Yankeetown leery of proposed development

-A A +A

Special to the Citizen

Residents were not impressed by the latest development proposal from the Izaak Walton Investors.
Bitterness over court battles from the Investors’ last attempt to develop in Yankeetown was obvious at Monday’s council workshop.
Nonetheless, representatives gave an upbeat presentation on a new development concept for two riverfront sites owned by the Investor’s.
Attorney Joe Gaynor from Clearwater explained the ownership of the property has been restructured and with three of the former investors stepping in to take over when the property went into foreclosure.
Gaynor said they are not developers, but investors and once the project is entitled – has necessary planning and zoning — they will seek a developer. He said it would probably be built in phases, using a model home to see what the market dictates.
“Our concept is there is something that could be developed on that property, which in fact would be in the interest of the community,” he said. “What we looked at is what we thought would fit the needs of the developer and the community and be marketable in the current economy.”
“My clients sort of inherited this,” he said. “The past plan was very grandiose.”
The proposed project is for 60 units on two parcels totaling 7.7 acres. The larger site, 5.28 acres, would have three, eight-unit buildings and four, four-unit buildings. They would be a maximum of 40-feet tall, two stories built over one level of parking. There would be 30 boat slips on the river.
There would be an onsite package plant for sewage. The plant would serve both sites and the effluent would be pumped to an offsite spray field on other property owned by the Investors.
The second site, 2.42 acres, would have one, eight-unit building and three, four-unit buildings. They would all be two stories built over parking spaces with 17 boat slips.
The proposed units would be about 750-square-feet with a kitchen, not designed for full-time tenants, but rather to attract people who would stay for a few weeks.
       “There is a very residential scale to the project,” said Cynthia Tarapani, planning consultant for the Investors.
Residents queued up to voice concerns and raise questions.
“The 40-foot buildings would require new fire equipment, which the county would have to purchase,” said Jack Schofield. “We do not have a big enough fire department.”
Jean Holbrook had concerns on the environmental impacts and adverse affect on the town’s character.
Other residents had issues with road maintenance, boat traffic, the proposed sewage treatment, manatee safety, parking for boat trailers and especially the density.
Several residents brought up the previous lawsuits and insisted any new development meet current town standards.
“It would need at least a dozen changes to the comp plan and would go to the voters,” said city attorney Ralf Brookes. He suggested they possibly have another meeting.
“This was to see what they had,” he said. “It was not a formal submission.” He asked they go back and refine it before they go to the next step.
“We’re open to suggestions,” said Gaynor. “I hope we can prove to the city that we can do something that’s good for both of us.”
“It may be impossible and we just put it up for auction.”
Contact Chronicle reporter Pat Faherty at 352-564-2924 or pfaherty@chronicleonline.com.