St. Armands

Residents Association

Commercial Height Increase + Allow Hotel Use

The following list documents the effort to increase the allowed height of buildings in the St. Armands Commercial District and to add residences and hotels (on upper levels) to the list of allowed uses, and to increase the density of that use from what would otherwise be allowed.  This is sometimes referred to as the "Zoning Text Amendments" issue.  These zoning changes will require a comprehensive plan change.

Note:  The City has a Coastal Islands Overlay District (click link) that controls commercial building height, density, etc... due to the environmentally sensitive nature of the City's keys and the limited access to them for emergency vehicles, hurricane evacuation, etc...

This Zoning Text Amendments proposal would need the same zoning code and comprehensive plan changes as will the separate effort to develop a hotel complex at the Fillmore Parking Lot site. 

In order for residential and hotel use to be possible in the St. Armands Commercial District, there will also need to be parking concessions.  It is our understanding that those seeking these changes will be asking for fewer required on-site parking spaces and/or a one-time payment to the City "in lieu of" providing those on-site parking spaces.

April 3, 2021

Meeting of the CCNA (Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations) at City Commissioner (then Mayor) Hagen Brody indicates his interest in "classing up" St. Armands.

    • Link: click here
    • Fast forward to 1:09:20 for the Mayor's remarks (1 hour, 9 minutes, 20 seconds)
    • Fast forward to 1:14:15 for his specific remarks regarding "classing up" St. Armands (1 hour, 14 minutes, 15 seconds)

March 31, 2021

The St. Armands Business Improvement District (a.k.a. the "BID") holds a 3.5 hour workshop at the end of which they agreed to ask the City for zoning changes to encourage commercial development on the Circle. 

They will be specifically asking for a height increase for buildings in the St. Armands Commercial District and a use change that would allow hotel rooms and residences on the upper levels and would provide an increase in density for that use from what would otherwise be allowed.

The BID (representing the commercial property owners) would like to see St. Armands Circle become more like 5th Avenue in Naples: higher-end shopping and dining, taller buildings with residences or boutique hotels above the retail spaces (e.g. "The Inn at Fifth" in Naples), and a uniform streetscape (sidewalks, curbing, lighting, landscaping) in front of all commercial properties to tie the area together and establish a strong "sense of place".

Examples of what this looks like in Naples, FL:  (note that all of the following examples are three-story buildings, but four and perhaps five-story buildings are being proposed for St. Armands)





August 5, 2021

Public Workshop (via Zoom) to present the Zoning Text Amendments proposal to the public and to collect citizen input.  Many residents voiced concern about this proposal.

    • Link to video: click here
    • Fast forward to 01:15 (one minute and 15 seconds): speaking starts with introductions and then a marketing presentation
    • Fast forward to 28:52 (28 minutes, 52 seconds): the architect consultant weighs in with details and technical issues
    • Fast forward to 54:55 (54 minutes, 55 seconds): public questions and comments begin, and go on for about an hour and a half!

September-October, 2021

2021 Member Survey Results

75% oppose increasing the allowed height of commercial buildings from 35' to 45' and allowing the use of residences and boutique hotels on the upper levels (n=125)

November 19, 2021

Click here to see an update on the Zoning Text Amendments that the BID is voting on to request from the City Commission at an upcoming meeting.

December 8, 2021

Regular meeting of the St. Armands Business Improvement District (BID).

      • Link to video:  click here
      • To view the St. Armands Residents Association present our recent Annual Survey questions about height increase for the public record, fast forward to 10:40 (10 minutes, 40 seconds)
      • To view the BID discussing these proposed Comprehensive Plan/Zoning Text Amendments, fast forward to 1:42:40 (1 hour, 42 minutes, 40 seconds)

December 8, 2021

December 10, 2021

Letter from our Association to the BID asking for clarification of the proposed height increase:  click here.  We requested a response in advance of the next public workshop which we understand is being planned for some time in January.

December 29, 2021

We received this letter from Dan Lear, the architect hired by the BID, in response to our questions:  click here

January 11, 2022

Second Public Workshop (via Zoom) to present the Zoning Text Amendments proposal to the public and to collect citizen input.  Feedback and questions were provided by several residents of St. Armands and Lido Keys, the presidents of the St. Armands and Lido Key residents associations, and even the Mayor of Longboat Key.  Every single speaker voiced concern about, if not opposition to, the proposed height increase, especially since the existing height limit ALREADY allows for three-story commercial buildings as seen in Naples.

    • Link to video:  click here
        • Note:  for some people using the Google Chrome browser, the video is freezing up around 44:00 (44 minutes, 0 seconds).  Viewing the video in a different browser, such as Safari or Firefox, seems to solve that problem.
    • Fast forward to the start of the meeting at 16:00 (16 minutes and 0 seconds)
    • Feedback and questions begin at 42:00 (42 minutes and 0 seconds)
    • The video concludes at 1:51:48 (1 hour, 51 minutes, 48 seconds)
One resident provided the following mock-ups of what four story buildings might look like on St. Armands:


January 12, 2022

February 9, 2022

Regular meeting of the St. Armands Business Improvement District. 

    • Link to video:  click here
    • For discussion of comprehensive plan and zoning text amendments, fast forward to 1:59:06 (1 hour, 59 minutes, 6 seconds)
    • Interesting commentary about "charming" St. Armands and a coming "gentrification" at 2:10:00 and 2:12:00
    • Discussion ends at 2:36:00

February 9, 2022

Letter from our Association to the BID:  click here

February 28, 2022

Memo from City Attorney recommending that the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Text Amendments being pursued by the BID be suspended:  click here

March 2, 2022

BID Chairperson Geoffrey Michel submits his resignation:  click here

April 13, 2022

Regular meeting of the St. Armands Business Improvement District.

There were two notable votes:  (1) Tom Leonard, owner of Shore, is the new BID Chairperson, and (2) the BID voted to ask City Staff to ask the City Commission to re-start the previous effort to make Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Text Amendments to the St. Armands commercial district. 

    • Link to video:  click here
    • To watch BID member, former BID chairperson, and Fillmore Lot development proposer Gavin Meshad say "I'm not out on the Circle very often, so I'm not in tune with what's working and not working", fast forward to 43:28 (0 hours, 43 minutes, 28 seconds)
    • For discussion of comprehensive plan and zoning text amendments, fast forward to 2:31:00 (2 hours, 31 minutes, 0 seconds)
    • The motion to vote and the final discussion begins at 2:39:35 (2 hours, 39 minutes, 35 seconds)

July 25, 2022

Email from Residents Association to BID Chair and City General Manager, Planning

August 17, 2022

Regular meeting of the St. Armands Business Improvement District.

Even though the BID already voted on April 13th to ask City Staff to ask the City Commission to re-start the previous effort to make Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Text Amendments to the St. Armands commercial district, they voted again today to ask City Staff to do the exact same thing.

  • Link to video:  click here
  • For discussion of comprehensive plan and zoning text amendments, fast forward to 2:28:37 (2 hours, 28 minutes, 37 seconds)

  • Discussion ends with a 5-0 vote at 2:39:10 (2 hours, 39 minutes, 10 seconds) after about 10 minutes of discussion

August 17, 2022

Email from Residents Association to City General Manager, Planning


St. Armands Residents Association

P.O. Box 2482, Sarasota, FL  34230

e-mail us at: st.armands.residents.assn@gmail.com

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