The City Council scheduled a special meeting for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7, to address the Harbor Bay Club-Packet Landing Property general plan and zoning designations. Our hope is the City Council unanimously reaffirms the existing zoning of commercial-recreation that has served the community well for more than 30 years.
We reached this point, because the tactics of Harbor Bay Isle Associates have not gone unnoticed. First, HBIA submitted a development application to remove the Harbor Bay Club from the residential development it was intended to serve and simultaneously rezone the current Club site to residential in order to build more homes. Then, HBIA withdrew the rezoning application once it became obvious it had no support. Now, HBIA is pressing forward with a plan just for removing the Club as if no one will notice there is a missing piece.
The City must recognize HBIA is making an end run on the City’s planning process. It would be a huge mistake for the City to approve relocating the Club without addressing the residential component.
Moreover, HBIA’s insistence the community focus only on the Club aspect is drawing attention.
Here is what newly named Planning Board President John Knox White said at the most recent meeting (Sept. 14):
“About a year and a half ago 1855 Oak Street came (to the Planning Board) and they said ‘Hey, Planning Board can you give us a sense of whether you would you be willing under certain circumstance to consider rezoning this property to include residential? We don’t want to waste our time if the answer is no.’ We said (it would be no).
“After the meeting, I talked a little bit with (City Planner) Andrew (Thomas) and (Assistant City Attorney) Farimah (Brown) about why aren’t we doing that with the Harbor Bay Club issue?
“Right now the Club has what I what I can only say is a partial application to consider a new club but is not addressing the elephant in the room, which is the other half (rezoning the existing club site to residential for the purpose of development).
“I really want to encourage staff to bring forward – and not to the Planning Board, but to the City Council – a resolution for a sense of the council on whether or not they would even be willing to consider rezoning the existing commercial-recreation space that the club is sitting on so that the community can at least understand that half of the story that’s not currently a part of the conversation, because of what I would say is political maneuvering that is happening around the Club.
“While the proper process would be to bring it to the Planning Board first and then to the City Council, whatever we do is going to get appealed by one side or the other to the City Council anyway. We know how this plays out. Everybody shows up here and then they all show up at the City Council and say exactly the same thing.
“At the end of the day, it is the City Councils’ decision. I think for the sake of the community whatever we can do to get that decision, that discussion to the Council as soon as possible and ask them for their sense I think would probably be supported by the city council.
“But, I really think it’s time for us to take control of the planning decisions that are happening and not have it out there wafting around at the whims of an applicant who has applied and then withdrawn and (is) now doing whatever. This is the time to ask it. I think now is the time to act on behalf of the City.”
HBN Supporters sent dozens of emails to the Mayor and City Council members since Sunday demanding the City schedule this special meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7. Now, it is time to let them know we will be there. Let them know you are ready for the special meeting by using THIS LINK TO EMAIL CITY HALL.