Neighbors critiqued the proposed Sunseeker resort plans Monday at the last meeting where they might be allowed to do so.

The Charlotte Harbor advisory committee may lose its authority to hear about specific property owners before their next meeting. That’s because commissioners may vote on the rules change Tuesday.

Initiated by the county’s Economic Development and attorney’s offices, the rule changes are proposed for most advisory committees. The purpose is to expedite developer plans and to prevent lawsuits, county officials have said.

Also at the meeting, new committee member Shaune Freeland started out her tenure requesting a discussion of when to close down the committee, known officially as the Charlotte Harbor Redevelopment Agency Advisory Committee. That discussion would be at the committee’s next meeting.

“I believe that every (community redevelopment agency) should have a sunset date. It’s not that I want to sunset it any time soon. We still have a lot to do,” she told the Sun.

Committee Chairman Jim Herston told the Sun he is not opposed to discussing the sunset date. It’s good news when a redevelopment authority completes its job, he said. That means it has succeeded in increasing commercial development in a blighted zone.

Sunseeker criticism arose from local residents concerned about the resort’s minimalist parking plan, and access to public parks next to the resort.

Resident Richard Russell is concerned that resort patrons will run out of parking and spill over into the surrounding neighborhoods.

“I just feel it’s a horrible thing that they did to approve it at that number,” he said of the county engineer’s acceptance of a reduced parking plan.

This committee did not review Sunseeker’s parking plan, Herston said, but he offered to look at the plan later.

Sunseeker’s parking plan states they need a fraction of the required formula, due to their plan of discouraging cars on site. Allegiant Air, the developer, plans to transport guests to the resort and make it so all-inclusive that guests will feel no need to drive.

Sunseeker’s overall site plan has yet to be approved by the county, because Allegiant Air has not yet committed to the half-mile harborwalk. This is required by zoning.

Resident John Everson suggested that the county use its land near Live Oak Point Park to expand that park, rather than an earlier plan to sell it to Sunseeker. Commissioner Joe Tiseo, who attended the meeting, said that while the commission has considered that before, “that’s a good point to be made.”


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