At the recent City Zoning board meeting a few Pelican Landing  and The Colony residents raised questions about the process and the Association’s plans for making food and beverage service available to the community at the Beach Park. By this response we are hopeful that some of the speculation and false accusations will be put to rest.

Being able to provide food and beverage service at the PLCA Beach Park has been under discussion since 2009 and over the years has been brought up or discussed at Beach Advisory meetings, UOC meetings, Board meetings, and meetings between Pelican Landing and Hyatt representatives. During these meetings it has become evident that the sale of food and drinks at the Beach Park requires several different approvals, not the least of which is the approval of the PLCA Board. This topic was also clearly mentioned in the President’s Corner on the first page of the latest Briefing Newsletter (June-Sept 2014).

April 1, 2009 two previous board members met with the Hyatt and food service on the island was one of the topics discussed. It was decided that until the beach renourishment was completed this idea would have to be put aside.

In 2013 after the beach renourishment project was completed, discussions between the PLCA Board Liaison to the Hyatt and Hyatt management took place again and both sides agreed to research what could be done to accomplish providing food and beverage service on the island, in response to growing requests.

In January 2014 the PLCA Board Liaison, PLCA staff, and Hyatt staff met to discuss their findings on the internal logistics of providing food and beverage service for residents and Hyatt guests, taking all the limitations and necessary external steps necessary into account.

In March 2014 PLCA and Hyatt Staff along with the PLCA Board Liaison met with Bonita Springs City Staff to discuss what steps would need to be taken at the city level to accomplish providing food and beverage service at the island Beach Park. It was determined that in order for such activity to be approved it would first have to meet the City’s zoning code, the City’s Noise Ordinance and the rules and regs of the Department of Alcoholic Beverages. The first step would be to make sure these activities are permissible under the City’s zoning ordinance.

In April 2014 the PLCA Board Liaison directed Tom Hart, PLCA legal counsel, and Marie Martel, General Manager, to proceed with the necessary paper work to bring a zoning exception request to sell limited food, non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks at the Beach Park between 11 am and 5 to the City Zoning Board for approval as the 1st step. The General Manager discussed this individually with each Board member and all agreed to proceed.

On July 22, 2014 a zoning exception meeting was held to hear the PLCA request to allow a 4COP zoning at the island Beach Park allowing for the serving of liquor and playing music on the island, in addition to food service. City staff recommended approval with a few restrictions and the Zoning Board approved the request. This exception enables the Hyatt to not only serve food and non-alcoholic beverages, but also beer and wine at the Beach Pavilion, under their current existing license. {The request for liquor and music was made in order to continue holding special events on the pavilion such as the Luau, Cheeseburger in Paradise, and the Pirate parties that the PLCA staff organized for residents.}

The next step is a hearing before the Bonita Springs City Council on August 6, 2014 at 5:30pm. If the request is approved by City Council we will proceed with the next steps to provide food and beverage service on the island.

In the meantime, the Hyatt is in the process of getting approval from the state health department in order to extend their current 4COP license to include the beach facility. The state health department will be inspecting the septic tank next week. [We have had the septic tank pumped out twice: once when building began on the Phase II pavilion and again in 2008 and will continue to do so as needed.] Additionally, the state health department inspector recently informed the PLCA that due to the upgrade that was made 3 years ago to the water filtration system, the water on the island is now potable. We are waiting for confirmation in writing before the signs stating not for consumption are removed.

If all this is accomplished then the PLCA, Hyatt (and WCI) can amend the terms of the Settlement Agreement to allow those additional food service activities; each party would have to agree. Additionally, the PLCA attorney will draft a separate agreement which will include specific rules to guarantee that during the day to day operations of the Beach Park, the food and beverage service will include only wine and beer and that there will not be any music. The PLCA Board will also adopt specific additions to the current Beach Park operational plan to give our beach staff additional tools to further ensure that only PLCA residents and Hyatt guests with proper ID are able to purchase food and beverages at the Beach Park pavilion. PLCA and the Hyatt Residents will still be able to bring their own refreshments with their own coolers.colony-beach-009

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