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Palmetto Hotel Deal Dead for Now


PALMETTO – Palmetto Commissioners denied an application for what would have been the city's first hotel on Monday night, an upscale 100-room project proposed on land in the Riviera Dunes neighborhood.

Venice developer Harry Walia had hoped to build a Hyatt Hotel, but was denied 4-1 (Commissioner Smith dissenting), over concerns that the project was not compatible with the proposed area.

This September, commissioners unanimously approved a first reading of the proposed project. Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant and CRA Director Jeff Burton have both voiced support for the project.

Commissioners Johnathan Davis, Tambra Varnadore, Tamara Cornwell and Brian Williams voted to deny the project, while Commissioner Charles Smith supported it, failing to get a second for his earlier motion to approve the project.

In an October 21 meeting, commissioners voted to continue the proposal, hoping the developer and residents could come to terms. However, once again residents packed the chambers to  complain that there was not enough parking, views would be obstructed and property values lowered by the proposed project.

Misty Servia, Planning Department Manager for King Engineering, was hired by the city to evaluate the DRI and the project's compatibility with the property. Servia said, the property could possibly support the project, but that was just one of many things to consider.

Hugh McGuire asked, "How can you vote on this? There is a dispute over who is going to put the road in."

Ed Bartel said, "It violates 'open-space' code requirements."

Willian Zwich added, "There is a conflict in Map H, from the Tampa Printing Council. It says there can be stores or offices built there, but a hotel, it says not."

Dr. Gino Sedillo (owner of three of the closest surrounding properties to the proposed site) said, "I have invested in these properties and I want to see something real nice there. I put my money where my mouth is." 

Sedillo was reported to have offered one of his larger properties up for sale to build the hotel on, though for considerably more money.


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