ST. PETE BEACH — The Miramar Beach Resort project moved a step closer to becoming a reality April 27 when city commissioners approved a conditional-use permit that paves the way for developers to build a seven-story, 54-room luxury hotel at 4200 Gulf Blvd.

The developer plans to demolish the existing 27-room Miramar Beach Motel, constructed on the site in 1953, to build the resort hotel.

During the meeting, commissioners approved a resolution and a conditional use permit allowing the developer to build a structure up to 76 feet in height, with a density greater than 30 units per acre. Commissioners also allocated 15 units from the city’s density pool to meet parking space requirements and granted a conditional use approval for rooftop dining and pool areas.

“As presented, the proposal meets the city’s standards for height, setbacks, lot coverage, density, amenity and lodging unit floor area ratio, and other standards to which variances cannot be sought under the City’s Comprehensive Plan,” Community Development Director Wesley Wright told commissioners. “The average lodging unit floor area presented on the conceptual site plan is 750 square feet, the exact maximum permitted for the property, should all 54 units requested be awarded to the project.”

A previous variance request for off-sight valet parking was withdrawn. Wright said his department concluded additional on-site parking is only required for the density and intensity increase created by the redevelopment over that of the existing site.

The existing Miramar Beach Motel provides for 18 parking spaces, he told commissioners. The increased density and intensity that is proposed with the redevelopment site requires an additional 46 parking spaces for a total of 64 parking spaces. A total of 64 parking spaces is proposed, so a variance is not required.

The under-building arrangement has been modified to provide sufficient on-site parking for the proposed increase in density and intensity at the subject site, the staff report noted. The applicant has also worked with the Florida Department of Transportation to eliminate a proposed third curb cut at the northern end of the frontage, which had originally been proposed for dumpster access to allow for waste trucks to circulate within the main entrance.

“Much work has gone into site plan since the February hearing,” Wright told commissioners, including reduction of the three entrances to into one single 36-foot-wide entrance in the middle of the site approved by FDOT.

Mayor Al Johnson noted one of the changes to the project’s site plan is “we have a single entrance instead of three entrances. One of the things in our comprehensive plan is to eliminate curb cuts on Gulf Boulevard, so this does that.”

As for other items addressed in the Comprehensive Plan, Johnson noted the plan “checks all the boxes, so I’m really encouraged. ”

During the hearing, Commissioner Ward Friszolowski once again suggested the developer enhance landscaping, such as along the sidewalk. Friszolowski said he would still like to see more landscaping, even though he knows it was tight squeeze to add additional parking on the site.

The developer noted taller palm trees could only be installed once overhead electrical wires are placed underground. Staff has advised the applicant to coordinate the installation of the ten-foot sidewalk with the City. Coordination efforts will need to coincide with the sewer and electrical undergrounding projects along Gulf Boulevard.

The applicant is also proposing that the existing public beach access will be expanded to 10 feet in width along the southern border of the subject property.

Under one of the conditions imposed on the developer, a pathway will have to be constructed “with a distinctive and visually appealing paving pattern such as pavers or stamped concrete, and the design shall be approved by the Community Development Department prior to site plan approval.”

In addition, a minimum of ten bicycle and/or scooter parking spaces will have to be installed in a location near the front entryway to the building, but situated in such a way so as to not cause conflicts with drive lanes or pedestrian access.

Wright told commissioners the applicant understands that the certificate of occupancy for new construction will be delayed until such time as the city’s sanitary sewer project, currently underway, has been completed. The developer intends to time completion of construction to coincide with the completion of the sewer system.

Hearings on the resort are not over. The developer has to meet several additional criteria, and prior to the issuance of building permits, the applicant will be required to submit a final site plan, city officials noted.

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