is less than 35 feet in height and would not need special approval if it were not connected to the main structure of the hotel that is 83 [feet] in height.”

Kompothecras was the person who advocated for a change in the SKOD to allow for a 2-foot street setback. Although island residents filled the County Commission Chambers in April 2018, to protest that proposal when the hearing was conducted on it, the commissioners voted 3-2 to approve the change. Then-Chair Nancy Detert and Commissioner Charles Hines cast the “No” votes. Commissioner Alan Maio — who then represented all of Siesta Key — joined Commissioners Michael Moran and Paul Caragiulo in supporting the proposal.

Dr. Gary Kompothecras addresses the County Commission on April 11, 2018. File photo

During that hearing, with Kompothecras’ representatives months earlier having talked of his plans for a hotel on the southern part of the Key, Kompothecras also addressed the commissioners: “I assure you it will not be an 85-foot building 2 feet from the front that these people have been lying to you about.”

Moreover, Medred wrote in the updated application materials, the 83-foot portion of the hotel “does not encroach into the required [25-foot] street yard setback requirement.” He further noted that the design of the porte cochere and the proposed hotel structure meets the conditions of the applicable section of the Unified Development Code.

“Roof elements which provide an articulated roof line have been added to the hotel structure for enhanced street appeal,” he continued. “Hardscape improvements that provide seating areas will be added to both of the street frontages.”

The hotel’s northern boundary would be Peacock Road.

Additionally, Medred pointed out, “The height of the hotel structure is compatible and comparable in height with the adjacent Marina Del Sol Condominium which was approved for a height of approximately 78 [feet] by Special Exception. The Anchorage Condominium to the north of the proposed hotel (essentially, across Stickney Point Road) is approximately 94 [feet] in height as well.”

Medred further noted that a 6-foot street buffer is shown on the Development Concept Plan “for the frontages on Old Stickney Point Road and Peacock Road. This buffer will be planted to meet or exceed the 10% opacity requirement. Additionally, the wall parallel to Old Stickney Point Road will be articulated for aesthetics purposes and will be placed to rear of the required [6-foot] local street buffer.”

This is a rendering showing the entry to the hotel from Old Stickney Point Road. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Medred also wrote that a 15-foot-wide landscape buffer with 60% opacity would abut the Sabal Lake condominium complex “with the required wall feature.”

Further, he noted that the hotel would meet the required building setback from Peacock Road “in the context of the building setbacks being measured using the example of a tiered ‘wedding cake’ for illustration. The portion of the hotel structure that is less than 35 feet in height meets the 25 feet building setback from Peacock Road.” The portion of the hotel that exceeds 35 feet in height would be set back at least 25 feet, as required in the Unified Development Code.