LETTER TO THE EDITOR / Preserving Paradise: The Battle for Residential Integrity

By Gregory Lloyd

Are we to become an island awash in transient rentals or a community that preserves its residential neighborhoods and the quality of life that accompanies them? That is the question that will be essentially posed to our City Commissioners when they consider the re-zoning of 3.3 acres adjacent to the Casa Marina, from workforce housing/residential into a tourist commercial zone.

If granted, it would allow for scooter rentals, bars and restaurants and permits as a “matter of right” transient rentals.

Since the City Commission cannot place conditions on a re-zoning request once passed these investors and future owners will not be bound by current plans or promises. You can fully expect additional drastic changes to be made as to size and scale, especially if their proposal to privatize William Street is approved.

The Casa investors (which recently completed a $90 million renovation of their hotel) make the disingenuous argument that they need this transient zoning to make it “financially feasible” to provide dormitory housing for some of their 350 employees, yet they abandoned already existing 25 employee apartments on this acreage, as well as, converted 16 deed restricted units into office spaces and a day spa.

Granting this request would set a bad precedent, allowing other hotels to expand their footprints into other residential neighborhoods. It benefits these well-heeled investors and no one else.  Directly or indirectly, this impacts us all. Silence is acceptance. Please show up and let your voices be heard on May 9th at City Hall.
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