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Public to have say on Lido pavilion

City will hold weekend meeting to accommodate large crowds

By Nicole Rodriguez

SARASOTA — The meeting to determine the fate of fiercely opposed renovations to the deteriorating city-owned Lido Beach Pool and Pavilion will be held on a Saturday in a large venue to accommodate the sizable crowds of public speakers city officials expect will attend.

The Sarasota City Commission on Monday voted 4-1 to hold the meeting to consider renovations to the aging facility on a future Saturday at a big venue such as the Van

See LIDO, A2

The Lido Beach Pavilion was designed by Edward J. “Tim” Seibert in 1969 to replace the 29-year-old Lido Casino that was demolished that year. The Sarasota City Commission on Monday voted 4-1 to hold a weekend meeting to consider renovations to the aging facility. [H-T ARCHIVE / MAY 2012]

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Wezel Performing Arts Hall grand foyer or the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium. Commissioners said they wanted to avoid disenfranchising members of the public who want to provide input and to accommodate large crowds the Planning Commission experienced last month when it considered the project.

“I would never suggest a Saturday meeting unless it was absolutely necessary,” Commissioner Shelli Freeland Eddie said.

Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown will report back to the commission with Saturday dates beginning in December and into the new year for the board to consider, he said. A meeting cannot be held sooner because city officials who need to attend the gathering are traveling in the upcoming weeks, Brown said.

The Planning Commission on Sept. 12 recommended denial of the project during a meeting that lasted more than five hours, with dozens of residents speaking against the project. Opponents claimed the plans will attract a rowdy crowd, loud music and more traffic. A majority of the planning board agreed with citizen complaints that a destination restaurant and tiki bar with live music that serves alcohol until 10 p.m. or later was incompatible with the area and would be a too drastic of a change from the family-friendly ambiance of the current site.

Other concerns included bright lights affecting sea turtle nests and increased traffic that could create a parking problem. Opponents also complained that the project is out of character for the location and veers too far from the simple upgrades to the existing pavilion that some residents desire and that cabanas will be too pricey for the public to enjoy. An online petition on opposing the project has garnered more than 3,300 signatures.

Renovation plans proposed by Lido Beach Development Partners, a group shared by Daiquiri Deck locations owners Troy Syprett and Gavin Meshad, call for the addition of shade structures around the pool and dining area, cabanas, a splash pad, three playgrounds, a tiki bar, recreation lawn and 40 additional seats to an existing 160-seat restaurant.

Commissioner Hagen Brody, the lone dissenting vote on Monday, preferred to hold the meeting on a weekday, adding he hopes the weekend meeting in a larger venue doesn’t get out of hand.

“I don’t want to turn this into a circus,” Brody said. “It’s not fair to anybody — the applicants or anyone involved.”

Before the Planning Commission recommended that the City Commission deny the project, Syprett anticipated receiving the required permits for the project by January or February, with project completion in the summer of 2019.

The City Commission leased the pavilion and pool to the private group in exchange for the long-awaited upgrades to the aging concession spot at the city’s main public beach access. The 10-year lease will begin once the project is approved. Rent starts at $80,000 the first year, increases to $90,000 the second year and then goes up to $100,000, or 3.5 percent of gross sales, whichever is greater, according to city documents.

Syprett and Meshad have estimated an eventual $4 million in gross sales, which would equate to about $140,000 in lease payments.

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