By ABBEY KUNKLE
Special to the PRESS
The SPI Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) met last week for their regular monthly meeting. The committee did their part by bringing up fire safety concerns regarding a proposed special development plan at the Courtyard by Marriott
First on the agenda, the committee held a public hearing regarding the Special Development Plan for the Courtyard by Marriot with no public comments. City staff determined that the original building proposal would be encroaching onto the beach, so the applicant revised and returned the plan. Major modifications from the Form Based Code included a deviation from setback requirements as well as a request for the parking lot to be in the front of the building, which is similar to other buildings in the area, such as the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center.
Based on staff recommendation, this item had been approved by the Design Standards Review Task Force on June 9. According to the Director of Development Services Dr. Sungman Kim, this special development plan would likely not be necessary since the City Council will likely adopt an ordinance to amend the Form Based Code at their July 1 meeting thereby bringing the proposed development within the code’s requirements.
Although this particular plan may not be an issue in regards to meeting the revised Form Based Code, it brought up concerns related to fire safety because of the potential lack of access to the property. With the proposed plan, emergency vehicles could gain access to the building through the parking lot of The Tiki, through the undeveloped lot near Clayton’s Beach Bar and Grill, via the hotel’s front parking lot or by beach access. Though four access points sound sufficient, Committee member Russell Judah expressed concern that Tiki’s and Clayton’s lot access points could be closed off at any point in the future. In addition, the beach is often crowded with people or unusable due to high tide, which could potentially leave the property with only one access point.
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