'Underwhelmed and disappointed': Some Holiday Isle residents not fans of development recommendations

Staff Reporter
The Destin Log

When Canin Associates made its recommendations for future development along Holiday Isle, not everyone was happy with the proposal.

"We're underwhelmed and disappointed at the recommendations," said Holiday Isle resident Scott Monson.

The Orlando-based company suggested allowing nine-story, 100-foot developments, with a total Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 1.3, in the High Density Residential area and 10-story, 110-foot developments, with a FAR of 2.0, in the Holiday Isle Mixed Use area.

Part of the concern is that the recommendations from Canin go above what is currently the standard set forth by the Holiday Isle Improvements Associations regulations, which differ from the city's development standards.

By allowing the taller developments, resident Guy Tadlock said some of the existing complexes on Holiday Isle wouldn't be as "competitive" or "attractive" to outside customers.

"We would like to be considered and we'd like your help to preserve what Holiday Isle is today," he said. "The big thing we struggle with is allowing the taller condominiums; we do not want to allow larger buildings than what we've got."

Attorney David Theriaque, who represents the Holiday Isle Improvement Association, told city leaders during their Aug. 11 Envision Destin workshop they could be contributing to problems along Holiday Isle by issuing development orders, given the difference in regulations.

"You put the property owner and the association in a conflict," he said.

To fall in line with the regulations of the improvement association, the city would have to limit building heights to 75 feet.

From the city's standpoint, doing some more homework on the issue is the immediate course of action, as the idea of incorporating the improvement associations requirements into city code was brought up.

The regulations for the association pre-date the city's incorporation.

"What we are trying to do is assess the risk," City Manager Greg Kisela said. "That's the issue we're struggling with. We see these inconsistencies."

Other recommendations from Canin Associates included "right-sizing" the five lane section of Gulf Shore Drive near U.S. Hwy. 98 to reduce speeding and make pedestrian crossing safer.

City leaders will hold a special meeting Oct. 12 to further discuss and make formal decisions on the recommendations from Canin Associates. The meeting will be held at the City Hall Annex (next to the Dog Park) at 5:30 p.m. It's open to the public.