By ABBEY KUNKLE
Special to the PRESS
The SPI Planning and Zoning Commission met Thursday afternoon for their regular monthly meeting to discuss the zoning designation of the recently annexed Ocean Towers Property.
Chief on the agenda for discussion was a decision regarding the designation of the Padre Island Inn Subdivision, also known as the Ocean Tower Property into either a Padre Boulevard North (PBN) Character Zone or into the District “B” zone.
The Ocean Tower Property, which is surrounded by northern shores, the gulf, and the county park, was annexed by the City in March of this year. According to the zoning ordinance, within 180 days of annexation, the Planning and Zoning Commission must review and provide a zoning recommendation to the City Council.
Development Director Dr. Sungman Kim and city staff made multiple attempts to contact the landowner to determine the owner’s preference for the zone. The owner eventually responded, informing the city that the plan for the property is to build a five story Hampton Inn.
As the Hampton Inn is a hotel, the PBN Zone or District “B” would be the only available options to accommodate that development. The PBN Character Zone allows for a broad scope of development while District “B” is zoned for multifamily dwellings, apartments, motels, hotels, condominiums and townhouses. Based on the regulations and specifications required, the owner felt that District “B” would be the most appropriate and beneficial designation for the area.
The Hampton Inn conceptual plan shows preservation of natural dune areas and noise mitigation by locating the main building on the north boundaries. In addition, appropriate buffers and sufficient parking areas will be provided.
The committee held a public hearing regarding the annexed property’s designation and Councilman and architect Sam Listi spoke to represent the owner. Listi took over the project from the previous architect and came to assure committee members that the hotel was intended to be a quiet, family friendly attraction.
No beach bar would be associated with the development. The hearing closed and the P&Z agreed to recommend the Ocean Towers Property be designated as District “B.” No timeline was specified for the development of the property.
During public comments, committee member Russel Judah addressed a topic from the previous meeting in regards to fire safety concerns at the proposed Courtyard by Marriott Hotel. Members had concerns regarding a potential lack of access to the property by emergency and safety personnel in the event of a fire or other scenario. Beach access would likely be limited, and only one opening was proposed for street access with additional access through side lots. Committee members requested the safety issue be reviewed by a qualified fire safety professional. City staff addressed the issue and the committee approved the Special Development plan.
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